The Best Natural Sugar Alternatives
Companies add small amounts of Ginkgo biloba to beverages because it supposedly boosts memory and thinking, but most studies in healthy people show little or no benefit at levels greater than what's added to foods and beverages. In nature, glycerin forms the backbone of fat and oil molecules. Much higher levels have been used in butter-flavored popcorn, margarine, and butter-flavored cooking oils and sprays. Please tell us where you read or heard it including the quote, if possible. Carrageenan is a family of indigestible large molecules obtained from certain seaweeds.
Neotame is chemically related to aspartame, but the difference confers greater chemical stability, enabling the new sweetener to be used in baked foods, and it is handled differently by the body. It likely will be used mostly in low-calorie foods, but may also be used to adjust the flavor of other foods. To compensate for taste flaws, you will probably find neotame mixed with sugar or with other artificial sweeteners.
It was approved by the U. FDA in and the European Union in , but is still rarely used. Enriched flour, breakfast cereals, and other fortified foods. Niacin, or vitamin B3, is safe. Niacin deficiency causes pellagra, which is characterized by mental disturbances and potentially death. Nisin is a short polypeptide small protein molecule that is produced by lactic acid bacteria and has anti-bacterial properties. It is unclear how widely this preservative is used.
Nitrous oxide is often used as the propellant to drive foods out of pressurized containers. It is better known as laughing gas and is safe. Cereal, crackers, bread, muffins. When a food ingredient contains the word "fiber," it's code for an isolated fiber. Soluble fiber may lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar but doesn't prevent constipation. Finally, isolated fibers don't contain the micronutrients and phytochemicals that foods with naturally occuring fiber contain.
Lay's Light Chips, Pringles Light chips. Originally envisioned as a replacement for fat in everything from cheese to ice cream, the ingredient is now only used in a couple of brands of snack chips. Olestra can cause diarrhea and loose stools, abdominal cramps, flatulence, and other adverse effects. Those symptoms are sometimes severe. Olestra reduces the body's ability to absorb fat-soluble carotenoids such as alpha and beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and canthaxanthin from fruits and vegetables, but an occasional serving wouldn't be a problem.
Those nutrients are thought by many experts to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Olestra enables manufacturers to offer greasy-feeling low-fat snacks, but consumers would be better off with baked snacks, which are safe and just as low in calories. Products made with olestra should not be called "fat free," because they contain substantial amounts of indigestible fat. Bulking agent, emulsifier, sweetener, prebiotic: Frozen desserts, cookies, energy and granola bars.
Oligofructose, synthesized from sucrose or extracted from chicory roots, consists of up to several dozen fructose molecules linked end to end. Like inulin and other soluble fibers, oligofructose is digested by bacteria in the large intestine, but not by human enzymes. This slightly sweet ingredient provides less than about half as many calories per gram as fructose or other sugar.
Oligofructose promotes the growth of "good" bifidus bacteria. Pantothenic acid is one of the water-soluble B vitamins. Human deficiencies have never been observed. Papain is a harmless enzyme obtained from papaya that is used to break down tough muscle protein in meat. Stick margarine, crackers, fried restaurant foods, baked goods, icing, microwave popcorn. Vegetable oil, usually a liquid, can be made into a semi-solid shortening by reacting it with hydrogen.
Partial hydrogenation reduces the levels of polyunsaturated oils — and also creates trans fats, which promote heart disease. A committee of the U. Food and Drug Administration FDA concluded in that on a gram-for-gram basis, trans fat is even more harmful than saturated fat. That finding encouraged a few food manufacturers to begin replacing hydrogenated shortening with less-harmful ingredients. Similarly, the Institute of Medicine advised consumers to consume as little trans fat as possible, ideally less than about 2 grams a day that much might come from naturally occurring trans fat in beef and dairy products.
Harvard School of Public Health researchers estimate that trans fat had been causing about 50, premature heart attack deaths annually, making partially hydrogenated oil one of the most harmful ingredients in the food supply see discussion of salt.
Beginning in , Nutrition Facts labels have had to list the amount of trans fat in a serving. That spurred many more companies, including Frito-Lay, Kraft, ConAgra, and others, to replace most or all of the partially hydrogenated oil in almost all their products. Confusing label reading, though, is that foods labeled "0g trans fat" are permitted to contain 0.
Consumers need to read labels carefully for another reason: Restaurants, which do not provide nutrition information, were slower to change, but the pace of change has picked up. They use partially hydrogenated oil for frying chicken, potatoes, and fish, as well as in biscuits and other baked goods. Denmark virtually banned partially hydrogenated oil as of January 1, Later that year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to require restaurants to disclose when they use partially hydrogenated oil and to begin the process of eliminating partially hydrogenated oil from the entire food supply.
While the FDA rejected the idea of requiring restaurants to disclose the presence of trans fat, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and other jurisdictions have set tight limits on the trans-fat content of restaurant foods. In the FDA finally concluded that partially hydrogenated oil was no longer safe and gave the food industry three years to eliminate it from its products.
Pectin is a safe carbohydrate that strengthens cell walls in citrus fruits, apples, beets, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables. Pectin forms gels that are the basis of fruit jellies, and may be used to thicken barbeque sauce, cranberry sauce, canned frosting, and yogurt.
Acidulant, chelating agent, buffer, emulsifier, nutrient, discoloration inhibitor: Baked goods, cheese, powdered foods, cured meat, soda pop, breakfast cereals, dehydrated potatoes. Phosphoric acid acidifies and flavors cola beverages; the acidity erodes tooth enamel. Calcium and iron phosphates act as mineral supplements. Sodium aluminum phosphate is a leavening agent. Sodium acid pyrophosphate reduces levels of the carcinogen acrylamide in French fries, prevents discoloration in potatoes and sugar syrups, and prevents the formation of harmless mineral struvite crystals in canned seafood.
Most people consume far more phosphorus than they need, which may have adverse effects on kidney, bone, and cardiovascular health, especially for people suffering from kidney disease. Margarine, fruit juice, bread, dietary supplements. These substances are minor components of membranes in many nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, fruits, vegetables and other foods. They are chemically related to cholesterol. They are more easily incorporated into foods other than fruit juices when they are converted to ester forms.
They are not toxic, but they may reduce the body's absorption of nutrients called carotenoids that are thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Reduced-calorie salad dressings, baked goods, candies, puddings, frozen desserts.
Polydextrose is made by combining dextrose corn sugar with sorbitol. The result is a slightly sweet, reduced-calorie only one calorie per gram because it is poorly digested bulking agent. The FDA requires that if a serving of a food would likely provide more than 15 grams of polydextrose, the label should advise consumers that "Sensitive individuals may experience a laxative effect from excessive consumption of this product.
PGPR is one of those mysterious chemicals that manufacturers use in food production. It stabilizes low-fat, high-water margarines and helps the "flow properties" in candy production. Baked goods, frozen desserts, imitation cream. Polysorbate 60 is short for polyoxyethylene- 20 - sorbitan monostearate. It and its close relatives, polysorbate 65 and 80, work the same way as mono- and diglycerides, but smaller amounts are needed.
They keep baked goods from going stale, keep dill oil dissolved in bottled dill pickles, help coffee whiteners dissolve in coffee, and prevent oil from separating out of artificial whipped cream.
It is possible that polysorbates and other emulsifiers act like detergents to disrupt the mucous layer that lines the gut, and that the results of this study may apply to other emulsifiers as well. Research needs to be done to determine long-term effects of these and other emulsifiers at levels that people consume.
White flour, bread and rolls. This additive has long been used to increase the volume of bread and to produce bread with a fine crumb the not-crust part of bread structure. Most bromate rapidly breaks down to form innocuous bromide. However, bromate itself causes cancer in animals. The tiny amounts of bromate that may remain in bread pose a small risk to consumers. Bromate has been banned virtually worldwide except in Japan and the United States. It is rarely used in California because a cancer warning might be required on the label.
Since then, numerous millers and bakers have stopped using bromate. Calcium bromate, which likely is toxicologically similar to potassium bromate, occasionally may be used. It also adds potassium to the diet, which provides an added benefit. The amount of potassium chloride used in foods is almost self-limiting, because most people perceive potassium chloride to taste extremely bitter.
People with kidney disease and certain heart conditions need to talk to their doctors about avoiding large amounts of potassium. Potassium iodate is sometimes used as a dough strengthener in bread and rolls. Some bakers may switch to this ingredient when they stop using its chemical cousin potassium bromate, which poses a small cancer risk. However, potassium iodate, too, is not well tested and may also pose a slight cancer risk.
It conceivably could lead to excessive iodine intake. Potassium iodate is a source of iodine, an essential trace element, necessary for the body to make thyroid hormones. But too little or too much iodine can be harmful. A committee of the World Health Organization concluded that use of potassium iodate as a flour treatment agent was unacceptable because it could result in an excessive intake of iodine.
At the same time, the committee endorsed the use of potassium iodate to fortify salt, since use in salt results in a lower intake of iodine than widespread use in bread and rolls and is used to prevent iodine deficiency disorders such as goiter and mental retardation, to name a few.
In the United States, potassium iodide, not potassium iodate, is used in iodized salt, but in other countries, especially tropical countries, potassium iodate is favored because it is more stable in warm, humid conditions.
Iodized salt has virtually eliminated iodine deficiency in the United States, Canada, and several other countries. Some people, such as those with thyroid disease, are especially sensitive to iodine intake and should make a special effort to avoid potassium iodate in bread and rolls.
One other possible concern is that iodate breaks down in dough and in the body to form iodide. In a study conducted by Japanese government scientists, high doses of potassium iodide caused cancer in rats, suggesting it may be a weak carcinogen.
The same research found that it also increased the potency of a known carcinogen. As a sidelight, both potassium iodate and potassium iodide can also be used to prevent damage to the thyroid in the event of an accident at a nuclear reactor, although the iodide form is generally recommended. Potassium iodate is not widely used in baked goods, and any risk is small.
Still, it may be worth choosing baked goods without this ill-tested additive, and bakers should stop using it. Vegetable oil, meat products, potato sticks, chicken soup base, chewing gum. Propyl gallate retards the spoilage of fats and oils and is often used together with two other antioxidants, BHA and BHT, because of the synergistic effects those preservatives have with one another.
The best safety studies, which were published by the U. Propyl gallate appeared to cause more cancers in several organs in rats treated with a low dose than with either a zero dose the controls or a high dose. That finding may be indicative of an "endocrine disruptor," as well as a carcinogen.
This additive needs to be better studied. Maintains moisture, thickener, emulsifier, antioxidant, anticaking agent: Propylene glycol is used in a wide range of food products, often to maintain moisture, as well as thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods. It can also lower the freezing point of water, like its more toxic chemical cousin, ethylene glycol, used in antifreeze.
Some people are allergic to propylene glycol in foods, as well as in personal care products and topical cortisone creams, and should avoid it. Breakfast cereals, instant breakfasts, health-food bars. Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, serves a variety of functions in the body and performs a central role in amino acid metabolism. Wheat germ, brown rice, and yeast are rich sources of pyridoxine.
Tonic water, quinine water, bitter lemon. This drug can cure malaria and is used as a bitter flavoring in a few soft drinks. In , the U. Food and Drug Administration banned quinine from over-the-counter drugs used to treat leg cramps, saying it was not safe and effective for that use. Then in FDA ordered companies to stop marketing unapproved products containing quinine.
And in and FDA warned against using the only approved quinine-containing anti-malaria drug for any purpose other than to treat malaria. The higher levels used in drugs are more likely to cause adverse reactions than the low levels used in food, but to be on the safe side, pregnant women and the elderly should avoid quinine-containing beverages.
If you have experienced a reaction to Quorn foods, please file a report. Enriched flour, breakfast cereals, and other vitamin-fortified foods. Riboflavin is simply vitamin B2. Riboflavin plays a crucial role in activating numerous enzymes. Saccharin one brand is Sweet 'N Low is about times sweeter than sugar and is used in diet foods and as a packaged tabletop sugar substitute. Saccharin is the original artificial sweetener, having been discovered accidentally in at Johns Hopkins University.
Many studies on rodents have shown that saccharin can cause cancer of the urinary bladder, especially in males. In some animal studies, saccharin also caused cancer of the uterus, ovaries, skin, blood vessels, and other organs. Additional studies have shown that saccharin increases the potency of other cancer-causing chemicals.
And the best epidemiology human study, which was conducted by the National Cancer Institute, found that the use of artificial sweeteners saccharin and cyclamate was associated with a higher incidence of bladder cancer. That said, other animal and human studies did not identify a cancer risk. In , the FDA proposed that saccharin be banned because of the studies showing that it causes cancer in animals.
However, Congress intervened and permitted it to be used, provided that foods carried a warning notice. In , the diet-food industry began pressuring the U. The industry acknowledges that large amounts of saccharin cause bladder cancer in male rats, but argues that those tumors are caused by a mechanism that would not occur in humans.
Some public health experts respond by stating that, even if that still-unproved mechanism was correct in male rats, saccharin could cause cancer by additional mechanisms and that, in some studies, saccharin has caused bladder cancer in mice and in female rats and other cancers in both rats and mice. In May , the U. Department of Health and Human Services removed saccharin from its list of cancer-causing chemicals. Later that year, Congress passed a law removing the warning notice.
Saccharin has been replaced in almost all foods by aspartame and other better-tasting sweeteners. Coca-Cola Company's Tab, one of the first diet sodas, still contains saccharin, but now also contains aspartame.
In , Health Canada lifted its decades-long ban on saccharin in foods, allowing it to be added to some beverages, canned fruits, frozen desserts, and other foods. Saccharin passes into the breast milk of nursing mothers. Its use can enable companies to make reduced-calorie claims on their products. Salatrim's low calorie content results from its content of stearic acid, which the manufacturer says is absorbed poorly, and short-chain fatty acids, which provide fewer calories per unit weight. Critics have charged that it does not provide as big a calorie reduction as claimed by Nabisco.
Moreover, only very limited testing has been done to determine effects on humans. Eating small amounts of salatrim is probably safe, but large amounts 30g or more per day increase the risk of such side effects as stomach cramps and nausea. No tests have been done to determine if the various food additives salatrim, olestra, mannitol, and sorbitol that cause gastrointestinal symptoms can act in concert to cause greater effects.
Nabisco declared salatrim safe and has marketed it, as the law allows, without formal FDA approval. Nabisco has since sold salatrim to another company, Cultor. The FDA rejected that recommendation, but salatrim is not widely used, if at all. Most processed foods, cured meats, soup, snack chips, crackers, and others. Salt, at the levels present in the diets of most people around the world, is probably the single most harmful substance in the food supply. Salt is used liberally in many processed foods and restaurant meals, with some meals containing far more than a day's worth of sodium.
Other additives, such as monosodium glutamate and sodium benzoate, contribute additional sodium. Salt serves many purposes in foods, such as acting as a preservative, adding a salty flavor, masking bitter flavors, and fostering expected texture or other property. A diet high in sodium increases blood pressure in most people, thereby increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. In , the director of the U.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and two colleagues estimated that cutting the amount of sodium in packaged and restaurant foods by half would save , lives a year. Everyone should avoid salty processed foods and restaurant meals, use salt sparingly in cooking and at the table, and enjoy other seasonings. The Food and Drug Administration considers salt to be "generally recognized as safe" GRAS , even though it recognizes that diets high in salt are a major cause of cardiovascular disease and even though its own advisory committee in concluded that salt should not be considered GRAS.
In response, the FDA held a public hearing in November, Meanwhile, the British government has made salt reduction one of its top health goals and has been having significant success.
Many companies defend the amounts of salt used, saying that using less would sacrifice taste or safety. However, comparisons of different brands of the same product frequently show wide differences in sodium content.
That indicates that many companies could use less salt or other sodium-containing ingredients to the levels used by competitors and still have perfectly marketable products.
Seasoning, soup, snack chips, crackers, and other processed foods. Sea salt is obtained from the evaporation of sea water, unlike most table salt, which is mined from salt deposits, and then further processed to remove impurities. Many sea salts have slightly different flavors than regular salt—due to their slightly different mineral content—but the typical variety used in processed foods does not.
Sales of sea salt and sea-salted products are booming, and marketers would have you believe sea salt is a healthier, more natural form of salt.
Although a majority of people surveyed by the American Heart Association believed sea salt was a lower-sodium alternative to table salt, sea salt has just as much sodium as table salt. You can find lower-sodium sea salt and other salts; these are made by mixing the salt sodium chloride with potassium chloride and other ingredients. The trace amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and other minerals in sea salt are so minor as to be insignificant to health. However, some sea salts, as well as kosher salt which sometimes is from the sea , have larger crystal sizes with irregular shapes so they do not pack as tightly as table salt and therefore they have less sodium per teaspoon.
Most people should consume less salt be it regular or sea salt , because diets high in sodium increase blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. This chemical is just sand. Silicon dioxide occurs naturally in foods, especially foods derived from plants.
Breathed in, silica dust can cause lung disease, even cancer. For use in food, it is finely ground and added to salt and other foods to help powders flow more easily. Aluminium calcium silicate and tricalcium silicate are also used in foods, and calcium silicate is used in some dietary supplements. Fruit juice, carbonated drinks, pickles. Manufacturers have used sodium benzoate and its close relative benzoic acid for a century to prevent the growth of microorganisms in acidic foods.
The substances occur naturally in many plants and animals. They appear to be safe for most people, though they cause hives, asthma, or other allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Another problem occurs when sodium benzoate is used in beverages that also contain ascorbic acid vitamin C or erythorbic acid also known as d-ascorbic acid.
The two substances, in an acidic solution, can react together to form small amounts of benzene, a chemical that causes leukemia and other cancers. Though the amounts of benzene that form are small, leading to only a very small risk of cancer, there is no need for consumers to experience any risk.
In the early s the FDA had urged companies not to use benzoate in products that also contain ascorbic acid, but in the s companies were still using that combination.
A lawsuit filed in by private attorneys ultimately forced Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and other soft-drink makers in the U. It has a vinegar flavor and can prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. Processed meat, beverages, baked goods, and potato salad.
Chemically, sodium erythorbate is stereoisomer of ascorbic acid vitamin C , but it itself has no nutritional value. It is used most commonly in processed meats, where it retards nitrosamine formation and color fading. Bacon, ham, frankfurters, luncheon meats, smoked fish, corned beef. Meat processors love sodium nitrite because it stabilizes the red color in cured meat without nitrite, hot dogs and bacon would look gray and gives a characteristic flavor.
Sodium nitrate is used in dry cured meat, because it slowly breaks down into nitrite. Adding nitrite to food can lead to the formation of small amounts of potent cancer-causing chemicals nitrosamines , particularly in fried bacon. Nitrite, which also occurs in saliva and forms from nitrate in several vegetables, can undergo the same chemical reaction in the stomach. Companies now add ascorbic acid or erythorbic acid to bacon to inhibit nitrosamine formation, a measure that has greatly reduced the problem.
While nitrite and nitrate cause only a small risk, they are still worth avoiding. Several studies have linked consumption of cured meat and nitrite by children, pregnant women, and adults with various types of cancer. In the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, concluded that processed meat is carcinogenic to humans.
In CSPI petitioned the USDA to require a warning label on packages of bacon, ham, hot dogs, and other processed meat products to inform consumers that eating those foods can increase the risk of colorectal cancer. All consumers, including in particular pregnant women, would be prudent to avoid those products. The meat industry justifies its use of nitrite and nitrate by claiming that it prevents the growth of bacteria that cause botulism poisoning.
Department of Agriculture has developed a safe method using lactic-acid-producing bacteria. Because nitrite is used primarily in fatty, salty foods, consumers have important nutritional reasons for avoiding nitrite-preserved foods. While those products may not contain added sodium nitrite, they sometimes are made with celery powder or celery juice, which are naturally high in nitrite.
Prevents growth of mold: Cheese, syrup, jelly, cake, wine, dry fruits. Sorbic acid occurs naturally in many plants.
These additives are safe. Cakes, candy, frozen pudding, icing. Like mono- and diglycerides and polysorbates, this additive keeps oil and water mixed together. In chocolate candy, it prevents the discoloration that normally occurs when the candy is warmed up and then cooled down.
Sugar-free sweetener, thickening agent, maintains moisture: Frozen desserts, candy, shredded coconut, chewing gum, other sugar-free foods.
Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol and close relative of sugar, occurs naturally in fruits and berries. It is sweet, but only half as sweet as sugar. It is non-cariogenic does not cause tooth decay and is used in chewing gum. Some diabetics use sorbitol-sweetened foods because it is absorbed slowly and does not cause blood sugar to increase rapidly. Moderate amounts of sorbitol are safe, but large amounts may have a strong laxative effect and even cause diarrhea. The FDA requires foods "whose reasonably foreseeable consumption may result in a daily ingestion of 50 grams of sorbitol" to bear the label statement: Soup, gravy, frozen foods.
Starch, the major component of flour, potatoes, and corn, is used in many foods as a thickening agent. However, starch does not dissolve in cold water. Starch made from breeds of high-amylose corn is relatively resistant to digestion. That "resistant starch" has some of the same benefits of naturally occurring dietary fiber. Starch is made up of two large carbohydrate molecules. Amylose is insoluble carbohydrate made up of long chains of glucose molecules.
Amylopectin is a large, water-soluble, branched-chain polysaccharide that constitutes the other part of starch. Modified starches are used in processed foods to improve their consistency and keep the solids suspended. Starch and modified starches used to be used in baby foods to replace large percentages of more nutritious ingredients, such as fruit. The starches were eliminated when the Center for Science in the Public Interest charged that some baby foods contained only about 30 percent food such as strained bananas , with the rest being water, modified starch, and sugar.
Antioxidant, chewing gum base, Flavoring, anti-caking agent calcium stearate. Stearic acid is a fatty acid that occurs in virtually all fats. Though it is a saturated fat, it does not appear to affect blood cholesterol levels. However, it might increase the risk of heart disease by raising fibrinogen levels and causing blood clots. The trivial amounts used as an additive are harmless. Also called rebiana, stevioside, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside D, etc. Stevia rebaudiana is a shrub yerba dulce that traditionally grew in Brazil, Paraguay, and even parts of Arizona.
It is now grown commercially in California, China, southeast Asia, and elsewhere. Stevia leaves are about 30 times as sweet as sugar, and contain sweet substances called steviol glycosides that are — times sweeter than sugar. Among the sweetest ones are rebaudioside A, also called reb A or rebiana, and stevioside. Companies are racing to market better-tasting extracts that have been dubbed rebaudioside D, M, X, and others.
The food industry and many consumers who are trying to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners have high hopes for stevia leaf extracts.
Crude stevia leaf extracts have long been used in Japan and several other countries. One flaw though, is that many people perceive stevia leaf and its sweet derivatives to have an unpleasant aftertaste, which companies are trying feverishly to overcome. In the s, the FDA and Canada and the European Union rejected whole-leaf stevia and crude stevia extracts for use as a food ingredient.
High dosages fed to rats reduced sperm production and increased cell proliferation in their testicles, which, at least at those dosages, could cause infertility or other problems.
Pregnant hamsters that had been fed large amounts of a metabolite of stevioside called steviol had fewer and smaller offspring. In the laboratory, steviol can be converted into a mutagenic compound, which may promote cancer by causing mutations in the cells' DNA.
FDA also was concerned that stevia might interfere with the absorption of carbohydrates and the conversion of food into energy within cells, as well as with effects on cardiovascular and renal systems.
In the early s, Cargill and Merisant a marketer of sugar substitutes developed highly purified extracts of stevia that are 95 percent pure rebaudioside A and times as sweet as sugar. Since then, other companies have also developed highly purified extracts of stevia, some containing rebaudioside A and some containing stevioside. Truvia and Pure Via are the brand names for packaged or tabletop sweeteners containing mostly rebaudioside A, also called rebiana, and SweetLeaf is the brand name for packaged sweeteners containing both rebiana and stevioside.
Thus, Truvia packets are mostly erythritol, PureVia mostly dextrose and cellulose powder, and SweetLeaf mostly inulin. The one nagging concern other than taste about stevia leaf extracts is that they have not been adequately tested for cancer. Several but not all genetic tests found that rebiana-related substances caused mutations and other forms of genotoxicity. Because such findings may indicate a cancer risk, that should have spurred the FDA to require additional animal feeding studies.
Approved in the United States in , sucralose—sometimes marketed as Splenda—is used in soft drinks, baked goods, ice cream, and other products, including ones you might not expect, such as frozen dinners and English muffins. It is widely used around the world. Unlike aspartame, sucralose does not break down at high temperatures and so can be used in baked goods. In an independent Italian laboratory published a large study on mice. The study found that sucralose caused leukemia and related blood cancers in male mice that were exposed to it throughout their lives starting from before birth.
The study is superior to previous industry-sponsored studies that did not find a link with cancer, since those tested fewer animals, started exposing the animals much later, and terminated the study earlier. In addition, treated animals in the industry-sponsored studies had significantly decreased body weight compared to controls, which can decrease cancer rates.
This Italian lab is the same one that several years earlier published studies that found that aspartame caused cancers in rats and mice.
A study in rats had indicated that the additive might cause premature shrinkage of the thymus gland, which is part of the immune system. However, a subsequent study did not find any problem. Likewise, studies designed to detect whether sucralose could cause cancer in lab animals did not find any problems. Several researchers contend that sucralose negatively impacts the gut, including changes in the microbiome and enzymes. That could have a range of consequences, including effects on blood sugar, regulation of body weight, inflammatory bowel disease, and how drugs and other chemicals are absorbed and metabolized by the body.
For example, a study funded by the sugar industry reported that Splenda significantly reduced beneficial bacteria and had other effects in the gastrointestinal tract of rats that could affect the bioavailability of drugs.
Unfortunately, the study was small and had other significant shortcomings. However, finding a correlation is a long way from demonstrating a cause—effect relationship.
Meanwhile, people experiencing IBD or other GI symptoms could see if avoiding sucralose provides any relief. For example, a 6-year old child weighing 45 pounds would exceed the FDA limit by drinking two or three ounce sodas containing the typical mg of sucralose per can.
In addition, sucralose passes into breast milk at levels high enough to make the milk sweeter. In fact, the sweetener is a synthetic chemical made by chemically reacting sugar sucrose with chlorine. The mere fact that sucralose is synthetic does not make it unsafe.
Citrus-flavored beverages, including "energy," "sport," and "electrolyte" drinks, as well as such alcoholic beverages as wine coolers, malt beverage coolers, and premixed cocktail products. Sucrose acetate isobutyrate SAIB , like brominated vegetable oil, is used primarily in citrus-flavored drinks to keep the flavor oils in suspension, giving them a cloudy appearance.
FDA has approved its use in non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages up to ppm. SAIB has been subjected to short- and long-term studies in laboratory animals and people, at high doses, with little, if any, evidence of harm. It is also approved for use in Europe. Table sugar, sweetened foods. Sucrose, ordinary table sugar, occurs naturally in fruit, sugar cane, and sugar beets. Industry produced 68 pounds of sugar per person in That figure was down from pounds per year in , but the decrease has been more than made up for by increased use of high-fructose corn syrup and dextrose.
In , industry produced a total of about pounds of total refined sugars per person, though because of waste and spoilage the average American actually consumed only about 76 pounds of all refined sugars about 1.
Sugar and sweetened foods may taste good and supply energy, but most people eat too much of them. Sugar, corn syrup, and other refined sweeteners make up 13 percent of the average diet, but provide no vitamins, minerals, or protein.
That means a person would have to get percent of his or her nutrients from only 87 percent of his or her food. And, of course, some people, especially teen-aged boys, consume as much as 25 percent of their calories from refined sugars. When sugar is digested, it breaks down into one fructose and one glucose dextrose molecule. Small amounts of fructose and glucose from fruits, vegetables, sugar, HFCS, or other sources are safe. However, large amounts of refined sugars promote tooth decay and displace nutrient-rich foods with empty calories.
Also, recent studies show that consuming 25 percent of calories from fructose or HFCS which is about half fructose leads to more visceral deep belly fat or liver fat. The original authority for government regulation of biological products was established by the Biologics Control Act , with additional authority established by the Public Health Service Act.
Originally, the entity responsible for regulation of biological products resided under the National Institutes of Health ; this authority was transferred to the FDA in The Center for Devices and Radiological Health CDRH is the branch of the FDA responsible for the premarket approval of all medical devices , as well as overseeing the manufacturing, performance and safety of these devices.
CDRH also oversees the safety performance of non-medical devices that emit certain types of electromagnetic radiation. Examples of CDRH-regulated devices include cellular phones , airport baggage screening equipment , television receivers , microwave ovens , tanning booths , and laser products. CDRH regulatory powers include the authority to require certain technical reports from the manufacturers or importers of regulated products, to require that radiation-emitting products meet mandatory safety performance standards, to declare regulated products defective, and to order the recall of defective or noncompliant products.
CDRH also conducts limited amounts of direct product testing. Clearance requests are for medical devices that prove they are "substantially equivalent" to the predicate devices already on the market. Approved requests are for items that are new or substantially different and need to demonstrate "safety and efficacy", for example it may be inspected for safety in case of new toxic hazards.
Both aspects need to be proved or provided by the submitter to ensure proper procedures are followed. Cosmetic products are not, in general, subject to premarket approval by the FDA unless they make "structure or function claims" that make them into drugs see Cosmeceutical.
However, all color additives must be specifically FDA approved before manufacturers can include them in cosmetic products sold in the U. The FDA regulates cosmetics labeling, and cosmetics that have not been safety tested must bear a warning to that effect. Though the cosmetic industry is predominantly responsible in ensuring the safety of its products, the FDA also has the power to intervene when necessary to protect the public but in general does not require pre-market approval or testing.
Companies are required to place a warning note on their products if they have not been tested. Experts in cosmetic ingredient reviews also play a role in monitoring safety through influence on the use of ingredients, but also lack legal authority. Overall the organization has reviewed about 1, ingredients and has suggested that several hundred be restricted, but there is no standard or systemic method for reviewing chemicals for safety and a clear definition of what is meant by 'safety' so that all chemicals are tested on the same basis.
CVM's primary focus is on medications that are used in food animals and ensuring that they do not affect the human food supply. The FDA's requirements to prevent the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy are also administered by CVM through inspections of feed manufacturers. In , Congress passed a law requiring color warnings on cigarette packages and on printed advertising, in addition to text warnings from the U.
The nine new graphic warning labels were announced by the FDA in June and were scheduled to be required to appear on packaging by September The implementation date is uncertain, due to ongoing proceedings in the case of R. Food and Drug Administration. Reynolds , Lorillard , Commonwealth Brands Inc. A First Amendment lawyer, Floyd Abrams , is representing the tobacco companies in the case, contending requiring graphic warning labels on a lawful product cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny.
District Court for the District of Columbia temporarily halted the new labels, likely delaying the requirement that tobacco companies display the labels. Supreme Court ultimately could decide the matter. In July , the FDA announced a plan that would reduce the current levels of nicotine permitted in tobacco cigarettes. Ronald Sherman permission to produce and market medical maggots for use in humans or other animals as a prescription medical device.
Medical maggots represent the first living organism allowed by the Food and Drug Administration for production and marketing as a prescription medical device. In June , the FDA cleared Hirudo medicinalis medicinal leeches as the second living organism to be used as a medical device.
The FDA also requires milk to be pasteurized to remove bacteria. In addition to its regulatory functions, the FDA carries out research and development activities to develop technology and standards that support its regulatory role, with the objective of resolving scientific and technical challenges before they become impediments.
The FDA's research efforts include the areas of biologics, medical devices, drugs, women's health, toxicology, food safety and applied nutrition, and veterinary medicine.
The FDA has collected a large amount of data through decades. Up until the 20th century, there were few federal laws regulating the contents and sale of domestically produced food and pharmaceuticals, with one exception being the short-lived Vaccine Act of The history of the FDA can be traced to the latter part of the 19th century and the U. Under Harvey Washington Wiley , appointed chief chemist in , the Division began conducting research into the adulteration and misbranding of food and drugs on the American market.
Wiley's advocacy came at a time when the public had become aroused to hazards in the marketplace by muckraking journalists like Upton Sinclair , and became part of a general trend for increased federal regulations in matters pertinent to public safety during the Progressive Era.
The serum was originally collected from a horse named Jim , who had contracted tetanus. The act applied similar penalties to the interstate marketing of "adulterated" drugs, in which the "standard of strength, quality, or purity" of the active ingredient was not either stated clearly on the label or listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia or the National Formulary.
The responsibility for examining food and drugs for such "adulteration" or "misbranding" was given to Wiley's USDA Bureau of Chemistry. By the s, muckraking journalists, consumer protection organizations, and federal regulators began mounting a campaign for stronger regulatory authority by publicizing a list of injurious products that had been ruled permissible under the law, including radioactive beverages , the mascara Lash lure, which caused blindness, and worthless "cures" for diabetes and tuberculosis.
The resulting proposed law was unable to get through the Congress of the United States for five years, but was rapidly enacted into law following the public outcry over the Elixir Sulfanilamide tragedy, in which over people died after using a drug formulated with a toxic, untested solvent. The new law significantly increased federal regulatory authority over drugs by mandating a pre-market review of the safety of all new drugs, as well as banning false therapeutic claims in drug labeling without requiring that the FDA prove fraudulent intent.
Soon after passage of the Act, the FDA began to designate certain drugs as safe for use only under the supervision of a medical professional, and the category of " prescription-only " drugs was securely codified into law by the Durham-Humphrey Amendment.
These developments confirmed extensive powers for the FDA to enforce post-marketing recalls of ineffective drugs. This marked the start of the FDA approval process in its modern form. These reforms had the effect of increasing the time, and the difficulty, required to bring a drug to market.
The act extended the patent exclusivity terms of new drugs, and tied those extensions, in part, to the length of the FDA approval process for each individual drug. For generic manufacturers, the Act created a new approval mechanism, the Abbreviated New Drug Application ANDA , in which the generic drug manufacturer need only demonstrate that their generic formulation has the same active ingredient, route of administration, dosage form, strength, and pharmacokinetic properties "bioequivalence" as the corresponding brand-name drug.
This act has been credited with in essence creating the modern generic drug industry. Concerns about the length of the drug approval process were brought to the fore early in the AIDS epidemic. In two instances, state governments have sought to legalize drugs that the FDA has not approved.
Under the theory that federal law passed pursuant to Constitutional authority overrules conflicting state laws, federal authorities still claim the authority to seize, arrest, and prosecute for possession and sales of these substances, [ citation needed ] even in states where they are legal under state law.
The first wave was the legalization by 27 states of laetrile in the late s. This drug was used as a treatment for cancer, but scientific studies both before and after this legislative trend found it to be ineffective. Though Virginia passed a law with limited effect in , a more widespread trend began in California in The Critical Path Initiative  is FDA's effort to stimulate and facilitate a national effort to modernize the sciences through which FDA-regulated products are developed, evaluated, and manufactured.
Randall in , creating a program for medical marijuana. A court case, Abigail Alliance v. The Abigail Alliance argued that the FDA must license drugs for use by terminally ill patients with "desperate diagnoses," after they have completed Phase I testing. The US Supreme Court declined to hear the case, and the final decision denied the existence of a right to unapproved medications.
Critics of the FDA's regulatory power argue that the FDA takes too long to approve drugs that might ease pain and human suffering faster if brought to market sooner. The AIDS crisis created some political efforts to streamline the approval process. However, these limited reforms were targeted for AIDS drugs, not for the broader market. This has led to the call for more robust and enduring reforms that would allow patients, under the care of their doctors, access to drugs that have passed the first round of clinical trials.
The widely publicized recall of Vioxx , a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug now estimated to have contributed to fatal heart attacks in thousands of Americans, played a strong role in driving a new wave of safety reforms at both the FDA rulemaking and statutory levels.
However, a number of pre- and post-marketing studies suggested that Vioxx might increase the risk of myocardial infarction, and this was conclusively demonstrated by results from the APPROVe trial in Faced with numerous lawsuits, the manufacturer voluntarily withdrew it from the market. The example of Vioxx has been prominent in an ongoing debate over whether new drugs should be evaluated on the basis of their absolute safety, or their safety relative to existing treatments for a given condition.
In the wake of the Vioxx recall, there were widespread calls by major newspapers, medical journals, consumer advocacy organizations, lawmakers, and FDA officials  for reforms in the FDA's procedures for pre- and post- market drug safety regulation. In , a congressionally requested committee was appointed by the Institute of Medicine to review pharmaceutical safety regulation in the U. The committee was composed of 16 experts, including leaders in clinical medicinemedical research, economics, biostatistics , law, public policy, public health, and the allied health professions, as well as current and former executives from the pharmaceutical , hospital, and health insurance industries.
The authors found major deficiencies in the current FDA system for ensuring the safety of drugs on the American market. Overall, the authors called for an increase in the regulatory powers, funding, and independence of the FDA. As of , Risk Minimization Action Plans RiskMAPS have been created to ensure risks of a drug never outweigh the benefits of that drug within the postmarketing period.
This program requires that manufacturers design and implement periodic assessments of their programs' effectiveness. The Risk Minimization Action Plans are set in place depending on the overall level of risk a prescription drug is likely to pose to the public.
This became a major concern of pediatricians as evidence accumulated that the physiological response of children to many drugs differed significantly from those drugs' effects on adults. Children react different to the drugs because of many reason, including size, weight, etc. There were several reasons that not many medical trials were done with children.
For many drugs, children represented such a small proportion of the potential market, that drug manufacturers did not see such testing as cost-effective. Also, because children were thought to be ethically restricted in their ability to give informed consent , there were increased governmental and institutional hurdles to approval of these clinical trials, as well as greater concerns about legal liability.
Thus, for decades, most medicines prescribed to children in the U. An initial attempt by the FDA to address this issue was the FDA Final Rule on Pediatric Labeling and Extrapolation, which allowed manufacturers to add pediatric labeling information, but required drugs that had not been tested for pediatric safety and efficacy to bear a disclaimer to that effect.
Now thankfully we have stevia products which is approved by the FDA and can replace sugar naturally. Soon it will replace sugar in diet soft drinks and will help all of those addicted to colas etc. Artificial sweeteners or energy used to flavor food and pleasing to basically are suitable for people with diabetes and people who are in weight control.
For a person who play sports are not recommended frequent consumption of this product because in the sportsman the main feature of their diet is increased energy for physical activity and if not indicated any sweetener would cover that feature. However, there are some cases in which you can specify the use such as sports where weight is crucial to competition as in Competitive Art synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, etc. The recommendation for the daily intake depends on the product and the pounds of body weight that the individual has.
For human consumption are permitted three artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame K, aspartame and saccharin. If you take the low carb diet for example, and use sweeteners, you will get a craving for sweet things much more often than usual, and we all know cravings are the curse of anyone watching their weight. I think sugar is the better option if you MUST have a sweet tea, but cut it out all together…it may take you a month or so to get used to the non-sweet taste, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Thanks for the article, it underlined what I have thought about artificial sweeteners for a few years. I have heard many things about artificial sweeteners not being good for your health. I know sugar in excess can be bad for you as well. My advice would be to use both in moderation. More and more people are catching on now though, thank goodness! I have since quit drinking diet sodas, and now drink the ones with sugar, but in moderation.
Reading many of the posts before me, the consensus seems clear — natural is better than artificial. Moderation is the key to any healthy lifestyle be it with natural sugars or artificial sweeteners and too much of anything is unhealthy, plain and simple. I have patients who visit my office on a regular basis who get headaches from these artificial sweatners. I also tell my patients to avoid when possible and use unprocessed sugar in moderation instead.
I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and have my friends check up here often. I also dont believe using suger is that bad for you. As long as everything is used in moderation and a person is actively exercising, everthing should be fine.
The profit margins on artificial sweeteners are extremely high for the manufacturers, they still cost the food industry just a fraction of the cost of sugar and corn syrup. Corn syrup was introduced by the industry as a low-cost alternative to sugar.
By limiting their sugar intake with artificial sweeteners, they can enjoy a varied diet while closely controlling their sugar intake.
Sugar is the main cause for over weighting. Thank you for a great post. Thank you again for this information. I am adding it to my knowledge bank to use in my efforts to help individuals participate in a healthy lifestyle when it comes to their nutrition.
You have to wonder about these sweetners. We swim, speed walk and use certain weights. Nature is the best. Taking the natural sugar can benefit your health as long as you take attention on what you are eating. About 5 years ago, I became extremely sick, prompting me to go see a doctor. The symptoms were fatigue, pain in my left side, extreme thrust, shortness of breath, unable to sleep due to pain in left side, muscle weakness, dizziness, lack of appetite, weight loss, and anxiety.
After performing tests, the doctor told me I had pneumonia with fluid build up in my left lung. She also said I had triglycerides…. This was very distressing news, since I had always been in very good health, and very rarely ever needed a doctor due to illness. Now, my being concerned as to what caused all this mess, I immediately cut out all foods with artificial content, such as artificial sweeteners, chemical additives such as MSG, sodas, and especially oils.
I tried walking a few miles a day. Just about a month later, all my vital signs reverted back to normal, which mystified my doctor, and most of the staff in the clinic. My doctor also took me off of insulin, and put me on pills, which worked very well up to now. It has worked wonders, for the past 4 months regulating my blood to normal without the prescriptions, and I am feeling great.
I agree with the previous comment. To put Stevia in the same category than the articifial sweetener is completely misleading. While I agree that an apple may be the best choice, we still need sugar here is there. So why not talk about the different types of sugar that are now available to us in differnt forms, which is convenient for baking or add to smoothies: You also need to make the distinction between raw brown cane sugsr and white refined sugar etc …. There is much more to say than this article says.
Way too simplified and incomplete. I agree, this article needs re-defining. Stevia is a natural sweetening made from a plant and not synthetic. We use it in baking, coffee, and things such as this. We also have our own honey bee hives and process it without heat so it is very healthy and use it often for sweetening even in baking where ever it calls for sugar.
It is very healthy for a person. In the early 80s I started having strange symptoms. Patchy numbness, ringing in ears, etc. I also was drinking Diet Coke. In while at a staff meeting, my face went numb on the left side.
It was like a netting coming across my face. Fortunantly I was in a hosptial and was immediatly taken to the emergency room. The medication I had to take is no longer needed, the burning sensation and the patch of numbness disappeared from all the other places. Funny, I have not gained weight, so drinking Diet Coke was useless. I stick with the Stevia drinks — I hope someday Coke will have to quit making that poisen. That is my story. Stay away from Aspertame.
I have studied aspartame NutraSweet, Equal for more than 25 years because it caused a drastic personality change and intellectual deterioration in my daughter. She also developed epileptic-type seizures and began to lose the vision in both eyes.
She consulted a neurologist, and he told her that she had temporal lobe epilepsy. I heard about Dr.
Roberts in Florida, so I contacted him and he confirmed what I suspected — that she was suffering from a reaction to the artificial sweetener in diet soda.
He has written many medical texts about aspartame.