Saturday, February 27, 2010

Giving your Child Artificial Sweeteners

Do you? What do you think of them?

I read a post today in which a women said that she was encouraging her daughter to not drink 100% orange juice. She told the 9 year old that too much of the orange juice was bad for her because it had sugar in it. Then instead she asked for opinions on giving her child drinks containing artificial sweeteners.

I admit that the word 'artificial' is one that I approach with caution. I myself removed food dyes from my sons diet 6 years ago. The benefits of a dye free diet were apparent to me within a few months. His behavior was calmer and he had much more control over himself.

So my question is, why would you intentionally choose to put artificial sweeteners in your child's diet? Unless your child has a medical issue I do not see the benefit of water sweetened with Splenda over watered down juice or a simple glass of OJ.

If you are interested in reading more on the subject I am inserting an article below which I found on . This article provides detailed descriptions of artificial sweeteners. :

Are artificial sweeteners safe?

Artificial sweeteners are everywhere, from sodas to breakfast cereals. Although FDA-approved, and widely used, may people wonder about the safety of sugar substitutes. But with rare exceptions, they appear to pose little or no risk when used in moderation.

How do they work?
Artificial sweeteners add sweetness without calories in two ways. First, they are so sweet — 160 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar — that you need only a tiny bit to achieve the equivalent taste. You consume a fraction of a calorie to get the sweetness of many more calories worth of sugar. Second, because the body doesn’t fully absorb them, it also doesn’t fully absorb the few calories they contain.

Low-calorie sweeteners contain only a few calories per gram. Also known as sugar alcohols or polyols, they are 50%–92% sweeter than sugar. These sweeteners are found strictly in packaged goods — look for sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, erythritol, and D-tagatose on the ingredients list. All sugar alcohols are absorbed slowly and incompletely by the intestine, which is why they have little caloric effect. However, this property can also cause gas and diarrhea if you consume too much. For many people, more than 50 grams per day of sorbitol or 20 grams per day of mannitol can cause these problems.

What about some of the other sweeteners, termed "no-calorie"? Here’s a rundown of the evidence on some of the most popular.

Acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One): Incorporated in hundreds of products, acesulfame K is 200 times sweeter than sugar and can be used in baked goods. According to the FDA, its safety is backed by more than 90 studies.

Saccharin (Sweet ’N Low, Sugar Twin, others): Saccharin was almost banned in 1977 because of studies in rats linking it to bladder cancer. Since then, the National Cancer Institute and the FDA have concluded that its use is not a major risk for bladder cancer in humans. Saccharin is 200–700 times sweeter than sugar.

Aspartame (Nutra-Sweet, Equal, others): Despite anecdotal reports of adverse effects, the American Medical Association and the FDA have both concluded that aspartame is safe at recommended levels. However, people with a disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid it. These people cannot metabolize an amino acid found in aspartame, allowing it to accumulate in the body to dangerous levels. Aspartame is 160–220 times sweeter than sugar.

Sucralose (Splenda): Sucralose, which is 600 times sweeter than sugar, is marketed as being “made from sugar.” Its manufacturers do use sugar as the starting point. However, they convert sugar to the non-caloric sucralose by changing its chemical makeup, so it’s not actually sugar any longer. Granulated Splenda can be substituted for sugar, spoon-for-spoon, in baking and cooking. Although it’s called a “no-calorie” sweetener, sucralose does have a small fraction of a calorie. There is also a new product called Splenda Blend that is half sugar, half Splenda.

Neotame: The most recently approved sweetener, neotame is 7,000–13,000 times sweeter than sugar. It is made by the same company that produces NutraSweet (aspartame). It is derived from aspartame, but with one chemical change. This enables the body to metabolize neotame differently than aspartame, so products containing neotame are not required to carry the PKU warning.

Should you use sweeteners?
The American Dietetic Association has approved the use of all five FDA-approved artificial sweeteners for people with diabetes, pregnant women, and children. Although artificial sweeteners are considered generally safe, some experts remain wary. These experts believe that there’s not enough evidence on the sweetener aspartame to be sure that it’s completely safe and that animal studies linking saccharin to cancer are a reason to ban it.

In moderation, foods containing artificial sweeteners can satisfy a craving for sweets while limiting the number of calories consumed. You'll still want to keep an eye on total calories, because sugar-free does not mean calorie-free. If you're uncomfortable about using artificial sweeteners, despite current scientific evidence, you can get by without them. Try the following:

•Drink flavored seltzer water instead of diet soda.
•Cut back on the sugar you add to foods. With a little time and training, your taste buds can learn to enjoy other ways of sweetening food, like blueberries in your oatmeal instead of maple syrup.
•Compare grams of sugar when buying packaged foods. Some brands may have less sugar than others.
•Read labels and packaging carefully. Many products contain artificial sweeteners when you might not expect them to; likewise, some reduced-sugar products do NOT use artificial sweeteners.



  1. Well I try to limit what comes into the house that contains Aspertame and Saccharin. When I consume products that have them in them, I feel "off" and have had horrible headaches. I tried Splenda and I had dizzy spells from it. So for me I stick with good old sugar. DH will use splenda in his coffee but that is it.

  2. I stick with good old sugar too Lynn. I don't get headaches but I can definitely taste an 'after taste'.