There is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of LNCS, leaving people confused if they are able to safely consume sweetener or if they should be avoiding the stuff.
There have been articles linking sweeteners to cancer, weight gain, addiction, gut problems and all sorts. However so far, none of these have been proved. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS Panel) have carried out risk assessments to determine the effects and the amounts which can be used. They have concluded that the use of artificial sweeteners:
Does not affect reproduction
Is not stored within the body or metabolised into other potentially unsafe products;
Does not cause allergic reactions.
Both Cancer Research UK and the US National Cancer Institute have said sweeteners do not cause cancer and there is now ' strong evidence that artificial sweeteners are safe for humans' (Cancer Research UK).
Sweeteners are an amazing tool for keeping calories down in everyday use as well as when cooking and baking. Not only with the actual artificial sweetener (for example sweetner in packets for tea/coffee) but also when being used to replicate products in the market. More and more products are being replaced with low sugar versions, using sweetener instead to replicate the original version but with considerably less calories.
Diabetes UK, have even released a document outlining their position on the use of LNCS. They have reported 'LNCS are shown to be safe and they can be used as part of a strategy for adults and children in the management of weight and diabetes'.
So, this leads me onto the 5 key facts you should know about artificial sweeteners:
1. All sweeteners in the EU and US have to undergo a complex food safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and FDA respectively.
2. The 7 UK approved Sweeteners for use are:
3. Sweeteners are either nutritive or non-nutritive. Nutritive sweeteners mean they have some calories albeit a very small amount of calories. Aspartame, the main sweetener in diet coke and other diet drinks, is actually nutritive, hence why there can be a couple of calories in these drinks.
4. Non nutritive sweeteners contain zero calories they can in no way cause you to gain weight unless they cause you to eat more real sugar and therefore calories.
5. When cooking with sweetener it is best to use Sucralose as it is heat stable and therefore will maintain it's taste. Sucralose is 600x sweeter than sugar, so it is great to add in when baking.
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