substitutes for sucrose and sugars have numerous applications in the food industry. The most important one is the sweeteners that, divided into volume and intense, have been adopted by the food and beverage prodIdeal ucing companies, increasingly aware of the current needs of consumers (fewer calories, without impairment of taste) and international regulations on the subject, as well as campaigns in favor of strategies against obesity.
Introduction to Artificial sweeteners
Widely used in the food industry, sweeteners are sugar substitutes with lower calorie content. Its use has spread in recent years due to growing concern about the progressive increase in obesity rates in people living in industrialized regions of the world. To this reality is added the increase in the preference of consumers to ingest drinks and foods without sugar, or with a lower content of simple carbohydrates.
These sweeteners are not only derived artificially but derived from natural substances also sometimes from sugars. Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than normal sugar so it is also known as intense sweeteners. These sweeteners can be a sweet alternative to foods and avoid table sugar and take advantage of its benefits.
The first artificial sweetener used was saccharin today under the trade name Sweet Low, which was discovered by Constantine Fahlberg in 1879, in the United States. Other sweeteners are known in the population as Splenda, Equal, and Stevia among others.
Currently, the sweeteners are prepared with a lower caloric content that helps prevent sugar diseases also prevents an increase in body weight. They also provide the sweet taste of table sugar, but without the caloric intake we get from it, therefore, they can help you lose weight and adhere to a low-calorie diet which makes its use a beneficial choice.
Benefits of sweeteners
All of them pass rigorous food safety tests, but despite this, some legislators and health professionals are reluctant to promote their use as part of a healthy diet. A group of independent experts recently met on the occasion of the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) Conference, where they had the opportunity to discuss the scientific evidence around the benefits of low- and no-calorie sweeteners from different research. Now, the main conclusions of this scientific meeting have been reflected in a Consensus Statement on the benefits of low and non-calorie sweeteners published in Nutrition Bulletin, a scientific publication of the British Nutrition Foundation.
These are the five benefits of sweeteners
Low and no-calorie sweeteners do not increase appetite and do not have a perceptible effect on satiety. The preference for sweetness is innate and universal, but scientific evidence does not suggest that sweeteners stimulate appetite; in fact, they could satisfy the desire for sweet things and help the adjustment in diets to reduce weight.
- They help reduce energy intake. The benefits of low- and no-calorie sweeteners may be greater in beverages (where sugar is the main or only source of energy) than in foods, where other macro-nutrients are needed to replace sugar and provide fiber. Ad libitum energy intakes tend to be lower with low- and no-calorie sweeteners because people only partially compensate for missing calories. Compensation could depend on many factors related to form and quantity, as well as period and personal factors.
- They can improve weight loss when used as part of a behavioral weight loss program
Recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses have concluded that using low and no-calorie sweeteners to replace sugar leads to modest weight losses (<1 kg over several weeks). According to a recent randomized trial, beverages with low and no-calorie sweeteners produce greater weight loss in 3 months compared to water.
- They have a beneficial effect on postprandial glucose and insulin in healthy individuals and people with diabetes. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently approved the health property that low- and no-calorie sweeteners help reduce the postprandial glycemic response. Maintaining healthy body weight is paramount to good diabetes management, so low- and no-calorie sweeteners can also make weight management easier for people with diabetes.
- They have oral health benefits when used in foods, beverages, toothpaste, and medicines, provided with other non-cariogenic and non-erosive components. EFSA has approved the claim that low- and no-calorie sweeteners can decrease the level of demineralization of teeth.
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