Test Your Sweetener IQ!
By Joe Wilkes
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
True or False?
- FALSE: Of Equal, Splenda, and
Sweet'N Low, Equal is the sweetest. Splenda
(sucralose) is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Sweet'N Low (saccharin) is 300 to
500 times sweeter, and Equal (aspartame) trails the pack at 200 times
- TRUE: Aspartame turns into
formaldehyde in your body. Aspartame breaks down
into phenylalanine (which can affect people with phenylketonuria), aspartate,
and methanol. Methanol is then broken down further by the liver into
formaldehyde and formic acid, both toxic. Fortunately, the toxic effects of
methanol and its byproducts are caused by prolonged exposure, and the belief is
that the amount of methanol and the length of time in the body makes aspartame
reasonably harmless in small doses. However, some warn that a cumulative effect
of aspartame consumption may exist, which could cause long-term health
- FALSE: Saccharin causes cancer.
In the 1970s, studies showed that saccharin caused
bladder cancer in lab rats. This led to a warning on all products containing
saccharin that the product may cause cancer. Subsequent studies showed that the
cancer was caused by biological mechanisms present only in rats, and that no
evidence existed that saccharin caused cancer in humans. In 2000, the federal
government delisted it as a carcinogen, and products containing saccharin no
longer carry the warning.
- TRUE: Sucralose is made from sugar.
It's essentially true. It begins as a sugar molecule with
its hydrogen-oxygen atom groups replaced with chlorine, which turns it into
something else entirely. It's like saying glass is made from sand. It's true,
but you probably wouldn't let your kid play in a box full of glass. The makers
of Equal, an aspartame product, are currently suing Splenda that its tagline
"Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar" is false advertising.
- FALSE: Stevia is banned in the U.S.
Stevia was banned in 1991 from being imported to the U.S.
The ban was revoked in 1995 after the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and
Education Act was enacted. No reason has ever been given for why stevia was
banned. Many suspect it was due to political pressure from the artificial
sweetener industry. A plant-based sweetener, stevia is currently only available
as a supplement, and not recognized as a food additive by the FDA, as it has
not been proven to be safe. It hasn't been proven to be unsafe, however, and
has been used as a sweetener and additive in other countries such as Japan for
years, with no harmful effects reported.