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Dietary Sweeteners

Test Your Sweetener IQ!

By Joe Wilkes
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to Win!

True or False?

  1. SweetenerFALSE: 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 sweeter.

  2. AspertameTRUE: 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 problems.

  3. RatFALSE: 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.

  4. MoleculeTRUE: 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.

  5. SteviaFALSE: Stevia is banned in the U.S. Stevia was banned in 1991 from being imported to the U.S. The ban was revoked in 1995 after the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was enacted.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.

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