Several artificial sweeteners have received so much negative speculation regarding safety concerns that only few remain available in the food market. However, a select group of chemically engineered sugar substitutes do offer risk-free flavor when consumed in recommended moderation.
The Big Debate
Several science groups continuously speak against artificial sweeteners, mostly because they believe that the human body does not have the ability to properly digest the chemical based products. Others claim that these products do in fact cause an increased risk or lead to cancer and numerous diseases. Over time, several major tests, studies and controlled research have provided results pointing to a much different set of ideas.
At least 4 different man-made sugar substitutes have gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration as food additives or sweetening products.1. Aspartame
Originally titled NutraSweet and sometimes labeled by the popular brand Equal, aspartame gained FDA approval around 1981. This sweetener was the start of a large debate concerning brain tumors, cancer and types of leukemia and lymphoma. However, scientists disproved the claims which circulated throughout the food industry and cancer institutes during the 70s and into the early 80s.
Studies proved that humans have the ability to consume up to nearly 20 canned soft drink beverages, artificially sweetened by aspartame, daily for months at a time without any adverse health side effects. The largest cancer related test in history was performed by the National Cancer Institute, directly testing the effects of aspartame on human health and specifically cancer. Through this test, the Food and Drug Administration was able to establish a recommended daily consumption amount for individuals around the world.
The FDA has set the standard for daily aspartame consumption at 50 mg per each single kilogram of total body weight.2. Saccharin
Once a banned food additive, saccharin regained Food and Drug Administration clearance in 1977. Animal based testing that originally showed results were later refuted when several other similar tests showed no increase in multiple disease or health problems. Other government enforced food acts took saccharin filled products off of shelves, or at least included warning labels that told customers some risk existed prior to consuming the goods.
Through testing and government bills that reached as far as former United States President Bill Clinton's office, saccharin gained full approval from the FDA and remains in multiple food items around the world.
The FDA recommends no more than 10 mg per kilogram of total body weight per day.3. Sucralose
Also known as Splenda, Sucralose was granted full approval as an artificial sweetener from the Food and Drug Administration in 1998. Many people use the sweetener for a sugar substitute in baking and general flavoring purposes.
The FDA set the daily intake standard for sucralose at 5 mg per kilogram of body weight daily.4. Acesulfame K
Made popular by brands like Sweet One, Acesulfame K was granted FDA approval in 1993. Mostly used as a food additive in mass food processing, the artificial sweetener first became widely used in other countries before gaining attention in the United States.
The FDA places a 15 mg per kilogram of total body weight daily allowance on the sugar substitute.