Surprise, surprise! The FDA has approved a new artificial sweetener advantame. It does not have a brand name yet, but look out for it to hit the grocery store shelves soon.
Advantame is very similar to aspartame. So, don’t get too excited about it. Advantame was made to be a good alternative to those who suffer from phenylketonuria and can not intake anything with phenylalanine (which aspartame has). But, do we really need another sweetener for this?
The FDA concludes, “In evaluating the safety of advantame under the petitioned conditions of use, the FDA reviewed data from 37 animal and human studies. The safety studies were designed to identify possible toxic effects, such as reproductive, neurological, and cancer-causing effects. The FDA concluded after a thorough evaluation that advantame is safe for human consumption under the petitioned conditions of use.”
My opinion is that I will continue to avoid artificial sweeteners because more research should be done. This is what I tell my patients: It is good to get used to foods tasting less sweet because it will help you get used to other foods with lower sugar contents and help you avoid the habit of using added sugars in your diet.
More solid evidence tells us that those who use more artificial sweeteners tend to weigh more than those who don’t use the zero calorie sweeteners. Moderation is key. Limit the artificial sweeteners AND added sugars. Consume plenty of natural, freshly sweet fruits, and maybe a tiny teaspoon of local honey or pinch of stevia here and there.
Do we really need artificial sweeteners? No. Even Diabetics can have a healthy diet without artificial sweeteners. However, these sweeteners can help Diabetics transition away from sugar added foods and help them enjoy a sugar free treat once and a while.