Artificial Sweeteners and Their Long-Term Health Effects

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Defining the Issue The global market for artificial sweeteners is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2018, due in large part to increasing concerns about diabetes and the obesity epidemic (PRWeb). Artificially sweetened foods and drinks are increasingly viewed as a viable alternative for diabetics and people attempting to lose weight, but these products entered the marketplace before being tested thoroughly for any long-term health effects. The lack of data concerning this issue is important, in light of the fact that between 4 and 18% of all carbonated beverages consumed by children are artificially sweetened (reviewed by Brown, De Banate, and Rother 307). In the United States alone, 4,500 tons of the artificial sweetener aspartame is consumed in the form of diet soda each year, which represents 86% of the total amount of aspartame ingested (reviewed by Schernhammer et al. 1419). Given the amount of artificial sweeteners entering the food market globally, and the financial incentives involved, researchers and health professionals continue to be concerned about the long-term health effects of these chemicals. Brown and colleagues reviewed recent research into the safety of these products and noted that several revealed evidence that artificial sweeteners may not be as metabolically inert as previously thought (305-306). This finding was based on the results of large scale epidemiological studies that linked artificial sweetener use with weight gain. Other studies have

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