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Artificial Sweeteners Pose Health Risks

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist




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Artificial sweeteners have become a staple of the American diet over
the past 40 years. We no longer even think of them, really. Need a
coffee? Sure, add a pink packet. Want a lemonade? Throw in a yellow
packet.  Pink packets, blue packets and now yellow packets are
members of the family, a familiar and even comforting part of every
meal at every restaurant, at every dinner table, every day.

Bit if they have become family members of the American diet, our
relationship with them is uneasy. Just as we have come t rely on their
presence, we do so with a suppressed nervousness about what they
are doing to us.  In the uniquely American ambivalence about dieting
and weight control, we often follow up a belch-inducing meat fest and
starch fest with a dainty wink at weight control--- I'll have that after
dinner coffee with a coffee and Sweet'n' Low, thank you.

My thinking on all this has changed over the years. First artificial
sweeteners are not all created equal (no pun intended). Some have
been linked to increased risk if cancer (pink packs) or headaches
(blue packs). Nowadays, I stick to none at all or Splenda. Some
people have reported side effects from Splenda but so far I have had
none.

Many of my friends use stevia. Stevia is native to Paraguay in South
America and has been used throughout South America as a sweetener
for over 100 years.  But stevia is just not a satisfactory alternative
sweetener for me because it has a bitter aftertaste.

Here, then, is my run down on existing artificial sweeteners and their
pros and cons:


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