There has been much controversy over the use of artificial sweeteners. Saccharin, for example, was once nearly banned, but got by with a warning label on products that contained it. It has since been declared safe by the government. Aspartame has also undergone scrutiny, and is believed to be responsible for a number of troublesome side effects.
With all of the bad press and uncertainty surrounding artificial sweeteners, it is understandable that people might be hesitant to use them. Even if we do use them ourselves, it has been recommended that we do not allow our children to consume them.
Saccharin was the source of heated debate in the 1970s. Studies linked the substance to an increased incidence of bladder cancer in male rats, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration attempted to impose a ban. They were convinced by the food industry, however, to allow the use of saccharin in products as long as the product bore a label saying that it contained saccharin and that saccharin may cause cancer.
In 2001, the FDA lifted the warning requirement, and now claims that saccharin does not cause cancer in humans. The American Medical Association, however, recommends a limit on the intake of saccharin in pregnant women and children. Considering all of the controversy surrounding saccharin, it is likely safer to avoid it altogether.
Aspartame has been linked to headaches, psychiatric disorders, low blood sugar and many other ailments. As a matter of fact, there are at least ninety-two side affects that have been associated with the use of aspartame. Most regulated drugs do not have that many reported side effects.
Unlike some other artificial sweeteners, aspartame dissolves easily and can end up in any tissue in the body. That means that it can cause problems with any tissue or organ. This is a problem for adults, and an even bigger problem in growing children, who could experience more damage than a person who is fully grown and developed.
Other Artificial Sweeteners
While saccharin and aspartame are two of the most controversial artificial sweeteners, most others have been associated with similar side effects. There has also been little testing done on them, so it’s hard to know just what problems could be associated with long-term use, especially among children.
Children Do Not Need Artificial Sweeteners
There is no practical reason for giving children artificial sweeteners. Even overweight children can benefit more from eating naturally sweet foods such as fruits. Giving these kinds of foods to our children in place of sugary sweets or foods with artificial sweeteners will allow them to develop a taste for them, thereby developing healthy habits that they can benefit from for life.