Sunday, July 02, 2006

Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?

(HealthDay News) -- Between meals, snacks and drinks, the average American eats the equivalent of about 20 teaspoonfuls of sugar a day, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

To save calories and still satisfy a craving for sweets, many people have turned to artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame.

In an article published in the online magazine FDA Consumer, the agency said, "Questions still linger about whether saccharin may cause cancer in humans, and though the sweetener is still widely used, it carries a label that warns of its potential risks."

Aspartame, the agency continued, "has come under fire in recent years from individuals who have used the Internet in an attempt to link the sweetener to brain tumors and other serious disorders. But FDA stands behind its original approval of aspartame, and subsequent evaluations have shown that the product is safe."

"A tiny segment of the population is sensitive to one of the sweetener's byproducts and should restrict intake. However, the agency continually monitors safety information on food ingredients such as aspartame and may take action to protect public health if it receives credible scientific evidence indicating a safety problem," the FDA publication said.

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