Although artificial sweeteners are non-nutritive, they are considered sweet with good flavor and taste on processed foods. Obese individuals have used artificial sweeteners to control their carbohydrate intake, lower their glucose percentages, and monitor their body mass index. Artificial sweeteners are present in several food products, in addition to pharmaceuticals including drinks, baked foods, chewing gums, and jellies among others (O’Brien-Nabors 76). Although debate on the contribution of the sweeteners as a contributor in cancer cases is still ongoing, nutritionists agree that artificial sweeteners do have a significant negative influence on an individual’s health. Saccharin is safe, and according to FDA, the sweetener provides over 200-700 times better and sweeter than the ordinary table sugar. This research focuses on the stability of artificial sweetener in processed products such as baked products, drinks, and cakes.
Significance of the Study
The study offers an insight into the common belief that artificial sweeteners contribute to the instability of processed products in the market. Additionally, the study confirms the allayed fears concerning the development and growth of health complication, particularly on individuals suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. Often described as synthetic organic compounds with higher sucrose sweetness, artificial sweeteners add sweetness to foods without compromising on the digestibility of the product (O’Donnell 34). Compounds, such as acesulfame, saccharin, and aspartame, have provided solid additives to processed products, with significant differences in tier quality and texture. For example, processing a combination of polydextrose and sucralose brought forth reduced cohesiveness in the end-processed product. While sweeteners contribute immensely to increased storage time, other products, such as muffin batters, revealed lower density an indication of greater absorption of air into the product during processing. The air bubbles, in turn, lower the temperature needed for baking. On the other hand, acesulfame-K, makes baked products soluble at room temperature, while sucrose provides for a solid biological stability during, and after the processing (O’Donnell 34). Other sweetening products, such as xylitol, improve the products sweetness intensity, in addition to making them highly soluble during processing, a key factor that is applied to ensure that the products retain their natural texture, taste, and sucrose levels.
Liu et al. (36) argue that the varying levels of artificial sweeteners in processed products offer an insight into the safety of these very products on the market. Although during processing, most of these sweeteners have provided beneficial nutrients to individuals in need of nutrients, such as calcium and potassium. Saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose remain the most common compounds used as sugar substitutes in products. According to Liu et al. (38), sorbil, maltitol finds their usage in products such as mouthwash, toothpaste, and in ice cream. Different countries also use cyclamate, stevia, and xylitol.
Beverage and food processing industries are gradually replacing the regular sugar with artificial sweeteners (Polyák et al., 40). Approximately over 4000 products contain artificial sweeteners, with aspartame remaining the most popular sweetener in the United States (Polyák et al., 42). The side effect of sucralose usage in processing industries points to a drop in prices of regular sugar.
The research and study analyzed in this paper looked into the stability of sweeteners involved rational investigation of various products, such as ice cream, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Given that these products are widely used in homes and offices, the study analyzed how the sweeteners influence and contribute to the usage of the products. In retaining its stability, the qualitative analytical method that involved the use of questionnaires and practical use of the products, the method involved trying out different processed products with one containing artificial sweeteners, and the other with natural sweeteners. A visit to processing industries involved an analysis of the processing method and observation of any changes in the original product. The study majorly focused on determining if any observable changes occurred on the product due to the use of artificial sweeteners. The questionnaires used in the research accessed aspects, such as changes in taste, any side effects, and the ability to retain nutrients in their original form. The questions below can offer an insight into some of the research aspects under study;
- How do you compare the taste of product A (with natural sweetener) and product B (with artificial sweetener)?
- What is the difference in processing methods of the two products during the manufacturing process?
- Is there any observable difference, such as a texture for the different products?
Respondents and participants were drawn from the manufacturing sector, such as industry managers, machine operator, and individuals using the products, such as consumers in the market.
Analysis and Presentation of Collected Data
According to the outcome, many respondents allayed fears in using products containing artificial sweeteners, despite the fact that they find them most appetizing and tempting. Additionally, industry managers confirmed that artificial sweeteners involve many stages in processing, as compared to natural sweetener products proving the allegation that artificial sweeteners change product originality, taste, and texture. Respondents agreed to the fact that artificial sweeteners are delicious and easy to purchase because of their sweet and attempting nature. Products with artificial sweeteners tend to be unstable in the sense that, they do not compare to the original products regarding taste, delicacy, and nutrients content. The study further confirmed that artificial sweeteners contain several chemical compounds responsible for health complication on individuals.
From the data collected, it is evident that artificial sweeteners contribute to the enormous changes in taste, texture, and nutrient content of processed products. For example, respondents confirmed that although ice cream, prepared by use of artificial sweeteners, has a good taste, they collectively agreed that the ice cream changes a lot in terms of taste and texture, in addition to nutrient content. According to O’Brien-Nabors (23), processed products have many chemical compounds contributing to the mixed taste and unstable condition of the product. From the processing methods used by most processing industries, it is evident that artificial sweeteners change the chemical compounds of most products, such as ice cream, further contributing to the high sweet taste, which camouflages the original taste of the product. This instability further erodes the nutrient content of the product with the result of a non-nutritive food or product. Although best suited for people suffering from diabetes and obese, research indicates that the instability contributes to the high level of activity of the sweeteners in the gastrointestinal track, causing complication on weight gain, and increased appetite. O’Brien-Nabors (56) argue that sweeteners, thus contribute to product instability evidently visible in the adverse effects on consumers particularly in the development of health complications. The use and processing of food products need to be controlled to prevent the many negative side effects consumers occasion. Additionally, an awareness program needs to be legislated to keep consumers aware of the side effects of sweeteners with processing plants taking the mantle to educate and enlighten consumers on the same.
Liu, Ting and D. C. Wu. “Sweeteners in foodstuffs.” China Condiment 35.11 (2010): 35-39.
O’Brien-Nabors, Lyn. Alternative sweeteners. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2011.
O’Donnell, Kay, and Malcolm Kearsley, eds. Sweeteners and sugar alternatives in food technology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012.
Polyák, Éva, et al. “Effects of artificial sweeteners on body weight, food and drink intake.” Acta Physiologica Hungarica 97.4 (2010): 401-407.