Acesulfame potassium, also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K is 180-200 times sweeter than table sugar. Although it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, its safety is still questioned by bodies such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Possible Side Effects of Acesulfame Potassium
# Acesulfame Potassium contains acetoacetic acid, which is responsible for the extreme sweetness level, sans the calories and fats. Health conscious people may think, it is a good news, but on the contrary, such processed sweeteners can hamper the metabolism of the body. This is because a human body cannot metabolize these calorie free drinks.
# A research done long back on this particular sweetener's effects on female rats had ambiguous results, with a claim that the rats which were tested with this sweetener had higher chances of developing breast tumors.This research was carried out by Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the inconclusive results are still disputable today, on whether this sweetener is any good for health, despite the fact that FDA has approved of it as a general purpose sweetener.
# During the manufacture of acesulfame potassium, methylene chloride is used as a solvent, which otherwise is used in other commercial applications like paint stripper, degreaser and propellant gas. Its use in the food industry is contentious, and exposure to this chemical compound over a prolonged period of time can result in..
- Liver complications
- Mental confusion
- Cancerous developments
- Visual impairment
- Renal diseases
# For diabetic people, the normal sugar is a NO-NO. So people tend to use this sweetener as a taste enhancer. Although acesulfame K stimulates insulin secretion, in extreme cases, it can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which is even more dangerous. This can happen when the body ends up secreting more insulin, and the craving for sweet food increases, causing the person to lose appetite for a healthy diet.
Despite the above stated side effects, this sweetener is quite popular because of the calorie-less sweetness that it has to offer. It is as sweet as aspartame and is ¼th sweet as sucralose, which is a common ingredient in most of the soft drinks. Also it is quite popular as sweeteners for diabetics. Since it remains stable under heat and exposure to acidic and basic conditions, its utility as a food additive is indisputable. Even many liquid drugs used for medications, contain appropriate amounts of acesulfame K to palliate the bitter taste of medicines.
Although it has a green signal from the FDA, to be used as a general purpose sweetener, one must take care, when going for the brands. However, there haven't been many cases of side effects and also it is quite safe to be consumed by pregnant women. One can use it in appropriate amounts and at the same time should not compromise on a healthy diet. So the bottom line is in spite of its side effects, it can be consumed. However, it is always better to avoid over-consumption, to ward off risks associated with this non-nutritive sweetener. Take care!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.