Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes that add sweetness to foods and beverages without the extra calories found in sugar. These additives are used to help patients with diabetes avoid hyperglycemia and assist people in losing weight or avoiding weight gain by providing a replacement to higher calorie sugar-sweetened foods. Artificial sweeteners can be found in many sugar-free beverages, candies and gum, as well as pharmaceutical products. Although artificial sweeteners are often recommended over the sugar-sweetened alternatives in weight loss and diabetes prevention, the use of such products are not without risk. Studies have been conducted to assess artificial sweeteners involvement in contributing to cancer, genotoxicity and diabetes. To provide optimal health care to patients, it is imperative to know the implications involved with these risks. Pharmaceutical products formulated for oral and peroral administration have been sweetened by both artificial and natural sweeteners, and the utilization of artificial sweeteners has been deemed more beneficial than its natural counterpart. As health care professionals, it is our job to counsel patients on the benefits of artificial sweeteners over natural sweeteners along with the importance of using artificial sweeteners in moderation.
Bollinger K, Moynihan M, Smith A, Steinbrunner A, Kier K. The Safety of Artificial Sweeteners and their Use in Pharmaceuticals. PAW Review. 2014 Feb 01; 5(1):Article 7 38-40 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol5/iss1/7. Free full text article.