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Artificial sweeteners have become the new way of avoiding sugar triggered illnesses by not containing any calories and not contributing to the metabolic processes that occur in the body. The food industry has incorporated these substances to substitute their use of excessive sugar (sucrose) in many products. Globally, people have become very aware about the type of food they eat, what it contains, how it affects their bodies and that the long –term exposure to these foods can do to their health. As a result, artificial sweeteners have been used to improve taste and decrease rate of sugar consumption. In conclusion, there are now sweeteners that provide the product with the same great taste at a lesser risk of the consumer’s health.
Artificial sweeteners have changed the game in the food industry by replacing real sugar due to them being a lot more sweeter than sugar(sucrose)and non-nutritive; not contributing to obesity or taking part in biological process and are often present in processed foods such as soft drinks, baked products, candy products, puddings, jams and jellies (Strawbridge, 2019). Artificial sweeteners are said to have benefits of weight loss and diabetes prevention by contributing next to zero calories in the body, however too much of a good thing can result in bad effects (Rubin, 2011). Artificial sweeteners that are highly in use in the food industry include Acesulfame K, Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, and Neotame. This paper will delve into their classification, structure, manufacturing and applications within the Food Industry.
Acesulfame K also known as Acesulfame Potassium, Ace K or E950 as per the European Union, is an artificial sweetener that is often used in conjunction with other artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, and aspartame to mask the bitter after taste (West, 2017). The chemical formula for this compound is C4H4KNO4S and the IUPAC name is potassium-6-methyl-2,2-dioxo-2H-1,2λ6,3-oxathiazin-4-olate; containing a hydrocarbon cyclic group, an amide group, a sulfide group, a ketone functional group and a positively charged Potassium ion attached to a negatively charged Nitrogen atom (Lawrence, 2003). Ace K is often used in baked products due to its ability to withstand high temperatures during the baking process and is about 200 times sweeter than normal sugar making ideal for its use in soft drinks, baked products, candy and dairy products (West, 2017 ). The production of this chemical production is through the formation of a crystallized product by way of combining Acetoacetic acid with potassium (Joshi, 2017)
Aspartame also known as E951 under the European Union Additives list, is an artificial sweetener common in food beverages such as diet soft drinks, sugar-free ice cream, sugarless candy and yoghurt which is 180-200 times sweeter than sugar(Butler, 2018). The chemical formula for this compound is C14H18N2O and the IUPAC name is N-(L-α-Aspartyl)-L-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester as this compound contains the amino acids Aspartic acid and Phenylalanine and a methanol group (Chattopadhyay et al., 2011). This compound is synthesized by fermentation; specific bacteria ( Brevibacterium flavum and Corynebacterium glutamicum) are isolated to synthesize the amino acids required so that they are modified so certain structures if the amino acids take part in the reaction with methanol while keeping certain characteristics, these are then purified with ethanol and crystallization occurs (Burggraaf, 2016).
Saccharin or E954 is a synthetic artificial sweetener that is 300-400 times sweeter than sugar and, is produced by oxidizing *o*-toluenesulfonamide or phthalic anhydride to create a white insoluble crystal that melts in temperatures between 228.8° and 229.7° C (Roth and Lück, 2015). The chemical formula for this compound is C7H5NO3S and the IUPAC name is 2H-1λ6,2-benzothiazol-1,1,3-trione, containing a benzene ring, sulfide group, ketone functional group and amide group (Horne et al., 2002). This sweetener is an ingredient in products like diet soft drinks, chewing gum and in the sweetening of medicines (Tripathi et al., 2006)
Sucralose or E955 is an artificial sweetener which is produced through the chlorination of sucrose by removing the hydroxyl groups at position 1',4' and 6' and substituting them with Chlorine atoms (Caballero et al., 2003). The chemical formula for this compound, which is 600 times sweeter than sugar, is C12H19Cl3O8 and the IUPAC name is 1,6-dichloro-1, 6-dideoxy-β-d-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-α-d-galacto-pyranoside which contains a sucrose molecule with 3 chlorine atoms (Chattopadhyay et al., 2011). This product is often an ingredient in canned fruits, syrups, condiments and chewing gum and is stable at high temperatures therefore also used in baked products (Palsdottir, 2018).
Neotame or E961 is an artificial sweetener that is used as a glazing agent and is said to be 13 000 times sweeter than normal sugar and is produced by being derived from Aspartame when it is combined with3,3-dimethylbutyraldehyde (Chi et al., 2018).The chemical formula for this compound is C20H30N2O5 and the IUPAC nameis N-(N-(3,3-dimethylbutyl)-L-α-aspartyl)-1-L-phenylalanine-1-methylesterand contains the Aspartic acid and Phenylalanine amino acids, carboxylic groups and amide groups (O'donnell, 2012). This product is often used in food products such as frozen desserts, puddings, chewing gum and dairy products (Sagis, 2015).
All these artificial sweeteners are non-nutritive and do not contribute to the calorie in-take in the body. However, too much of a good thing can lead to long-term effects that may result in long-term weight gain by the body and losing weight becoming harder to achieve during a specific period of time (Rubin, 2011).
The Aspartame artificial sweetener has been discovered to contribute to the formation of formaldehyde and accumulation of methanol in the body due the body being able to metabolize the aspartic acid and phenylalanine amino acids. Although methanol is dangerous to the body in excessive amounts, the amounts present in the artificial sweetener are very small but excessive intake is toxic (Burggraaf, 2016). Sucralose has been identified to have carcinogenic effects due to the production of choloropropanols when heated with glycerol and excessive use has led to the extreme reduction of bacteria present in the gut (Palsdottir, 2018).
Artificial sweeteners are beneficial in their use and help in the substitution of sugar by reducing the risk of adding unwanted calories and ensuring that people who suffer from sugar related illnesses are able to consume sugar without triggering their health. The use of these substances has even gone as far as preventing the risk of developing diabetes.
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