Sunday, June 28, 2009

Acesulfame-K (acesulfame potassium; Sunett)

This non-caloric, ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER tastes approximately 200 times sweeter than table sugar (SUCROSE) and lacks the bitter aftertaste of SACCHARIN. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization endorsed acesulfame-K as a satisfactory artificial sweetener in 1983. Acesulfame-K was approved in 1988 by the U.S. FDA as a sugar substitute to be used in packets or as tablets and now is approved for use in chewing gum and in powdered drink mixes. Unlike ASPARTAME, acesulfame-K can be used in cooking because it does not break down at oven temperatures. Blending Sunett with other low-calorie sweeteners creates a beverage with a more sugarlike taste than one sweetened with any single low-calorie sweetener.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has raised questions about Sunett’s safety, saying a few tests on rats indicated a possibility of cancer, although this was not proof that the sweetener could cause cancer. The Calorie Control Council counters that the safety of acesulfame potassium has been confirmed by more than 90 studies, and it is endorsed by a committee of the World Health Organization. Theoretically, it would not be expected to be absorbed by the body. Nonetheless, some studies suggest that large doses raise blood CHOLESTEROL levels in diabetic laboratory animals and increase the number of lung and mammary tumors in other animals.

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