What is Acesulfame K?
Acesulfame K is a zero-calorie artificial sweetening product used as a substitute in many food products nowadays. They are generally used in dairy products, beverages, and non-carbonated drinks.
Presence of acesulfame K in low-calorie food and drinks
Ace K or Acesulfame K (1) is approximately 200 times sweeter in comparison to natural sugar. They are used widely in many food products because of their calorie count. Acesulfame K is a non-nutritive sweetener used in a variety of products such as:
Sugar-free jellies and Flavored Jams
Baked Items including cakes and muffins
History of the compound acesulfame K
Acesulfame K is a non-nutritive sweetening agent with zero calories used in a variety of day-to-day products since the 1980s. This sweetener was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1983 (2).
It is generally a colorless and odorless fine powdered texture that is 200 times sweeter than the 3% aqueous cane sugar. Chemically, it is known as potassium 6-methyl-2,2-oxo-2H-1,2λ6,3-oxathiazin-4-olate.
It does not contain an aftertaste and is stable at room temperature.
1. Effect on metabolism
Acesulfame K (ACE-K) is a non-nutritive sweetener used in food and beverages since the 1980s. It does not provide any nutrients to the body and can have a significant effect on metabolism because of its ability to stimulate taste receptors.
The stimulative ability triggers certain hormones like insulin that directly interfere with the metabolic processes like storage of fats and glucose absorption. They also tend to increase appetite by stimulating hunger signals and thus indirect calorie consumption over time. Hence, causes weight gain or obesity (3).
2. Insulin Response and Glucose Metabolism
Acesulfame K can increase the rate of absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and thus potential risk of Type II diabetes. This sweetener is also responsible for interfering with the good microbes present in our gut and hence hampering the digestive processes (4).
3. Impact on Appetite
Acesulfame K contains zero calories and no nutritive value but its consumption indirectly stimulates hunger signals to the brain. Hence, it results in overeating and overconsumption of a lot of calories. The consumption of Acesulfame K is directly proportional to the increment of appetite (5).
Impact on weight regulation
It is a zero-calorie food so it does not contribute anything to the body weight. But simultaneously it does not provide any nutrition and acts only as an artificial sweetener. So, its usage needs to be limited because it does not benefit the body but only benefits the tongue (6).
The first scientific studies were conducted in the 1970s and it has been concluded that this artificial sweetener can be carcinogenic. However, there is no proper evidence for this statement. When experimented on the rodents, it was seen that high doses of this sweetener caused tumors (7).
Hence, more research needs to be done on this topic for better conclusions.
Various controversies are related to this topic as they are scientifically proven as carcinogenic but none has been proven lately. So, the controversy prevails regarding its carcinogenicity and health problems. The CSPI has encouraged the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to do detailed research before coming to a conclusion.
The presence of carcinogenic elements is not yet approved by the concerned bodies. The use of Ace-K as an artificial sweetener or food additive raises queries about its safety. Natural alternatives such as sugar or honey can be a safer option to consider (8).
Effect on the digestive system
Very few cases have been observed regarding its effect on the digestive system. In some people with a sensitive appetite, this food additive can cause gastrointestinal discomforts like nausea and vomiting. Hence its use needs to be limited (9).
Laxatives are generally bowel-cleaning medications given to the patient with constipation issues. Ace-K acts as an osmotic laxative and softens stool movement (10).
Impact on the nervous system
Reports suggest that long-term consumption of this sweetener can cause neurological disorders and anxiety issues. Thus, its consumption needs to be limited (11).
Hyperpermeability towards Ace-K in the intestine can cause allergic reactions or food poisoning factors (12).
Impact on gut microbes
Studies suggest that it can intervene with beneficial gut bacteria, leading to dysbacteriosis and digestion issues. Dysbacteriosis is a condition when our gut bacteria are in balanced mode, which helps in effective digestion. Whereas its disbalance can lead to conditions like IBD (Irritable bowel syndrome) (13).
Interaction with medications
It is observed that this artificial sweetener can interfere with certain medications such as an increase in blood sugar levels. So, it is necessary to consult a doctor before consuming artificial sweeteners.
Is acesulfame as bad as aspartame?
Though both of them are used as artificial sweeteners, there are still differences. Acesulfame K has a lesser absorption rate capacity than Aspartame and possesses fewer side effects.
What does acesulfame-K do to you?
Basically, It is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener to me and can be used guilt-free in many seasonings and dishes. But it needs to be consumed moderately.
Is acesulfame sweetener safe to eat?
As per researchers, Yes! This is because there are no potential and verified risks so far but yes it should be consumed in the most limited way possible.
Is acesulfame-K the same as aspartame?
They both are artificial sweeteners but vary in their properties. Acesulfame-K is less sweet and has fewer side effects as compared to Aspartame. The absorption rate in the body is slower for Ace-K than for Aspartame.
- Various side-effects are linked with the usage of Acesulfame-K that need to be focussed on. It is generally a colorless and odorless fine powdered texture
- Acesulfame K is a calorie non-nutritive sweetening agent. Used in a variety of day-to-day products since the 1980s.
- This sweetener was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1983.
- Ace K or Acesulfame K is approximately 200 times sweeter in comparison to natural sugar. It also tends to increase appetite by stimulating hunger signals and thus indirect calorie consumption over time. Hence, causes weight gain or obesity.
- They are used widely in many food products because of their calorie count. This sweetener is also responsible for interfering with the good microbes present in our gut and hence hampering the digestive processes.