Cutting calories from cake — but at what cost?

November 10, 2010

The article on how to slice calories from sweets was informative from the baker's point of view, but from a health point of view it was quite disappointing ("Slicing calories from cake," Nov. 10). For this article not to include the health implications of artificial sweeteners does a big disservice to those who might consume them. I realize that this article was placed in the "Taste" section and not the "Health" section, but information like this should be more sensitive to health implications that may exist, as we should not be just concerned about caloric intake.

Unfortunately much of the public is ignorant about the effects of these sweeteners because they are poorly regulated and not always well researched. In addition, information on the Internet is often erroneous and confusing about these products. Even the FDA is conflicted by these products and often rams them through the approval process before truly understanding their long term effects.

But Americans should be aware that many of these products have short term side effects too, such as nausea, short term memory loss, diarrhea, headaches and constipation. Some are thought to perhaps even mimic the effects of sugar so the body reacts similarly, thus creating a risk for diabetes. There is a good reason why many are banned in Europe. "Low sugar," "sugar free" and "artificially sweetened" is not necessarily better, or healthy.

A.J. Baca, Takoma Park

The writer is a professor of health sciences at Montgomery College.

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