Marika Wamback, BSc. R.D.
Registered Dietitian l
Artificial Sweeteners: Can They be Consumed With CKD?
Artificial Sweeteners: The Evidence
Artificial sweeteners have been a very controversial hot topic over the years. There remains a lot of skepticism over whether these products contribute to many health issues like Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, and inflammation.
What does the evidence say? Are they safe? How much is safe? Do they really cause the problems that the alarmists say?
The evidence shows that artificial sweeteners are safe to use. They are in some food items in very small amounts, they are not toxic when used appropriately, and do not cause severe health problems. They have been studied extensively and are approved for use by Health Canada and the FDA.
The following websites contain the evidence and regulations for their use:
Types of Artificial Sweeteners and How to Use Them
Equal, Nutrasweet, Truvia (Aspartame): The safe limit is 40mg/kg/day of body weight. This translates into 2800mg (2.8 grams) = 1/2 teaspoon for a 70 kg person . A can of diet pop contains about 180mg of Aspartame, meaning you’d have to drink about 18 cans daily or consume 75 packets to exceed the safety limits. Aspartame cannot be used by individuals with a metabolic condition called phenylketonuria.
Splenda (Sucralose): 5mg/kg/day of body weight is the safe limit. Each packet contains 12mg of Splenda. The upper limit for consumption is 23 packets per day. One can of diet pop contains about 40mg.
Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K): The safe limit is 15mg/kg/day. To exceed the safe limit, you’d have to consume 23 packets per day. One can of diet pop contains about 40mg of Ace-K. This artificial sweetener contains potassium. If you have CKD and need to limit your potassium, this may not be suitable for you.
Sweet ‘n’ Low, Sugar Twin (Cyclamate): 11mg/kg/day is the safe limit for Cyclamate. One packet contains about 260mg.
Stevia: Stevia’s safe upper limit is 4mg/kg/d of body weight.
These artificial sweeteners can all be safely consumed with CKD.
Artificial Sweeteners and CKD Management
If you have CKD, artificial sweeteners may be in many foods that you may need to limit in your diet. For example, a dark colored diet pop usually contains phosphorus additives, which for most people with CKD, are restricted in the diet. As always, for those of you with CKD, label reading and the type of product that these items are used in is of utmost importance for optimal management. If you’re diabetic, controlling your blood sugars is vital to protect your kidneys and prevent further kidney disease. Artificial sweeteners can help you do this safely. Check with your renal dietitian about how you can safely consume artificial sweeteners.
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