As we all embark on a journey to a healthier and happier version of ourselves, the topic of artificial sweeteners is often misunderstood and misinformed. Acesulfame Potassium, commonly referred to as Ace-K, is an artificial sweetener, that is often overlooked. We’re going to discuss the science and research about acesulfame potassium in more detail and why you should probably avoid products with this artificial sweetener.
What Is Acesulfame Potassium
Discovered in 1967 by a German scientist Hoechst AG, Acesulfame Potassium, also known as Ace-K, or acesulfame K is a potassium salt. Structurally related to saccharin, it is often used in combination with other low or no calories sweeteners, due to its bitter aftertaste to provide a more sugar-like taste.
Like other artificial sweeteners, Ace-K is intensely sweet. Ace-K is around 250 times sweeter than sucrose, aka table sugar. Ace-K is added to many beverages, baked goods, packaged products and supplements, to enhance sweetness, yet is often overlooked by consumers.
Acesulfame Potassium has been recognized as safe to consume by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1988. However, there are other health effects that should be considered when consuming products that contain Ace-K.
The Dangers Of Acesulfame Potassium
Several studies have shown that acesulfame potassium can impose potential negative effects on human health, including gut dysbiosis, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Animal studies have shown Acesulfame potassium increased the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, decreased the expression of glucagon receptors, GLP-1R and GLP-2R, and induced small intestinal injury with an increase in intestinal permeability. The glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R) is a receptor protein found on beta cells of the pancreas and on neurons of the brain. It is involved in the control of blood sugar level by enhancing insulin secretion [R].
Hyperpermeability of the gut, is the direct mechanism associated with inflammatory bowel disease, such as chrons, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Thus, Ace-K can disrupt metabolic processes, and interfere with gut hyperpermeability, blood sugar, and body weight.
Additional animal studies have shown that there is a direct relation between Ace-K, obesity and chronic inflammation [R].
Neurometabolic effects have also been observed with the consumption of acesulfame potassium. A series of in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that acute exposure to ACK may decrease intracellular ATP production and reduce cellular viability and protective activity of neuronal cells affecting neurocognitive function [R].
A study published in the journal PLos One, investigated the long-term effects of Ace-K on neurometabolic functions in mice. The study found that extended Ace-K exposure (40 weeks) in normal C57BL/6J mice demonstrated impaired cognitive memory functions and learning localized in the hippocampus [R].
What Are Some Alternative Sweeteners
Ace-K is used in a variety of no-calorie sweeteners, such as Equal, Swiss one, Swiss Sweet, and NutraSweet. The benefit of using a no-calorie or low-calorie is in reducing overall caloric and sugar intake, for better overall health and weight loss. The acceptable daily intake of Ace-K is 15mg/kg per day.
Yet, there are a variety of alternative sweeteners you can use in place of Ace-K.
Other sweetener alternatives include Stevia, Monk Fruit, Sucralose (Splenda), Erythritol, or Xylitol. Or you can substitute with natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or just ordinary sugar, if you don’t mind the added calories.
Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K): Takeaway
Although Ace-K has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe for consumption, research suggests negative health affects associated with acesulfame potassium consumption. Ace-K has been shown to affect gut hyperpermeability, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Additional research and human clinical trials are needed to verify real world results.
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