Too Sweet or Not Too Sweet?

The Investigation of Artificial and Natural Sweeteners

By: Lauren Mallette

Purpose:

I am testing the effects of artificial sugar on the human body as opposed to natural sugars.

Problem:

Artificial Sweeteners may help people manage their weight, prevent tooth decay and also control blood glucose for those with diabetes. Artificial low-calorie sweeteners are known to stimulate a person’s appetite. Artificial sweeteners do not in any shape, way or form affect carbohydrate metabolism, long and short-term blood glucose level control, or insulin production. These characteristics of artificial sweeteners make them a great sugar for those with diabetes, but what about those who don’t have diabetes?

Research:

carbohydrate metabolism starts with the process of digestion occurring in the small intestine. This is where the monosaccharides (the monomer of carbohydrates) are absorbed into the bloodstream. Three different hormones including glucagon, insulin and epinephrine control the concentration of blood sugar. If there is too much glucose in the blood, insulin is produced by the pancreas. When insulin is secreted it turns into fat. To simplify this, by consuming artificial sweeteners your body produces insulin, turning into fat.

Hypothesis:

If a person consumes artificial sugars the body will react in an unnatural way as opposed to the consumption of natural sugars.

Materials:

1. One blood pressure/heart rate machine

2. A logbook for recording data

3. 50 cups of orange juice

4. 50 cups of lemonade

5. A pencil to write down the data

6. Participants

Procedure:

1. Have the participant sit down in a chair

2. Roll the participants sleeve up so that their bicep is not being covered by clothes

3. Rap the armband attached to the heart rate/ blood pressure machine and secure it an inch above the persons elbow pit

4. Make sure the wire feeding the band to the machine is aligned with the participants pinky

5. Also make sure the participant’s arm is palm up

6. Begin by pressing the start button on the machine

7. The band will tighten around the participant’s arm, slowly increasing pressure until it releases

8. Take off the band and record the data shown on the screen

9. Repeat steps 1-8 to insure accurate data

10. Have the participant drink a glass of orange juice

11. Wait 10 minutes and repeat steps 1-9

12. Have the participant wait 15 minutes

13. Then, the participant must drink a glass of artificial lemonade

14. Repeat steps 1-9

Average Heart Rate and Blood Pressure:

No Sugar: 74 120/71

Natural Sugar: 75 122/71

Artificial Sugar: 75 124/75

Analysis:

I observed that when the participant was given natural sugars, more strain on the heart was present. Also, once the patient was given the artificial sugars, the strain on their heart increased. For example my baseline blood pressure is 115/66 and my baseline heart rate is 101. After drinking the orange juice my heart rate increased to 102 and my blood pressure was 117/68. Then, I drank the artificial lemonade and my heart rate then continued to stay the same at 102, and my blood pressure increased to 122/73. Even with the very little difference between points of data I still saw an increase in heart strain. The reason being when a person consumes anything, your body must process it, break it down and use it for energy. Well, there is a strain occurring in the body when artificial sugars enter the body. The consumption of artificial sugars should strain your heart more than natural sugars while it’s being processed. This is because the sugar is not natural; your body is breaking down fake food. To go into further detail, carbohydrate metabolism starts with the process of digestion occurring in the small intestine. This is where the monosaccharides (the monomer of carbohydrates) are absorbed into the bloodstream. Three different hormones including glucagon, insulin and epinephrine control the concentration of blood sugar. If there is too much glucose in the blood, insulin is produced by the pancreas. When insulin is secreted it turns into fat. To simplify this, by consuming artificial sweeteners your body produces insulin, turning into fat.

Conclusion:

My hypothesis was correct and was supported by my data. The purpose I feel was achieved but not drastic measurements of data were collected. The overall collection of data differed differently.

Sources of Error/Improvement:

I feel that the data would be more relevant and concerning if I were to test consumption over a longer period of time. If someone were to spend their whole life consuming only artificial sugars they would be much more unhealthy than a person who consumed only natural sugars their whole life. Looking at the data now, you would get the impression that you can consume artificial sugars and your heart rate will only rise by one beat per second.

Bibliography:

Drewnoski, A. (1995). "Intense Sweeteners and Control of Appetite." Nutrition Review 53:1–7.

Frey, Ph.D., Rebecca J. "Artificial sweeteners." The Gale Encyclopedia of Diets: A Guide to Health and Nutrition. Ed. Jacqueline L. Longe. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2008. 75-80. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

Galeotti, Sandra. "Sugar Substitutes." Biotechnology: In Context. Ed. Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2012. 758-760. In Context Series. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

Good HouseKeeping Light Lemonade Crystal Light. Digital image. The Good HouseKeeping Institute, 2015. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.

Orange-King Of Fruits. Digital image. Healthy Food House. Admin, 15 Mar. 2013. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.

Shadix, Kyle. "Artificial Sweeteners." Nutrition and Well-Being A to Z. Ed. Delores C.S. James. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 46-48. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

“The ABC's of Sugar Substitutes.” Joslin Diabetes Center.http://www.joslin.org/info/the_abcs_of_sugar_substitutes.html (accessed September 29, 2014).