Investigation of Consumers Awareness knowledge and Consumption of Artificial Sweeteners
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Sweeteners have become increasingly popular as a replacement for sugar in food products. The food industry is using these artificial additives to lower the energy in many foods including drinks, sweets and some reduced fat items such as yoghurt. Although these artificial sweeteners (AS) are regulated and tested to ensure they are safe to consume, they can be viewed as harmful and unhealthy by the general public. The media has a considerable influence on the general public, particularly when it involves the topics of weight loss, disease and health. It has been proposed that many of these reports are not evidence-based and may confuse or ill advise the public. To investigate the knowledge and perceptions of AS in the general public, a questionnaire was distributed to a group of participants aged over 18 years. In total 40 questionnaires were analysed to investigate the public’s awareness, knowledge and consumption of AS. Results revealed evident confusion in the participants regarding AS knowledge and awareness. For example, the well-established health benefits, such as preventing dental caries, is not well known; while the poorly researched negative claims, such as cancer causing properties, seem a prime concern for the public. Subsequently the inconsistencies in knowledge and awareness were reflected in consumption. In conclusion there needs to be more clear and direct information published on AS, stating the facts from reputable peer reviewed research papers to diminish the publics’ confusion on AS consumption and empower their decisions using education and clear public health messages .
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