Artificial sweeteners are everywhere, and if you’re like me, you avoid them at all costs. Things like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin can be found in a variety of processed diet foods; however, even some foods you wouldn’t expect contain these chemicals. Whether you’re knowingly poisoning yourself with these toxins or not, you must know that their presence in your diet, regardless of the amount, have no purpose for your body. Not eliminating them is sometimes the only obstacle many people have toward achieving an ideal state of health.
The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners
Avoiding artificial sweeteners should already be a no-brainer for you, especially if you are a consistent reader of this blog. Here are the top three sweeteners you should look out for:
1. Why Saccharin Is Not Your Friend
Saccharin was the first artificial sweetener and is still a popular sugar substitute used by many people across the world. Fortunately, it’s not as popular in diet foods as it used to be. You will typically find saccharin in pink packets of artificial sweetener, like Sweet‘N Low. Saccharin can encourage potential allergic reactions in some people, including headaches, breathing difficulties, skin eruptions, and diarrhea.  There are also studies indicating saccharin in cancer development; although, these studies are dated and do not appear in any relevant, modern literature.
2. The Ever-Popular Sucralose
Sucralose, or commonly known by its trade name “Splenda,” is another commonly-used artificial sweetener. This sweetener, along with aspartame, is often used in diet sodas and other weight loss and diabetic-friendly foods. While it is true that Sucralose starts off with natural sugar as the starting material, it is chlorinated and goes through a very unnatural process during production. Supposedly, Sucralose is not digested and travels through the GI tract unchanged; however, a recent analysis shows the exact opposite.  There is some research also showing that Sucralose affects glucose control in diabetics and prediabetics, something that nonnutritive sweeteners are designed to avoid.  Considering that Sucralose was discovered while testing for a new insecticide (at least that’s what’s been widely reported), why would we want to ingest this at any amount?
3. How Aspartame Destroys Brain Cells
Aspartate and glutamate are found in aspartame and behave as neurotransmitters in the brain. Having an excess of these neurotransmitters kills certain neurons by allowing the inundation of calcium. This influx provokes excessive amounts of free radicals which kill the cells.  The sweetener also contains methanol, which is subsequently metabolized into formaldehyde. There’s a host of other issues with aspartame, and I firmly believe this to be one of the worst artificial sweeteners on the market.
Alternative Natural Sweeteners
I always suggest that everyone, including healthy individuals, remove added sugars from their diet, including added sweeteners. While you can use stevia and other caloric natural sweeteners in moderation, to eliminate our addiction to sweet tastes and promote balance in our diet we must reduce them on all levels. Here are some of the natural sweeteners you should use, but only in moderation:
- Coconut Nectar
- Lo Han Extract
- Organic Raw Honey
- Organic Blackstrap Molasses
- Sugar Alcohols (xylitol, glycerol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, and erythritol)
What sweeteners do you use? Have you had any personal health experiences with artificial sweeteners? Please share with us in the comments!
- Medicine Net. Saccharin: What are the cons? Medicine Net.
- Schiffman SS, Rother KI. Sucralose, a synthetic organochlorine sweetener: overview of biological issues. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2013;16(7):399-451. doi: 10.1080/10937404.2013.842523.
- Pepino MY, Tiemann CD, Patterson BW, Wice BM, Klein S. Sucralose affects glycemic and hormonal responses to an oral glucose load. Diabetes Care. 2013 Sep;36(9):2530-5. doi: 10.2337/dc12-2221.
- Iyyaswamy A, Rathinasamy S. Effect of chronic exposure to aspartame on oxidative stress in the brain of albino rats. J Biosci. 2012 Sep;37(4):679-88.