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I choose dates and raisins

how bad are artificial sweeteners

I think at some point we have all fallen victim to the artificial sweetener. I know I have. I was a big diet soda drinker and queen of the green tea and aspartame. I thought this was a fantastic way to loose weight and stay healthy. I have come to realize artificial sweetener and healthy should never be used in the same sentence.

You will find artificial sweeteners in anything from breakfast cereals to soft drinks and chewing gum to diet foods. I was appalled when I found out that “Flintstones” children's vitamins contained aspartame. Seriously? I personally think that is very disgusting. Why put an artificial sweetener in vitamins? I thought they were suppose to help our children become healthy adults? I believe that ingesting aspartame is not giving children the best start possible.

My quest to live a healthy lifestyle began when we decided we wanted to have kids. We revamped our diet, our personal care products, our cleaning products, etc. We didn't want “me” consuming unhealthy foods or applying potentially harmful products while pregnant and after let our baby do the same.

Many people said “you can eat what you want”- isn't that great? To me that did not make any sense. Why would I eat artificial sweeteners, junk, and such knowing that my little baby inside eats it all too. No thanks. That is not for me.

So, with all that said, here is what I found about artificial sweeteners (Aspartame and Sucralose) and why I decided to avoid them:

  • The use of artificial sweeteners in your diet is controversial. They are, however, all approved by the FDA.
  • Artificial sweeteners may lead to an increased appetite and food consumption in some people. Since artificial sweeteners are often significantly sweeter than sugar, the risk for increased appetite and food intake runs even higher when large amounts of the sweeteners are ingested.
  • Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than regular white sugar. It is also known as the following: NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, sugar-twin, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug.
  • The FDA approved Aspartame in 1981 for use in tabletop sweeteners, chewing gum, cold breakfast cereals, gelatins, and puddings. In 1983, it was later approved for use in carbonated beverages. In 1996, the FDA approved its use as a “general purpose sweetener,” and it can now be found in more than 6,000 foods.
  • Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA.
  • Aspartame is made up of 40% aspartic acid, 50%phenylalanine and 10% methanol (aka wood alcohol/poison). Read more here I can’t possibly try to explain on this scientific stuff properly.
  • Aspartame has been linked with MS, lupus, fibromyalgia and other central nervous disorders. The possible side effects of aspartame use include the following: headaches, migraines, panic attacks, dizziness, irritability, nausea, intestinal discomfort, skin rash, and nervousness. Some researchers have linked aspartame with depression and manic episodes. It may also contribute to male infertility.
  • Sucralose is know as Splenda, it is 600 times sweeter than white sugar and it is a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. Gross!
  • Surcralose is comprised of a sugar molecule, but three of the hydroxyl molecules have been replaced with chlorine atoms. Doesn't sound too appetizing.
  • According to the book Sweet Deception, Sucralose is made when sugar is treated with trityl chloride, acetic anhydride, hydrogen chlorine, thionyl chloride, and methanol in the presence of dimethylformamide, 4-methylmorpholine, toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone, acetic acid, benzyltriethlyammonium chloride, and sodium methoxide, making it unlike anything found in nature.
  • If you read on the Splenda website it states: Sucralose (or SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener), the high intensity sweetener used in all SPLENDA® Products is not natural. It is a no calorie sweetener that is made from a process that starts with sugar. Although sucralose has a structure like sugar’s and a sugar-like taste, it is not natural. The advertising and packaging for SPLENDA® Products do not represent the product as “natural.”
  • Is it safe? We can’t be certain. There are no long-term studies of the side effects of Splenda in humans. The manufacturer’s own short-term studies showed that very high doses of Sucralose (far beyond what would be expected in an ordinary diet) caused shrunken thymus glands, enlarged livers, and kidney disorders in rodents. A more recent study also shows that Splenda significantly decreases beneficial gut flora. But in this case, the FDA decided that because these studies weren’t based on human test animals, they were not conclusive.
  • There is has been no independent studies of Sucralose on humans lasting more than six months in the last 11 years that it has been on the market.None of the trials that were done were very large — the largest was 128 people studied for three months. This is frightening to me- what happens when you use Sucralose for a year, or two, or longer?
  • Splenda consists of more than just Sucralose—it’s made with dextrose, and maltodextrin, neither of which were included in the original studies and trials of Sucralose.

Of course if you use either of these artificial sweeteners on the very rare occasion, from what I have read, you are not going to drop dead. The problem is artificial sweeteners are so widely used, and you are not always aware you are consuming them if you do not read labels carefully.

The reason for concern is when people consume the artificial sweeteners on a regular basis. There is no long term research done to know how safe they are. I would personally stick to natural sweeteners to be safe: maple syrup, agave, honey, fresh juices, dates and raisins.

I think what it comes down to is: Am I willing to take the chance? Do I feel like being Splenda’s guinea pig? With much of the research pointing in the direction that artificial sweeteners are dangerous, I think I will skip the chemical sweet stuff and opt for lemon in my green tea.

Do you consume artificial sweeteners? Do you avoid them? What are your thoughts?

Sources and recommended reading: Dr.MercolaCare2-Artifical PreservativesCare2-13 Scarey Food Addictives, Care2-Why Avoid AspartameWomen to WomenMedicineNetSplenda,and Going Home to Roost.

how bad are artificial sweeteners

Reader Interactions


  1. Kallay says

    Wow, I didn’t know most of these facts. Scary! I used to eat Splenda all the time, but I’ve switched to Truvia. I feel like I should read a little more into that now, too. Have you heard anything bad about Truvia or the Stevia plant?

    Man! Can a girl have some healthy sweet tea around here!? Haha!

    In all seriousness, though. This is why I’m making the girls’ food. I’m terrified of what might be in jarred food. They’ve had it a couple of times when we were in a bind, and they hated it. So, there’s another reason, but I’m hoping to avoid sugar as long as possible.

    • Good Girl Gone Green says

      I read somewhere, that Stevia or truvia might not be that great either. I have not really researched it or anything. Probably if you had a stevia plant and used it in it natural state it would be great. What I am guessing is what manufacturers do to the stevia to make it a liquid or powder that is problematic. Again, this is just my opinion. I am actually going to look into it. 🙂

  2. simply stephen says

    Very informative article. Fascinating about Sucralose…ugh. Over the years my body became sensitive to anything with chemicals in it. That includes products that are ingested or for household use.

    Sticking with natural is great. Stevia is fantastic but I used the dry powder, since the liquid form seems to have a little bit of an after taste. Honey, Maple syrup and fruit juices as natural sweeteners are far better than the chemical kinds or the dreaded “white” sugar.

    Over time you adjust. Once you eliminate the items with chemicals and sugar your cravings subside fairly quickly if you replace it with things like berries or raisins. If you go back to something processed then you taste it…and it doesn’t taste great.

    There are reasons Jamie Oliver has his Food Revolution for the kids and adults too. Healthy eating needs to become a part of our lives again. Thanks for you contribution and education to raise the level of awareness.

  3. Lori Popkewitz Alper says

    Thanks for all the great information! We don’t have anything in our home with artificial sweeteners-and haven’t for many years. It always amazes me how many products contain them. They are clearly not a healthy choice, Having said that, I do like that you mentioned having them once in a while won’t kill you. I’m sure my kids have them when they are at a friends house or anywhere outside of my control. Having the information and then making a good food choice is what it’s all about. Thanks again!

  4. The Organic Blonde says

    Reference putting aspartame in vitamins, did you know there is a link (though not at all a well-publicized one) between autism and aspartame? This is a neurotoxin. It osmotically breaks the barrier of the brain and basically poisons the body slowly. Pretty awful stuff!

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