Health Problems Caused by Artificial Sweeteners and Excess Sugar

Even brown, unrefined sugar is composed of concentrated sucrose.
Even brown, unrefined sugar is composed of concentrated sucrose. | Source

The Problem With Sweetening Food

For many people, consuming sweetened food and beverages is an enjoyable part of daily life. The potential dangers of eating too much sugar are well known. Unfortunately, replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners may not be helpful. Recent studies have highlighted some potential health problems caused by sugar and certain artificial sweeteners. The studies suggest that many of us need to change the way in which we sweeten our food.

Researchers in Israel have found a possible explanation for why people who replace the sugar in their diet with certain artificial sweeteners often fail to lose weight and may even gain weight. Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science have discovered that some artificial sweeteners can change the composition of the bacterial population living in our gut, which may lead to glucose intolerance and high blood sugar.

Another research project by the World Health Organization and some British researchers suggests that the currently recommended limits for daily sugar consumption are far too generous. A high level of sugar in the diet increases the risk of many health problems, including tooth decay and obesity.

Honey is a natural sweetener and has health benefits, but it's rich in sugars.
Honey is a natural sweetener and has health benefits, but it's rich in sugars. | Source

Common Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are made synthetically and don't occur in nature. People like them because they have zero or virtually zero calories and don't cause tooth decay.

The sweeteners in the table below have been approved for use in the United States by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Although various people have made claims that the sweeteners are unsafe, the FDA disagrees.

Interestingly, the decisions of health agencies in other countries are sometimes different from those of the FDA. For example, until quite recently Health Canada didn't allow the use of saccharin as a sweetener. On the other hand, Health Canada does allow the use of cyclamate as a sweetener, while the FDA doesn't.

Since artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than sugar, they must be used in small quantities and mixed with another substance before use. The table below shows that neotame is 8000X sweeter than sugar. This isn't a typing mistake! Artificial sweeteners bought in stores are mixed with a starch derivative to dilute them. This adds calories to the sweetener, but the number is so small that the sweetener is still said to have zero calories.

Artificial Sweeteners Approved For Use in the United States

Name
Sweetness
Digestion and Absorption
Notes
Acesulfame-k
About 200X sweeter than sugar
Not digested or absorbed
Also known as acesulfame-potassium
Aspartame
200X sweeter than sugar
Digested into aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are absorbed
Mustn't be used by people with phenylketonuria
Saccharin
200X to 700X sweeter than sugar
Not digested or absorbed
Derived from petroleum
Sucralose
About 600X sweeter than sugar
Not digested; a small amount is absorbed and then excreted
Made by adding chlorine to sucrose
Neotame
8000X sweeter than sugar
Digested into aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are absorbed
Metabolized like aspartame but is structurally different
Safety concerns have been raised about each artificial sweetener (in addition to their possible effect on blood sugar). Anyone who is thinking of using them should investigate these concerns.

Artificial and Natural Sweeteners - Some Points to Consider

Mice and humans may develop glucose intolerance after eating certain artificial sweeteners.
Mice and humans may develop glucose intolerance after eating certain artificial sweeteners. | Source

Research in Mice and Humans

The Israeli investigation exploring the relationships between artificial sweeteners, gut bacteria and metabolic changes was especially interesting because it was first performed in mice and then in humans. A discovery made in mice is often true for humans, but not always. In this case, however, the researchers found similar results in both mice and people.

Like humans, mice have a large population of bacteria living in their large intestine, or gut. These bacteria play an important role in mouse and human lives and form a "microbiome". Many of the bacteria are helpful. A few are harmful. In a healthy individual the level of harmful bacteria is usually low, however.

Results of experiments performed with lab mice often - but not always - apply to humans, too.
Results of experiments performed with lab mice often - but not always - apply to humans, too. | Source

Artificial Sweeteners, Glucose Intolerance and Gut Bacteria in Mice

The mouse study at the Weizmann Institute of Science investigated the effects of saccharin, aspartame and sucralose on the blood glucose (or blood sugar) level.

Mice fed water containing the artificial sweeteners experienced a dramatically increased risk of developing glucose intolerance compared to mice given water alone or water containing table sugar. The level of artificial sweetener consumed by the mice was equivalent to the level considered to be safe for our bodies.

Glucose intolerance is the inability of the body to deal with large amounts of glucose correctly. The amount of glucose in the blood rises as a result, a condition known as hyperglycemia. The disorder can lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes.

In the second part of the experiment, the researchers divided the mice being fed artificial sweeteners into two groups. The scientists gave the mice in one group antibiotics to eliminate most of the bacteria living in their gut. Once this was done, the ingestion of artificial sweeteners no longer caused glucose intolerance in the mice. The researchers then obtained samples of gut bacteria from glucose intolerant mice. When this sample were inserted into the healthy mice, they became glucose intolerant.

Our large intestine is inhabited by a large population of bacteria.
Our large intestine is inhabited by a large population of bacteria. | Source

Artificial Sweeteners, Glucose Intolerance and Gut Bacteria in Humans

The Weizmann Institute researchers asked seven people who didn't use artificial sweeteners to use saccharin as a sweetener for one week. The researchers tested the volunteers' blood glucose level at regular intervals. At the end of the week, four of the volunteers had an increased blood sugar level and signs of glucose intolerance. The sample size in this experiment was very small, but the results suggest that the body's response to an artificial sweetener may not be the same in everyone.

The researchers also analyzed data from nearly 400 people enrolled in the Personalized Nutrition Project. This study is designed to examine the relationship between nutrition and gut bacteria. The scientists found that people who reported that they used artificial sweeteners had a different bacterial population in their gut compared to those who didn't use the sweeteners. They also found that the population of a bacterium known to cause inflammation in the gut was greatly increased in people who used artificial sweeteners.

The researchers say that their discoveries are "preliminary", but they've raised a lot of interest. The findings strongly suggest that there is a link between artificial sweeteners, gut bacteria and glucose intolerance. More research is needed to confirm this conclusion, however, and to discover how the link works.

Milk contains lactose, which is a disaccharide.
Milk contains lactose, which is a disaccharide. | Source

Some Definitions - Carbohydrates, Sugars and Sugar

Carbohydrates are chemicals that our bodies use for energy production. They are essential in our diet, but like any nutrient they can be harmful in excess. Carbohydrates that aren't required for energy production are stored as fat.

There are three main types of carbohydrates - monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides are made of one molecule, disaccharides consist of two monosaccharide molecules joined together and polysaccharides are made of many monosaccharide molecules joined together to form chains.

Monosaccharides and disaccharides are often known as "sugars". Three examples of monosaccharides are glucose, fructose and galactose. Some common disaccharides made from these monosaccharides are listed below.

  • Maltose is made of two glucose molecules joined together. Maltose is found in germinating grains.
  • Sucrose is made of a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule joined together. Sucrose is also known as sugar, table sugar or cane sugar. It's obtained from sugar cane and sugar beets.
  • Lactose is made of a glucose molecule and a galactose molecule joined together. Lactose is found in milk.

Although the terms "sugar" and "sugars" can be confusing, in general the word sugar refers specifically to sucrose and the word sugars refers to all monosaccharides and disaccharides.

Rock candy or rock sugar is made from sugar crystals.
Rock candy or rock sugar is made from sugar crystals. | Source

Is Sugar Toxic?

Our small intestine digests sucrose into glucose and fructose, which enter the bloodstream. Glucose is absorbed by the cells in our tissues and is used to produce energy; fructose is absorbed by the liver and metabolized.

Some people claim that sugar is toxic because of the fructose that it contains. They say that excess fructose ingestion causes fatty liver disease. Most scientists are skeptical of this claim, however. They say that a huge amount of fructose would need to be ingested in order to cause liver problems in humans.

The problem is not that sucrose is a harmful molecule - although it does feed oral bacteria if it lingers in the mouth - but that many people eat large amounts of concentrated sucrose on a daily basis. Some of this is deliberately added at home to sweeten food. However, most of the sugar that we ingest has already been added to the processed foods and drinks that we buy.

Sugary candy isn't a good addition to a diet.
Sugary candy isn't a good addition to a diet. | Source

Health Problems Caused by Excess Sugar Consumption

The detrimental effects of excess sugar consumption that have been best studied are tooth decay, weight gain and obesity.

There is a direct correlation between the amount of sugar consumed and the amount of tooth decay. Bacteria that live in the mouth feed on the sugar, producing acids that destroy tooth enamel. Starchy foods and foods and drinks that are high in other sugars can also cause cavities.

Evidence suggests that it's more harmful to eat cariogenic (cavity-causing) foods between meals than with meals. It's not a good idea to eat a lot of sugar at any time, though.

Weight gain and obesity increase the risk of other health problems, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Being overweight also increases the risk of several types of cancer and some types of cardiovascular problems. In addition, it can make osteoarthritis worse. Other factors besides sugar can contribute to an increase in weight, including eating excess calories and not exercising.

Research has shown that eating a large amount of sugar at one time temporarily depresses the activity of the immune system. This is not something that we want to do, since our immune system fights bacteria and viruses that enter the body.

Katie Couric's 10-Day Challenge - No Sugar

Reducing Sugar in the Diet

The latest advice from the World Health Organization, or WHO, is that added sugar should account for a maximum of 5% of our daily calories. This is lower than the previous recommendation of 10%. Some researchers say that the total should be reduced to 3% of total calories.

Five to six teaspoons of sugar would provide about 5% of the daily calorie intake in an average woman. Six to eight teaspoons would be needed to reach this limit in a man. If a person ingests some common processed foods or drinks they will very quickly reach or exceed the limit. For example, a can of a sweetened cola drink typically contains ten teaspoons of sugar.

Unfortunately, food and drink labels show sugar content in grams, not teaspoons (at least here in Canada), but converting grams to teaspoons is easy. 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon, so dividing the sugar content in grams by 4 will give the number of teaspoons of sugar. Another problem is that quantities on processed food labels include sugars naturally occurring in the food as well as added sugars, so some judgement is needed when assessing the labels.

Philip James from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recommends that some strict steps be taken to reduce our sugar consumption. He says that a sugar tax should be applied to foods that are high in sugar and that vending machines selling sugary foods and drinks should be removed from organizations such as schools and hospitals.

A Common Myth about Sugars

Blackstrap molasses contains some very useful nutrients, but it's rich in sugar.
Blackstrap molasses contains some very useful nutrients, but it's rich in sugar. | Source

Natural and Semi-Natural Sweeteners

There are many natural sweeteners that can replace refined table sugar as a sweetener. Most of these are high in monosaccharides or disaccharides, however.

  • Honey has a reputation as a healthy food, but it has disadvantages as well as benefits. Although some types of honey do contain useful chemicals such as antioxidants and antibacterial substances, honey is also rich in fructose and glucose.
  • Agave nectar and syrup are rich in fructose.
  • Brown rice syrup is high in maltose.
  • Maple syrup is rich in sucrose.
  • Corn syrup contains glucose and maltose. High-fructose corn syrup is a very highly processed form of corn syrup and is rich in fructose. This is definitely not a natural sweetener!
  • Blackstrap molasses is rich in sucrose but is also a significant source of some important minerals, including calcium and iron.
  • Unrefined sugar has a lovely taste but is almost completely sucrose. It contains minerals, but in the serving sizes that most people use the quantity of extra nutrients is insignificant.
  • Stevia is becoming a popular sweetener. It's extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. Unlike the sweeteners above, stevia's sweetening power doesn't depend on sugars. The main chemicals responsible for its sweetness are stevioside and rebaudioside. Stevia doesn't contribute to tooth decay.

A Dentist Talks about Sugar Alcohols

Polyols or Sugar Alcohols

Members of a family of chemicals known as polyols or sugar alcohols have a sweet taste and can be used as sweeteners. A sugar alcohol is classified as a carbohydrate but not as a sugar or an alcohol, despite its name.

Sugar alcohols occur naturally in nature. They contain fewer calories than sugar and don't cause tooth decay. They may affect blood sugar, but to a lesser extent than sucrose. Some popular examples of sugar alcohols are described below.

  • Xylitol has some important health benefits, including preventing tooth decay and helping certain ear infections in children. It's a deadly substance for dogs, however.
  • Erythritol doesn't cause problems in pets and is well tolerated by most people when used in small to moderate amounts. This is my favourite sweetener. I don't use xylitol because there are dogs in my family and I don't use maltitol or sorbitol due to the problems described below.
  • Maltitol and sorbitol are also members of the polyol family. Their use may cause gastric distress and diarrhea. Some people find that their digestive system gradually becomes more tolerant of these sweeteners, while others don't.

Whole fruit is a useful and nutritious sweetener.
Whole fruit is a useful and nutritious sweetener. | Source

Using Whole, Unprocessed Foods as Sweeteners

Sugars are sometimes classified as intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic sugars are located within the cells of a food. Intact fruits and vegetables contain intrinsic sugars, for example. Extrinsic sugars are those that are added to a food or drink - such as to sweetened cereals or beverages - and others that are not located inside the cells of the food and are "loose". Even unsweetened fruit juice contains extrinsic sugars, and so do smoothies made from chopped and blended fruits.

Intrinsic sugars are healthier for us than extrinsic ones. Even though intrinsic sugars are released as cells are broken down in the digestive tract, the fibre in the cells slows both their release and their absorption into the body. The body can handle a relatively slow release of a moderate amount of sugar much better than a flood of concentrated sugar.

Dried fruits contain intrinsic sugars. They are often considered to be healthy sweeteners because they are whole foods. They do contain fibre, but they also contain concentrated sugars due to the loss of water in the drying process. Since they are often small in size, it's easy to eat too many dried fruits.

Apart from dried fruits, most foods containing intrinsic sugars don't taste as sweet as those containing extrinsic sugars. When people wean themselves from extrinsic sweeteners, however, they sometimes find that the intrinsic sugars in whole foods and spices provide sufficient sweetness for their taste.

Ripe bananas are nutritious and delicious. It's a good idea to avoid eating too many, however, since they are high in natural sugars.
Ripe bananas are nutritious and delicious. It's a good idea to avoid eating too many, however, since they are high in natural sugars. | Source

Choosing a Sweetener

Choosing a sweetener is a personal choice. A person needs to consider both the advantages and the disadvantages of using a particular extrinsic sweetener. Care is needed with intrinsic sweeteners, too. Eating very large amounts of the sweetest fruits is probably not a good idea.

I'm content eating most of my food without added sweeteners. There are a couple of exceptions, though. I add erythritol to my oatmeal and coffee. I occasionally eat a food contain added sugars for a special occasion, but I have to be very careful that the "special occasions" don't happen too often!

The effort to reduce the use of sweeteners if necessary and to choose suitable ones is well worthwhile, since they can have a big effect on our health. Learning how to prepare tasty foods without using an added sweetener can help a person to both enjoy their food and to stay healthy.

References

Some Effects of Artificial Sweeteners in Mice and Humans

Artificial Sweeteners and Blood Sugar

World Health Organization Recommendations for Sugar Intake

Sugar Consumption Advice from British Researchers

© 2014 Linda Crampton

More by this Author


Comments 66 comments

cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 2 years ago from northeastern US

a summary of the article on sweeteners and gut flora said the only sweetener used was saccharin. one can't generalize those results to all sweeteners.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, cathylynn99. The news release from the Weizmann Institute, which I reference in the first blue box above, says that the "three most commonly used artificial sweeteners" were tested in mice, but doesn't name any of the sweeteners tested in either mice or humans. In the second article that I reference, the three sweeteners used in the mouse experiment are listed as saccharin, sucralose and aspartame. The small test on humans used saccharin. The large survey looked at artificial sweeteners of any type. You're right that it is important to be as specific as possible, so I'll add the reference to saccharin in the relevant section.


Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan

I have completely quit sugar and only use stevia in my coffee. I don't miss it at all.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Brie. Yes, coffee and cocoa are the only two beverages that I sweeten. I love them with a sweetener, hate them without! Thanks for the visit and the comment.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Great hub Alicia. I only use sugar in coffee. My wife uses honey occasionally and we have stevia sachets, but the main ingredient is wheat starch so not sure if they are as good as they are supposed to be.. that said each sachet only has one calorie. We will not touch saccharin, aspartame etc.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Jodah. Thank you very much for the comment. It's interesting to hear about the ways in which other people use sweeteners!


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I totally stopped that bad sugar habit in my tea and coffee. I did wonder about the artificial sweeteners that people added to their coffee and so on. Now I know why they still did not lose their weight or improve on their health issues. A very interesting and helpful hub.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great information as always....this stuff is nasty!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the visit, Devika. I appreciate your comment, as always. The experimental results are considered to be preliminary, but they are very interesting!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Bill. Yes, I try to stay clear of artificial sweeteners. There are so many other ways to sweeten foods and drinks.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

I love coffee and I do not add anything to it in the category of any type of sugars. However, when baking, that is a different story. Sugar is so harmful to our health. You have provided a comprehensive hub here, and it is such an important hub for all to read.

I just drink water now and feel so much better than when I was drinking a soda for lunch, even if it was diet, which are so bad too.

Up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Bless you always


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the vote and all the shares, Faith! Thank you for sharing your experience, too. I appreciate your visit very much. Blessings to you.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

You've really given us the facts here on the potential issues with too much sugar and artificial sweetners. I've wondered if the increase in type two diabetes and obesity has to do with the amount (and size) of sweetened colas that are ingested today. Also, whether it has to do with the substitution of high fructose corn syrup for sugar in many of these drinks. It's something to think about. Voted useful, awesome and interesting.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Peg. Yes, it's definitely something to think about! The increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes in many places is very worrying. Whatever the cause or causes, we need to identify them and attempt to fix the problem. Thank you for the comment and the votes.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 2 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

Well done. There is good information here. I struggle with my weight. I seldom drink sugary drinks, but I don't always make wise choices on the snacks I eat. Sugars are disguised in so many ways we don't always notice we are eating them until we have devoured way too much.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Diana. Yes, that's a major problem with a lot of the food that's sold in stores today - the sugar's disguised. I try to eat whole, unprocessed foods, but life sometimes gets so hectic that it's more convenient to pick up a prepared meal or processed food. It's sad when we have to analyze package labels very carefully if we want to choose something that's reasonably healthy. Thank you for the visit and the comment.


SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

SANJAY LAKHANPAL 2 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

Thanks for sharing the wonderful information.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment. I appreciate your visit.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I am with you on not using extra sweeteners or sugar on food. I use stevia or honey to sweeten my foods and they give everything a nice flavor. Great article!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and for sharing your experience, Dianna!


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Excellent hub-- your presentation is superb! We tend to use more Coconut Sugar around here lately. While it is not without its fruitose, I'm sure, it is apparently low glycemic. It has a pleasant flavour, I think. I continue to struggle with sugar, just as I did with cigarettes for many years-- inspite of knowing all the health hazards. Voted you up and shared!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the lovely comment, the vote and the share, techygran! I've never thought of using coconut sugar before. I'm enjoying learning about people's preferences and experiences with sweeteners as I read the comments!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

Great hub on artificial sweeteners. Informative and useful hub. Stevia is the best sweetener even though it has a slightly bitter taste. Voted up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and for sharing your opinion, Vellur. I appreciate your vote, too!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

So very important that people stop using these! Great article!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the visit and the comment, Audrey!


lisavanvorst profile image

lisavanvorst 2 years ago from New Jersey

A very interesting and educational hub. Also quite scary when you read it. I consume too much sugar and my husband is a Diabetic, this article got me thinking of cutting down. Thanks for sharing this information.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, Lisa. Yes, there are some scary aspects to the way in which many of us sweeten our food!


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 2 years ago from northeastern US

i used aspartame as part of my successful strategy to lose 30 pounds. i continue using it to help keep the weight off.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Congratulations on the weight loss, cathylynn99!


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

It drives me crazy that my husband likes his artificial sweetener. (I try to buy mostly organic food.) Maybe if he sees this article, he'll rethink his position. One can hope.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting, ologsinquito. I try to buy organic food when I can, too. Good luck with finding a sweetener that everyone in your family is happy with!


VioletteRose profile image

VioletteRose 2 years ago from Chicago

Very detailed and informative article on the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners. I try to limit my sugar intake and take natural substitutes like honey or maple syrup, but now I want to try stevia too. In India, we also use palm sugar and jaggery, which are rich in vitamins unlike the white sugar which doesn't have any nutrients in it. But as you told, the best solution is to reduce the use of any kind of sweeteners as much as possible. Thanks for sharing this great hub!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, VioletteRose! I hope you find some stevia. It's great that there are so many sweeteners for us to try.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 2 years ago from Hawaii

I was interested to learn recently how very much fructose 'healthy/natural' alternatives like agave syrup really have! It sounds weird, but I enjoy every time a new study comes out confirming that artificial sweeteners aren't great for you. I've been avoiding them for years because I know they make me feel awful, but people always tell me I'm just being weird/making it up. It's nice to see my opinions backed up by research!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Natasha. Yes, it is a bit worrying that some people think that using some of the natural sweeteners is so much better than using sucrose when these sweeteners are rich in a different kind of sugar. It's interesting to hear that artificial sweeteners make you feel bad. Thanks for the visit and the comment.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 2 years ago

This is a great hub. I have never liked artificial sweeteners. I believe, especially these products are harmful in ways the public is not fully away of. Aspartame, for example interferes with the neurotransmitters in our brains. It makes you wonder if some of these products may be causing neurological problems or Alzheimer's. Thank you for writing an informed and useful article that hopefully will educate people to make better sweetening choices.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and for sharing the information, toknowinfo. The safety of artificial sweeteners is definitely a concern. There are lots of things to consider!


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica

This is a great article. I was thinking or writing a similar article. I do not think I could have done such a magnificent job. I know it required a lot of research and time. Well done.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for such a kind comment, rasta1! The hub did take a lot of time to create, but I enjoyed the process. I appreciate your visit a great deal.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

hmm what an eye opener for me at least because I was a big advocate for artificial sweeteners.. a detailed hub ans well worth the read :)


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

This was a great hub, and I've shared, voted up+++.

I am so against aspartame, but I look at a lot of the products on the shelf and they've already put it in there -- even when it's not supposedly a "lite" or "fat free" version. It's so frustrating. Things you've never expect have it in there.

Regardless of what the conclusions say, I still think aspartame is associated with MS. When I was diagnosed, my father (a food scientist) couldn't even talk to me he was so angry. I recalled many years ago as a teen when he first saw me drinking a new NutraSweet enhanced soda. He told me stay away from that fake sugar. I didn't listen.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Frank. I appreciate your comment!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I'm so sorry that you developed MS, whatever the cause, Flourish. Your comment is very interesting. Thank you very much for sharing your experience and for the vote and share.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

Thanks for writing this very important article. I hope it gets a wide readership, so I will share it.

I don't eat sugar, but do put a few drops of honey on my oatmeal (not even a half teaspoonful). I use organic stevia with no additives in my coffee and tea because the blends made by Coke, PepsiCo and other big companies contain chemicals.

During a recent bout of bronchitis, I was looking at the list of ingredients on bottles of cough medicine and discovered that every one of the type I needed contained aspartame. I did without instead, adding lemon juice to my tea and taking extra vitamin C. We have to be careful and read labels to avoid these poison chemicals!

Voted Up++ and shared.

Jaye


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the share, Jaye! It's interesting that you mentioned the only two situations where I feel that I have to add a sweetener because I don't enjoy the food without it. I add a healthy sweetener to my oatmeal and to my coffee. I enjoy tea without an added sweetener, but not coffee. Your experience with cough medicines is interesting!


SusanDeppner profile image

SusanDeppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

Very comprehensive, excellent resource on a very important topic. Thanks for all your hard work putting it together. I hope many, many people read and heed!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Susan. Thank you very much for such a kind comment! I appreciate your visit.


starstream profile image

starstream 2 years ago from Northern California

I admit I still use coffee creamer.

I bought STEVIA and use it on my yogurt in place of sugar or berry flavored yogurt. I use plain yogurt and fresh berries too.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, starstream. Thanks for sharing your experience. I usually sweeten my yogurt with fruit, but it is nice to have a natural sweetener available.


markjayharris profile image

markjayharris 2 years ago from Smithfield, Utah

AliciaC - I really liked and appreciate your hub. Very informative and interesting as well. I used to use Sucralose, but have switched to Stevia. I really only use it to sweeten koolaid which makes getting more fluid in easier for me than just drinking water all the time.

I was particularly intrigued by "erythritol" which you claim to prefer. Is that something you can only get at a health food chain? Is it available in supermarkets, because I haven't seen it? But, then I haven't been looking for it either.

I do agree, you can't be fooled by the fake sweetener making you crave more food. I'm trying to keep my diet as full of protein as I can, but carbs are very hard to avoid.

Anyway, thanks again. I really enjoyed your article.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, markjayharris. Yes, I've only found pure erythritol in health food stores. It's quite expensive, but since I use it in small quantities a packet lasts for a long time. My local supermarkets sell a product called Truvia, which is a mixture of stevia and erythritol.

Thank you very much for the comment. I appreciate your visit!


markjayharris profile image

markjayharris 2 years ago from Smithfield, Utah

Thanks for your response. I've seen Truvia, but I didn't know what it was. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up. :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

You're welcome, markjayharris!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Friend foods and sweeteners play such a large part in thawing our bodies off kilter. I try to have as little sugar as possible, as it is contained in so many things, whether or not we want it.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Deb. Yes, added sugar is present in so many foods. It's sometimes hard to avoid! Thanks for the visit.


SherriDW profile image

SherriDW 2 years ago

Thanks for this insightful article. I really get confused about all of this, you helped to clear up a lot of my confusion.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, SherriDW. Thanks for the visit. I'm glad that the article was helpful for you!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Interesting and important. It is so surprising that the artificial sweeteners are still on the market with so many known side effects. That the amount of sugar the average person uses isn't lower by now is also surprising. Thanks for an informative hub that can be useful to everyone.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, RTalloni. The problem is that health agencies don't always consider artificial sweeteners to be dangerous, although it's interesting that agencies in different countries have different ideas. They all seem to agree that too much sugar is bad for us, though! Thank you very much for the comment.


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 2 years ago from Alberta Canada

Hi AliciaC... and we wonder why we as a society are unhealthy when we look at these numbers. I was a coke power drinker years ago until I learned of the true ingredients. It was hot summer day two years ago and I had a coke and vibrated the rest of the day...lol... I would hate to see what an energy drink would do to me now... I think I will pass on that experiment... smiles... well written as always...

Hugs from Alberta


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the interesting and kind comment, Rolly. I always appreciate your visits.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

This is an interesting topic. I´ve recently cut down my sugar intake and feel much better. I don´t have diabetes and am at my ideal weight, but as I get older I notice that I have to be more careful about what I eat. I´ve noticed that cutting down on sugar makes me feel better both mentally and physically. I use stevia when I´m craving something sweet, and am even careful not to eat too much fruit. I also limit honey intake. Thank you for this excellent information about the health problems caused by sugar and sweeteners.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and for sharing your experience, vespawoolf.


Hendrika profile image

Hendrika 22 months ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Thanks for the info. I can vouch for the artificial sweeteners and a gain in weight! I also feel better about my granddaughter using Xylitol as a sweetener.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment and for sharing the information, Hendrika!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working