Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Artificial Sweeteners: Too Good To Be True

Even without seeing the results of these polls, I can safely say at one point or another throughout our lives, we've all dieted and happily chugged an artificial sweetener in our coffee, iced tea, diet soda, or lemonade. Unfortunately, while we were imagining the svelte figure we were sure to obtain but cutting all the sugar and calories, our bodies were in chaos. A chaos caused by:

  1. Nutrasweet/Equal -- aspartame

  2. Sweet N' Low -- saccharin

  3. Splenda -- sucralose

Since their introduction to the market after approval by the FDA, these artificial sweeteners have wreaked havoc on bodies world-wide. Side effects as simple as headaches and severe as cancer have been reported.


Perhaps the worst of the worst is aspartame. Although I'm not certain when this news clip was made (the computers featured suggests it was probably awhile ago), it's still very much relevant today.

Millions of people consume aspartame's hard not to. Aspartame is contained in 6-7,000 items on the market today.

It was approved by the FDA in 1981, despite it causing multiple brain tumors in laboratory rats. While a variety of symptoms have been reported, most fall into the neurological and behavioral category consisting mostly of headaches, mood alterations, and hallucinations. The remaining third is mostly gastrointestinal symptoms.

According to Dr. Mercola, some side effects of aspartame include:

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Memory and hearing loss

  • Hormonal problems

  • Epilepsy

  • Brain lesions

  • Neuroendocrine disorders

  • Vision problems

  • Headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness

  • Nausea and gastrointestinal disturbances

  • Weakness, numbness and shooting pains in your extremities

  • Behavioral disturbances

  • Memory lapses

And, of course, there's also cancer.

According to Dr. Mercola, "one well-controlled, peer-reviewed, SEVEN-year study even found that as little as 20 mg per day can cause cancer in humans. One 12-ounce diet soda contains about 180 mg of aspartame, so you do the math on that risk!"

Aspartame can be found in the following items, so be sure to read labels to check if it's aspartame-free.

  • Diet sodas, juice drinks, and flavored waters

  • Chewing gum

  • Diet and diabetic foods

  • Breakfast cereals, such as Fiber One

  • Fiber supplements, such as orange flavored Metamucil

  • Jams

  • Sweets

  • Certain vitamins (including those for childrens) as well as prescription and over the-counter drugs such as Alka Seltzer Plus, and some Tylenol medications


Although sometimes considered the best-of-the-worst in terms of safety, saccharin has been linked to bladder cancer in rats.

According to Lisa Shea of, "The FDA began researching saccharin in the 70s, to ensure it really WAS safe. A series of studies were done and saccharin was found to cause bladder cancers. Some felt it was impurities in the saccharin, and not the saccharin itself, that caused the trouble, so nothing was done. However, in 1977, Canadians proved conclusively that it WAS the saccharin itself causing the cancer.

As a result, the FDA required that any saccharin products carry a warning label about cancer.

The actual warning reads:

"Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals."

In fact, drinking just two cans of diet soda a day increases a person's risk for bladder cancer (and a myriad of other problems).

Saccharin has also been shown to be very addictive as opiates.

Furthermore, Shea says, "Pregnant mothers are especially cautioned to stay away from saccharin, because even small usage of saccharin could overwhelm the developing fetus' defenses and cause damage to the developing bladder area."


Per Dr. Mercola:

"It’s very important to realize that Splenda (sucralose) is actually NOT sugar, despite its marketing slogan “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar”. Rather it’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, and with detrimental health effects to match."

That's right, folks. Splenda (i.e. sucralose) is loaded with chlorine.

Various news reports have also centered around artificial sweeteners’ ability to impair your appetite regulation and leading to weight gain.

Other side effects of Splenda include:

  • Stimulate your appetite
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain
  • Gastrointestinal problems (including decreasing beneficial bacteria in your gut by 50%)
  • Migraines
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Allergic reactions
  • Blood sugar increases
  • Weight gain

As with the other artificial sweeteners, you might be consuming sucralose without realizing you're doing so. This happened to us, in fact. I ordered some liquid zinc from a very reputable company and discovered too late it contained oodles of sucralose. So once again...READ YOUR LABELS! I can't stress how important it is to monitor what you're ingesting.

And remember, Splenda has NEVER been proven safe for human consumption!

Because the length of this entry is out of control, I will do another entry in the next few days about healthier, safe sweetener alternatives.

In the meantime, avoid this artificial junk and you might be surprised how much better you start feeling.

Stay Healthy,