Artificial Sweeteners



Today my blog is about Artificial Sweeteners (Splenda, Equal, Sweet n’ Low, etc)

I often see models using a lot of these in coffee, and drinking a lot of coke zero to fill themselves up without the calories..BEWARE!!


There is a large mix of information on the good and the bad of the sugar substitutes available on the internet, which makes things really confusing.

The good thing about sweeteners is that they have 0 calories, contain no real sugar (which is useful for diabetics), and they don’t contribute to tooth decay.  But is it too good to be true?

What is Sugar?



It’s a carbohydrate! It is a fast way for your body to get energy!

Monosaccharides (basic, broken down forms of sugar):
-Glucose (present in almost everything we eat, sustains our necessary body functions)
-Fructose (naturally in fruit, root vegetables, and honey)
-Galactose (rarely occurs in foods, it bind with glucose to form lactose)

-Lactose (milk/dairy products)= glucose+galactose
-Sucrose (granulated sugar, or table sugar)= glucose+fructose
-Maltose =glucose+glucose


Sugar Metabolism
After you eat sugar, your small intestine will digest it, then your blood stream will absorb it. 3 hormones  control your blood sugar levels: insulin, glucagon, and epinephrine. When you have too much sugar in your blood stream, insulin is released and the sugar will be transferred into your cells.

glucose - insulin



We need glucose to live, but the problem today is that we consume way too much.
Excess sugar can cause cavities, candida, depression, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. Artificial sugar also can cause many health problems.

Artificial sweeteners are not food at all, they are chemicals!

Sweetener: Aspartame
Brand Names: Equal, NutraSweet
Facts: -FDA receives more complaints on aspartame than any other food

-Is converted by the body to formaldehyde and then formic acid (toxic)
-Significantly affects mood and behaviour
-Can increase appetite
-Has been linked to seizures, migraines, hives, Multiple Sclerosis and nerve dysfunction
-No nutritional value
-200 times sweeter than sucrose
– loses sweetness when heated

Sweetener: Saccharin
Brand Names: Sweet ‘N Low
Facts: -Known cancer causing agent in rats after 2 generations of use

-300 times sweeter than sucrose
-Is not recommended in pregnancy
-Cannot be consumed by those with allergies to sulfa drugs
-Associated with headaches, diarrhea, skin rashes and breathing difficulties
-No nutritional value
Sweetener: Sucralose
Brand Names: Splenda
Facts: -600 times sweeter than sucrose
–does not lose sweetness when heated
-No nutritional value
-Is not at all related to sugar.  It is a chlorine containing molecule that was initially developed as an insecticide
-Associated with bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, rash, hives redness, itching, swelling, wheezing, cough, runny nose, chest pains, palpitations, anxiety, anger, moods swings, depression, and itchy eyes
-Associated with reduced number of beneficial gut bacteria in rats
-Interferes with absorption of prescription medication


Artificial sweetener in diet coke: aspartame, coke zero: aspartame & acesulfame potassium

The blog Fooducate summarized a great article from Harvard professor David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD,  ”Artificially Sweetened Beverages Cause for Concern“.

1. Our body gets confused by artificial sweeteners – the dissociation between sweet taste and calorie intake may put the regulatory system that controls hunger and body weight out of sync, thus sabotaging weight loss plans. A study on rodents showed that those fed saccharin actually gained weight compared to rodents fed sucrose.

2. We’re “Infantilizing” our taste sense – Artificial sweeteners are a hundredfold sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). By getting ourselves used to so much sweet, normal sweet flavors, of fruit for example, become bland and so do other healthful foods such as grains and vegetables, thus reducing our willingness to consume them and ultimately the quality of our diet.
3. Long term effects unclear – while there have been many studies on artificial sweeteners and disease such cancer, very few focused on long term weight gain. A seven year study, (San Antonio Heart Study), showed a relationship between diet drink consumption and obesity, but the causation is not clear. Consumption of artificial sweeteners is growing yearly.
Sugar Time-line
Other options/ healthier alternatives to sugar:
  • Honey: contains many vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, B6, iron, and magnesium. It is beneficial to the stomach and supports immunity. It also contains anti-oxidative properties.
  • Maple Syrup: contains zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, an antioxidants. Has been associated with the inhibition of the two sugar-metabolizing enzymes linked to diabetes type 2. Look for B grade maple syrup!
  • Stevia: A low calorie sweetener that comes naturally from a plant.
  • Agave: A low-glycemic index carb derived from the blue agave cactus.


Stevia Plant
What I think:

-Moderation is key with artificial sweeteners. I think a little bit is ok. I use Stevia in my morning coffee and whenever possible. You can buy it at most health food shops.

Try to limit your overall sugar intake, with only a bit coming from artificial sugars!

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