The Unbiased Truth about Artificial Sweeteners | Chris Kresser

The Unbiased Truth about Artificial Sweeteners

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These three wooden scoops show different forms of sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners come in many forms, but are they good for you? Find out. iStock/MamaMiaPL

Note: This article was originally published in 2014 and was updated in 2018 to include the latest research. Several years ago, the evidence was limited, and I was hesitant to make a firm conclusion on the dangers of artificial sweeteners. However, I now believe there is sufficient evidence to suggest that artificial sweeteners should not be included in a healthy diet.

Artificial sweeteners continue to be a controversial public health issue, and the research keeps coming. On one hand, many people are adamantly opposed to the use of sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), saccharin, and advantame because of the purported link with increased risk for cancer and other diseases. But on the other hand, they’re becoming increasingly popular as people try to reduce calorie consumption and lose weight.

There’s too much research out there to cover comprehensively in a blog article, but I’ll try to include the basics: Will artificial sweeteners give you cancer or other diseases? Do they actually help with weight loss? And ultimately, should you be eating them?

To learn all about sweeteners—natural and artificial—download this free eBook today.

The research on artificial sweeteners has always been lacking—until now. So, are artificial sweeteners healthy? Find out in this article, updated in 2018 with the latest information. #nutrition #wellness #chriskresser

Will Artificial Sweeteners Give You Cancer?

Artificial sweeteners were first tied to cancer risk in the 1970s after a study showed that a combination of saccharin and cyclamate (another early artificial sweetener) caused bladder cancer in lab rats. The mechanism behind these effects was later found to be specific to rats and not generalizable to other animals or humans (in these rats, comparable doses of vitamin C can also cause bladder cancer), and further studies demonstrated that neither sweetener is carcinogenic. (12)

However, this study cast a shadow of doubt over artificial sweeteners, and thanks in part to the media’s penchant for blowing nutritional headlines way out of proportion, the reputation of artificial sweeteners has never recovered.

A later study suggested a link between aspartame consumption and brain tumors. The authors based this hypothesis on the fact that both brain cancer and aspartame consumption had increased since 1980—despite not knowing whether the people getting brain tumors actually consumed artificial sweeteners—and on a rat study where aspartame-supplemented diets led to the formation of brain tumors. (3)

This association has been more or less dismissed by the research community because three case-control studies have found no association between brain tumors and aspartame consumption, and subsequent animal studies haven’t been able to replicate the aspartame-induced brain tumors found in the original rat study. (4)

Artificial sweeteners have also been implicated in the development of lymphoma and leukemia, and one observational study found a weak link between artificial sweetener consumption and development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma in men, but not in women. (5) The study authors concluded that due to the inconsistency in their results, there isn’t likely a causal link, although it can’t be ruled out.

Artificial sweeteners have also been tested for associations with other cancers, including breast, pancreatic, stomach, colon, and endometrium, with no correlations found. (6)

Based on the evidence, I don’t think artificial sweeteners are a huge risk factor for cancer, although the possibility can’t be ruled out and caution is warranted.

Artificial Sweeteners Can Change Your Metabolic Health

Artificial sweeteners have also been tied to an increased risk for developing metabolic syndrome and related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Numerous observational studies have attempted to parse out a consistent association with disease risk, but for every study that has linked artificial sweetener consumption with metabolic syndrome, heart disease, or diabetes, there’s another that has found no association. (789)

Fortunately, we have meta-analyses, which serve to pool together similar studies and try to determine the overall effect. In July 2017, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a meta-analysis that picked apart the findings from seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 30 cohort studies on artificial sweeteners. (10) In total, the studies followed more than 400,000 people for about 10 years.

In the RCTs, artificial sweeteners had no significant effect on cardiovascular or metabolic disease risk. However, in the long-term cohort studies, consumption of artificial sweeteners was associated with a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular events, even after controlling for confounding variables.

Of course, observational studies cannot confirm causality, but another study, published in the journal Nature, showed that artificial sweeteners altered the gut microbiota and that this was causally linked to glucose tolerance in mice. (11) For the humans included in the study, even just one week of artificial sweetener consumption was enough to reduce glucose tolerance in half of the participants.

It’s clear that artificial sweeteners can have an impact on your gut microbiota—and that can have far-reaching effects on your health.

For a complete breakdown of how this works, check out my 2016 article “How Artificial Sweeteners Wreak Havoc on Your Gut.”

Pregnant Women: Avoid Artificial Sweeteners, Just to Be Safe

There has been concern in recent years over a potential link between artificial sweetener consumption and pre-term delivery, prompted by two observational studies published in 2010 and 2012. (1213)

These studies have significant limitations:

  • The associations are small and not linearly dose-dependent;
  • Not all artificially sweetened beverages were accounted for; and
  • Women who consume more artificially sweetened drinks also tend to smoke more and have higher BMI and lower socioeconomic status. (14)

All told, the risk seems small, but I would advise pregnant women to avoid artificial sweeteners just to be on the safe side.

The Big Question: Do They Help You Lose Weight?

For most people, the primary motivation for consuming artificial sweeteners is a desire to eat fewer calories and lose weight. But do artificial sweeteners actually help achieve that goal? Yet again, the evidence is mixed.

Many observational studies have found a positive association between artificial sweetener intake and obesity, but in this situation, reverse causality is particularly likely. (15161718) In other words, while it’s possible that artificial sweeteners contributed to weight gain in these studies, it’s also possible that people who are overweight are more likely to choose diet beverages and other artificially sweetened foods in an effort to lose weight. We also have a decent number of clinical trials testing the weight loss effects of artificial sweeteners in humans, although many are too short term to have much practical significance.

In one study, overweight subjects were given supplements of either sucrose or artificial sweeteners for 10 weeks. (19) At the end of the trial period, subjects in the artificial sweetener group had experienced, on average, a reduction in weight, fat mass, and blood pressure, while subjects in the sucrose group gained weight and had increased blood pressure.

A study published in 2014 on weight loss and artificial sweeteners was surprisingly positive: over a 12-week period, participants who were instructed to drink 24 ounces of artificially sweetened beverages every day actually lost more weight than participants who were instructed to drink 24 ounces of water daily. (20) (It’s worth noting that this study was fully funded by the American Beverage Association.) Other trials have also shown successful calorie reduction and weight loss in participants who consumed artificial sweeteners (usually in the form of beverages). (212223)

So what do we make of all this? Fortunately, the same meta-analysis I mentioned above of over 400,000 people also looked at weight loss. (24) When they pooled together the seven RCTs, they found no significant effect of artificial sweeteners on body mass index (BMI). On the other hand, when they pooled the cohort studies, consumption of artificial sweeteners was positively associated with increases in weight, waist circumference, and a higher incidence of obesity.

Based on this evidence, it seems that artificial sweeteners do not necessarily lead to weight loss, and may in fact do the opposite!

As I mentioned, artificial sweeteners’ ability to disrupt the gut microbiota can lead to weight gain, but that’s not the only mechanism involved here. These sweeteners can actually “confuse” your body and make it harder for you to shed extra pounds.

How These Sweeteners “Confuse” Your Body

For most of human history, sweeteners were inextricably tied to caloric density. Our sweet taste receptors evolved primarily to help us identify calorie-rich food sources. So imagine the confusing results when our taste receptors are bombarded with sweetness without that expected surge in calories.

Animal models certainly indicate that artificial sweeteners can impair the innate ability to regulate caloric intake. Rats who are fed with artificial sweeteners consistently gain more weight than rats who are fed with glucose or sucrose. (2526) Additionally, the rats don’t tend to lose the excess weight, even after their diets are switched back to glucose or sucrose to reestablish the normal connection between a sweet taste and calorie-rich foods.

Interestingly, rats who were given stevia solutions gained significantly more weight than the glucose-fed rats and similar amounts of weight to the saccharin-fed rats. (27) Rats fed with artificial sweeteners also develop an impaired ability to respond to sugar-containing foods. In one study, rats who had been fed artificial sweeteners were unable to compensate for the calorie content of a sugar preload by eating less chow afterwards, while rats who had been fed sugar-containing food compensated almost perfectly for the extra calories in the preload by eating less chow. (28)

Rats that have been conditioned with saccharin also display a reduced thermic effect in response to consumption of a caloric sugar-containing meal, as well as higher blood glucose, compared with rats who had been conditioned with glucose. (2930) Additionally, saccharin-fed rats secreted less GLP-1 (which is implicated in satiety and glucose homeostasis) when given a sugar-containing test meal. (31)

Unfortunately, although the animal evidence is fairly robust, evidence in humans is limited. However, two interesting studies that used MRI to measure brain responses to sucrose solutions indicate that artificial sweeteners may alter the brain’s response to sweet tastes in humans. In one study, people who regularly consume artificially sweetened drinks had higher reward responses to both saccharin and sucrose compared with people who don’t consume artificial sweeteners. (32)

Additionally, people who don’t consume artificial sweeteners had different brain responses to the saccharin and sucrose, while those who regularly consume artificial sweeteners responded the same to both sweeteners. Another study found that the amygdala’s response to sucrose consumption was inversely related to artificial sweetener use. (33) (The amygdala is part of the brain that is involved with taste–nutrient conditioning.)

Should You Be Eating Artificial Sweeteners?

To sum up, artificial sweeteners are extremely new to the human diet, and for modern, industrial foods, the operating principle should always be “guilty until proven innocent.” We’ve conducted what are essentially population-wide experiments with the introduction of other industrial foods (such as high-omega-6 vegetable oils) because the initial evidence seemed promising, and we can see how well that worked out.

Increasing evidence from animal studies and human observational studies points to a link between artificial sweeteners and an increased risk for:

  • Glucose intolerance
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes

Observational evidence also suggests a link between artificial sweetener consumption and cardiovascular disease risk.

While we have limited causal evidence in human clinical trials, I believe the evidence is strong enough to conclude that artificial sweeteners should not be included in a healthy diet.

In case you missed them, be sure to check out parts one and two of this series.

195 Comments

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  1. When I was hitting the 4 hour body hard I would have a big cheat day once a week and then lose weight the rest of the week. It worked great, but if I consumed artificial sweeteners it slowed my weight loss. I did different experiments eating the same thing everyday and only adding diet coke. I don’t think it causes weight gain, but definitely prevented loss for me. Best theory I ever heard was that it tricks the brain into thinking its sugar and causes a sugar hormone response.

      • I do. But have never run an experiment using it. I really don’t care for the taste and don’t tend to consume it very often. Mostly aspartame and xylitol. Diet soda, sugar free pudding, and sugar free jello were the worst for me. All aspartame. Vitamin Water Zero and 0 cal Sobe were not as bad for weight loss but aggravated my intestines for me. I think Xylitol is a fodmap that really bothers me.

  2. Aspartame is toxic, and people vary in their ability to process it…very similar to MSG sensitivity. In my early 20’s after college when I was at my first desk job and starting to put on a few pounds, I tried diet coke but it immediately gave me severe headaches. It didn’t take a whole week to narrow it down to the aspartame-sweetened beverage. I bought some sugarless gum around the holidays for the Christmas stockings–I assumed that it had sorbitol or xylitol in it. When I noticed a return of mild headaches after chewing the gum, I checked the ingredient list and sure enough it contained aspartame. When I stopped chewing the gum, the headaches went away again. I am very sensitive to MSG as well. Splenda and stevia don’t seem to bother me, so if I get incidental exposure when eating at other homes, I don’t worry about it. However, I avoid them when I have a choice. I avoid natural sugars most of the time too, but if I’m treating myself to something sweet, I go for the real thing.

  3. Thanks Chris for a great summary.
    And regardless of the studies, it still tastes like crap.

    • Dr. Mercola on xylitol:
      ” Of the various sugar alcohols, xylitol is one of the best. When it is pure, the potential side effects are minimal, and it actually comes with some benefits such as fighting tooth decay. All in all, I would say that xylitol is reasonably safe, and potentially even a mildly beneficial sweetener.

      As an aside, xylitol is toxic to dogs and some other pets, so be sure to keep it out of reach of your family pets.”

      From my own research, I think the benefits are underestimated. Here’s an excerpt from a blog post I wrote:

      http://mizar5.com/xylitolsalvation.html

      “Although xylitol tastes and looks exactly like sugar, that is where the similarities end. Xylitol is really sugar’s mirror image. While sugar wreaks havoc on the body, xylitol heals and repairs. It also builds immunity, protects against chronic degenerative disease, and has anti-aging benefits. Xylitol is considered a five-carbon sugar, which means it is an antimicrobial, preventing the growth of bacteria. While sugar is acid-forming, xylitol is alkaline enhancing. All other forms of sugar, including sorbitol, another popular alternative sweetener, are six-carbon sugars, which feed dangerous bacteria and fungi.”

      And here’s a summary of benefits from another article on xylitol:
      http://www.iprogressivemed.com/misc/xylitol_a_sweet_alternative.pdf
      Summary of Benefits
      Xylitol is a sweet-tasting sugar substitute that has been approved for use in more than 35 countries. Consumption of xylitol is associated with a significant reduction in tooth decay, resulting in fewer cavities and resolution of periodontal disease. Xylitol has been shown to contribute to increased bone density, weight loss, stabilization of blood sugar and lowering of insulin levels. Additional benefits include:

      • Increases energy by enhancing ATP production
      • Increases utilization of fat
      • Replenishes glycogen
      • Anabolic — keeps biosynthetic pathways open
      • Anticatabolic —helps maintain lean muscle mass
      • Antioxidant —generates NADPH, keeping glutathione in an active state
      • Increases endurance
      • Reduces free radical and oxidative damage

      The dental benefits are certainly one of the main reasons to consume xylitol rather than refined sugar. We can even brush with it! An in-depth exploration of this can be read at this site dedicated to healing teeth naturally:
      http://www.healingteethnaturally.com/rinsing-mouth-brushing-teeth-with-xylitol-sugar.html

      Research has also indicated it helps prevent aging of the skin–another example of xylitol as the “mirror image” of refined sugar, which has been shown to promote aging of the skin, through the process known as glycosylation.
      http://www.smartskincare.com/nutrition/xylitol-skin-collagen.html

      • xylitol gives me terrible cramps/diarrhea – even if just chewing the gum – do not think it is benign for everyone

        • I first tried a couple pieces of chocolate at work a few years ago that contained xylitol ~ after the person offering them said she thought it was the best sweetener around. As a result I lost an entire afternoon of work as I had such severe intestinal distress I couldn’t leave the ladies room longer than 10 minutes. For a while I seriously wondered if I’d even be able to leave the office to go home that night!

          That, and the fact that it’s *extremely* toxic to dogs (and I have a dog who eats anything not nailed down) keeps xylitol out of my house. As it is I accidentally bought something with xylitol once and ended up at the vet emergency clinic at 1 AM after I found my dog rummaging in the garbage, and had her stomach pumped. Vet confirmed only small amounts can be fatal.

          I admit I do miss cyclamates. They are still legal in just about every country in the world except the US, and I’ve occasionally bought them in Canada, but when I was in Canada last summer I couldn’t find them anywhere!

          I’ve lost 100 pounds while consuming some AS here and there, but alas I’ve been stalled for 5 years now with still a lot left to lose. 🙁

  4. A few years ago my father (now deceased) moved into a Veteran’s Home. Soon after arrival, he developed unexplained diarrhea, which the resident physician tried diligently to control using typical pharmaceutical means. I lived several states away, and did not realize my dad was having this trouble, until my mom mentioned it in a phone call, letting me know dad had lost almost 30 pounds—which he didn’t need to lose. I immediately asked if he was being fed artificial sweeteners, and had them check all his food sources. Long story short–yes, tons. They were in everything, the fruit at breakfast, the pie at lunch, the applesauce and the ice cream and the juice, etc., etc. Within one week of dumping the artificial sweeteners, his diarrhea resolved. However, since everything he ate was still sweet, just with regular sugar, he developed the opposite trouble—which is another story. Bottom line: I don’t know exactly which artificial sweeteners he was consuming, or exactly why they contributed to his intestinal issues, I just know they did, and I will be forever frustrated that medical folks don’t consider FOOD when they are trying to diagnose a problem—especially a gut-related problem.

    • It is a great failure of medical curriculum that only calls for 1 hour of education on nutrition unless you’re in naturopathy.

  5. In my personal experience, after having kicked artificial sweeteners nearly 6 years ago, I realized that I was having monthly breast tenderness nearly the entire month. I also was stagnant at my weight and my thyroid levels fluctuated several times over the course of a year.

    Since I stopped consuming them in anything, (in my coffee, diet sodas or gum containing aspartame or sucralose), I have managed to resolve all of those things.

  6. Is worth mentioning their impact on the digestive system; some of them have been known for their purgative effects, something that people with issues like IBS should avoid.

    • amazon has NOW stevia glycerite. the best ive found. i can not tolerate 99% of the stevia out there. NuNaturals is ok also but NOW is better. the only other one i’d use is SweetLeaf Stevia Plus…white powder. I prefer the glycerite now tho.

  7. I think this is a really great article that calms the hype about many myths that have been blown up by the media. On the other hand, I don’t feel like it highlights the fact that many sweeteners like aspartame has had over 100 side effects linked to it. I think it’s warranted to be very cautious about artificial sweeteners since they are extremely processed. That’s why I compiled a complete list of artificial sweeteners and whether they should be avoided or are safe. http://www.liveto110.com/complete-list-of-artificial-sweeteners/

    thanks for letting us know, Chris, that there is a new approved artificial sweetener to be avoided! i’ll have to add this to my list!

  8. “Unbiased Truth” OK OK I believe you – jeez! :p

    In all seriousness, I liked your to-the-point presentation and common sense conclusions; because although findings are so far negative they’re far from being proven as safe which is the logical standard to adopt when introducing evolutionarily novel food items in ones diet. Good stuff!

  9. In 1983 or thereabouts, I ate something sweet and my joints began aching (I was a young teenager, athletic and thin, with few allergies and not very food-conscious). I got a pounding headache, felt as if I had to burp and couldn’t, and felt irritable and stiff-jointed for a couple of hours. I learned that the treat had contained a new sweetener, NutraSweet, which had a good reputation, and no one had ever heard any complaints about it. Over the next two years, I found that every time I ate something and then felt that way, it turned out to contain either the new sweetener or a large amount of MSG. That was how I became conscious of aspartame and MSG as additives. I know that studies have shown aspartame to be safe, but I don’t buy it for a second. I think there is something wrong with the research. My experience was pronounced and consistent and cannot possibly have been suggestion or expectation based. It is from that experience that I learned to be suspicious of artificial sweeteners in general.

  10. I have always hated the taste of diet drinks, so I never had much experience with artificial sweeteners… until I used a sugar-free fiber supplement years ago. Within 2 days of taking it, I developed a low-grade headache that medicine couldn’t budge. The ONLY thing that had changed in my diet was the sugar-free (aspartame) fiber supplement. I switched back to my normal fiber (with regular sugar) and within 2 days the headache was gone, never to return. I have in the past used protein powders with Ace-K with no overt physical manifestations, but for years now, I have avoided all artificial sweeteners (and fiber supplement and protein powders). Better safe than sorry–sticking with whole foods and natural sweeteners as much as possible now. 🙂

  11. I am grateful that Chris Kresser had culled the existing if somewhat meager evidence and provided a solid summary of the findings. His own conclusion is that there is no real proof that artificial sweeteners are either harmful or beneficial, but that it is best to err on the side of caution. That for me is the reason to abstain, rather than any anecdotal bias or comparison with ants.

    • I agree! I teach my students to stay away from artificial anything…colors, flavors, sugars, etc. I am lucky to not have diabetes so if I want something sweet I use honey or maple syrup. I trust the devil I know over the devil I don’t know. I don’t need loads of scientific evidence to tell me not to trust something artificial. It’s not science but it works for me and my family.
      I hope that this article helped those that include artificial sweeteners in their diet.

  12. Thank you for taking the time to compile this referenced and intelligent analysis, Mr. Kresser!

  13. It’s hard to imagine that excito toxins like Aspartic Acid/Aspartate (&glutamate) as well as Phenylalanie, Methanol and Diketopiperazine (DKP) — aka Aspartame — is as safe as your research suggests. Dr. Mercola, for example, states that there exists research to show the exact contrary of your article conclusions. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/06/aspartame-most-dangerous-substance-added-to-food.aspx

    I always choose to err on the side of caution, so I won’t use these sweeteners or recommend others do as well.

      • Interesting term, anti-vaxxer. Here’s a paragraph from a peer-reviewed science article:

        “There are a host of environmental factors that trigger autoimmune disorders, including chemical toxicants, heavy metals, viruses, bacteria, emotional stress, and drugs. For example, adjuvants, such as aluminum hydroxide used in vaccines and medical silicones used in breast implants, can cause an autoimmune disorder known as Shoenfeld’s syndrome [13]. A recent study published in the journal Apoptosis demonstrates that hepatitis B vaccine causes liver cell destruction in Hepa1-6 cells. This cell death is attributed to the use of the adjuvant aluminum hydroxide, increasingly identified as a contributing cause of autoimmune disease in immunized patients [14]. — from:

        Autoimmune Diseases Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 152428, 12 pages – find full text here: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ad/2014/152428/abs/

          • Hmmm…killer disease are better? Maybe you are not old enough to remember these diseases, but more people/children sicken and die from the illnesses versus the vaccines. One of my childhood friends died from measles. Another was crippled by polio.

      • anti-vaxx is a good stance to have. go, dr. mercola.
        interesting that you assume ANYone, let alone EVERYone, is pro-vaccine.

  14. At our house, the BG meter is our guide–many sweeteners purported “not to raise blood sugar” actually DO according to the meter.

    Way back before I even had an inkling about nutrition (some 30 years ago), I had a weird experience with aspartame. It was a new sweetener in sodas (Nutrasweet), so I tried one…and promptly got numbness in my right jaw and lower lip. My M-I-L said to stop drinking it, and I did. I never used aspartame again. I now know it’s a neurotoxin.

    Erythritol gets over-hyped, in my opinion–it claims to “not raise BG levels”, yet in my husband, IT DID by some 20 points. The only sweetener that we use is stevia glycerite–it moved Hubby 1 point in 2 hours.

    This is why we let the meter be our guide.

    • And it didn’t and doesn’t in my Type 2 diabetic husband. Nor do sucralose, stevia, maltitol or any of the dubious sweeteners in diet coke.

      These results echo precisely what has been said about conflicting information. With reference to our personal experience we will continue to use these things in moderation rather than ban them entirely on the strength of such inconclusive evidence.

      • +1 I thought that at this point we’d all be very aware that people have a variety of reactions to any given food or ingredient. At least in this type of community, where we tend to lots of self-experimentation. I think studies will tend to capture the majority response, but of course, that makes no difference to someone who is not in the majority.

  15. Aspartame, a popular artificial sweetener, was manufactured and sold as an ant killer… until an employee at the plant discovered it was very sweet. Hence, Aspartame is now widely available for FDA approved human consumption.

  16. IMO, there is more than enough evidence of the harmfulness of artificial sweeteners, and I strictly avoid them. I made the decision to stop buying smoothies at Jamba Juice when I learned they routinely use Splenda for sweetening. When Crystal Geyser started putting out a “diet” version of their fruit sodas, I wrote to them pointing out the damage aspartame can do, including to babies in the womb. Maybe that was part of the reason they pulled the product.

    I know there’s a lot of prejudice and misinformation associated with xylitol, but I’ve concluded it’s just about ideal for sweetening purposes and has many benefits, including dental.

          • Excellent point. People fail to realize how natural things can be harmful and that not all synthetic ones are.

              • Xylitol by default digests in the body with a limit to about 5-15 grams/day depending on the person. If you ingest more than that, it will initially give a loose bowel, however, your body will adapt and upregulate the enzymes to digest it. In research and practice, people simply add it to many things daily, accept a couple days of liquid bowel, and then the body has adapted and it’s not an issue anymore. I started with 1 tsp of xylitol and wow, it went right through me so to speak. Now I intentionally have about 6 Tbsp daily (with supplements) and there’s no issue.

    • What do you call “enough evidence”. If you don’t mind, I would like to read the research papers that substantiates the claim that is harmful by actual HUMAN tests since we are not rats nor ants etc. Do you have the info on where I can view these research papers?

        • What contribution did you just make with that comment? I really want to read about the research available and your comment helped how???

          • There are many studies out there – andas many opinions. I don’t think this “unbiased truth” (which is in itself a rather difficult term) is so eternally truthful as it might appear to be. I am not convinced by thus review. For instance:

            “Aspartame (APM) is an artificial sweetener used since the 1980s, now present in >6,000 products, including over 500 pharmaceuticals. Since its discovery in 1965, and its first approval by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in 1981, the safety of APM, and in particular its carcinogenicity potential, has been controversial.
            The present commentary reviews the adequacy of the design and conduct of carcinogenicity bioassays on rodents submitted by G.D. Searle, in the 1970s, to the FDA for market approval. We also review how experimental and epidemiological data on the carcinogenic risks of APM, that became available in 2005 motivated the European Commission (EC) to call the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) for urgent re-examination of the available scientific documentation (including the Searle studies). The EC has further requested that, if the results of the evaluation should suggest carcinogenicity, major changes must be made to the current APM specific regulations.
            Taken together, the studies performed by G.D. Searle in the 1970s and other chronic bioassays do not provide adequate scientific support for APM safety. In contrast, recent results of life-span carcinogenicity bioassays on rats and mice published in peer-reviewed journals, and a prospective epidemiological study, provide consistent evidence of APM’s carcinogenic potential. On the basis of the evidence of the potential carcinogenic effects of APM herein reported, a re-evaluation of the current position of international regulatory agencies must be considered an urgent matter of public health. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:383–397, 2014 – from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.22296/full

        • What was your contribution with that comment? I really want to know about solid research available. And your comment helped how???

        • I already do. After learning that stevia causes heart palpitations for me and may have been complicit in causing me fat gain (that and “safe starches”), I’m back on sucralose because that does not cause me obvious problems. I’ve stuck my neck out. I’ve done my homework. Some people can’t tolerate it: I know a person who gets migraines from all artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. But if you can, it does less damage than sugar. These questionable studies all noted how rats did when returning to sugar consumption. Why would any of us return to sugar consumption? We know the damage it does.

          That said, I don’t use tons of sucralose daily and I am interested in switching to Swerve, an erythritol and oligosaccharide blend. Because again, I never know til I try.

              • Learn the difference between good carbs vs. Bad carbs using the glycemic index. Bad- #1 worst- SUGAR! Also, bread, corn, rice, potatoes, pasta, bananas, carrots, raisins,
                Good carbs- all fruits and vegetables except aforementioned. Including sweet potatoes.

      • Here’s a study done on humans:

        “Despite its widespread use, the artificial sweetener aspartame remains one of the most controversial food additives, due to mixed evidence on its neurobehavioral effects. Healthy adults who consumed a study-prepared high-aspartame diet (25 mg/kg body weight/day) for 8 days and a low-aspartame diet (10 mg/kg body weight/day) for 8 days, with a 2-week washout between the diets, were examined for within-subject differences in cognition, depression, mood, and headache. Measures included weight of foods consumed containing aspartame, mood and depression scales, and cognitive tests for working memory and spatial orientation. When consuming high-aspartame diets, participants had more irritable mood, exhibited more depression, and performed worse on spatial orientation tests. Aspartame consumption did not influence working memory. Given that the higher intake level tested here was well below the maximum acceptable daily intake level of 40–50 mg/kg body weight/day, careful consideration is warranted when consuming food products that may affect neurobehavioral health. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. – from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/nur.21595/full

      • I used to get a brand of Stevia from Kroger’s that had nothing but Stevia and Inulin, which was fine, good taste & no adverse effects. Lately I have been unable to find this, only Stevia and Natural Flavors which is a bogus name for monosodium glutamate. The plain Stevia and Inulin packets seem to have gone extinct. Guess it didn’t fit the Agenda 21 (new world order) of decreasing worldwide population by 90%.

      • Vale, there is a reason why most studies are done using mice, rats or other little critters with a much shorter life span than humans. True humans are not rats and mice, but problems from whatever is being studied shows up much quicker in those 4 legged’s than it does in humans.

        The proof is out there if you know where to look. For questions on MSG and aspartame, may I suggest a book written by retired neurosurgeon Russell L. Blaylock, titled “Excitotoxins:
        The Taste That Kills”. Proof of MSG causing mental retardation was known in the early 60’s. Doctor’s unable to get any action from the FDA, carried their evidence to Congress to get them to remove MSG from baby formula and baby foods. Congress passed a law that it had to be removed from both, and also said that since many people were allergic to MSG, it had to be listed as an ingredient in any food containing it. Before Blaylock, he must have studied every study ever done on MSG and aspartame (now renamed AminoSweet)
        because he tells about every one of them, and relates that no studies found them safe except those paid for by the industry making the produce. He then tells you how they skewed the facts. The sneakiest one was the one whose reported result was: at least as safe as the placebo. The sneaky part that belied the study was that the placebo was not a harmless sugar pill, but another substance that caused the same adverse effects as MSG. Another shortcoming in the studies that found MSG and aspartame to be safe was shortened studies. Blaylock said when the study lasted the proper length of time (think it was 13 weeks) that all the brains showed the damage whether mice, rats, cat, dog or chicken brain.
        Since those early 60’s, studies have gotten more specific about damage besides mental retardation. Excitotoxins are so named because they excite the neurons (cells) in our brains and central nervous systems to death. Blaylock tells us that both MSG and aspartame are neurotoxic. He also tells us that one of them kills off one type of cell and the other kills off
        another type of cell. It’s been a few years since I read his book, but one kills off the sodium transport cells and the other kills off calcium transport cells. Cells in the petri dish die 1 hour after one excitotoxin is added to the cells and the other one takes 6 hours to kill off the cells.
        That law about MSG is still on the books, but the food processors have found ways to avoid listing MSG by using a lot of bogus names to list it under.
        If you want a classic example of why we use short lived creatures in these studies, just type “France’s 2 year study on GMO produce” into your search window (this is the longest study to date) and look at those poor hideously deformed, morbidly obese creatures. Another study you can find on line is India’s study on GMO produce. They noticed changes in activity during the first week or two, but they also found litters occurred less often, with decreasing members of smaller birth weight – and finally no litters at all after only 3 generations of the critters in their study. They banned all Monsanto seeds from India.
        Three generations of creatures with a life span of 1 or 2 years, is going to show adverse effects much sooner than and be finished much quicker than a 3 generation study on humans.
        Another aspect to look at here is: How many scientists are likely to stay interested in, or live long enough to complete a study lasting possibly 200 or 300 years?
        PS – for all of you who aren’t up on bogus names of MSG, just type “names monosodium glutamate is hidden under” and be prepared to print them out, because it will take awhile to try to remember all of them.

        PS – you will also find some excellent videos on GMO produce. Look up the one that said GMO seeds are worse than we thought. Very interesting and will answer more of your questions.

    • Jennifer, “IMO”. Well unfortunately your opinion is contrary to published studies. It is unfortunate that you are the type of person the propagates misinformation and disinformation. That you would be presented with such studies right in front of your face and yet you willfully ignore the facts speaks to the foolishness of your positions on the matter. Further, your hubris is painfully evident that you believe your letter to Crystal Geyser was the catalyst for them pulling their drinks reeks of megalomania.

      Do the world a favor and just for once try and inform yourself of the actual facts of a particular subject matter before spouting off with uninformed drivel.

      • Hi,

        I followed your advice and informed myself. Thanks for that. On the FDA website I found the following quote:

        “The problems with aspartame include not only the biochemical nature of this
        toxin but also it sheds light on the political nature of the players
        involved. The changes in regulatory policies and regulations resulting
        from corporate-government ties and the politicians closely associated with
        these ties.

        “What I can tell you, regarding toxicology, histology and biochemistry, is that aspartame is neurotoxic. Its components easily transcend the blood-brain barrier, interfering with normal nerve cell function. This
        affects the glutathione and calcium mechanisms in place, destroying nerve call integrity. The methanol then breaks down into formaldehyde-formic acid components, which denaturizes/mutates the DNA: a known scientific fact. The subsequent result from this interaction and from isolates of genetically modified amino acids, the methanol, is nerve cell necrosis and
        subsequent organ system degradation.

        The hypothalamus alone (the major controller for much of the endocrine system), is at especially high risk to these effects…thereby, affecting many other organ systems. I have seen first hand the effects on symptoms when individuals have abstained from ingesting the artificial sweetener, aspartame. Make no bones about it, aspartame is a major factor in many
        symptomologies due to its effects upon brain chemistry.” – It goes on, inform yourselves further here:

        http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/03/Apr03/042503/02P-0317_emc-000245.txt

        • Your reference here is to an email that is recorded on the fda site and is not information from the FDA or quoted by the FDA or even suggested by the FDA as legitimate.

          • Beware believing in “blanket” organizations that “by default” have “your best interests” at heart. As the letter is written by a former FDA Agent, and it is fact that FDA tries bypassing proper safe studies to fast-track controversial or high-profit items through; note the absolute epidemic of diseases increasing since 90’s due to unnecessary and downright dangerous “legal drugs” use… With 5% of the population of the world, USA consumes more than 50% of artificial drugs produced….

      • Hey, Matt:

        “Further, your hubris is painfully evident that you believe your letter to Crystal Geyser was the catalyst for them pulling their drinks reeks of megalomania.”

        I wrote:
        “Maybe that was part of the reason they pulled the product.”

        My comment was more of the “who knows” variety than “It was all down to me.” Who cares, I’m just glad they wised up.

        • Don’t even bother jenifer, the only megalomaniac here is Matt; who apparently likes to spend his spare time belittling random people on the internet with verbose pseudo-intellectual tirades.

      • Matt
        I’m new to this blog. Your personal attack on Jennifer is offensive. Chris invited all readers to express themselves. Who appointed you chief critic? If you can’t contribute to this blog in a positive manner without attacking other readers, then please take your drivel elsewhere.

        • Thanks for the support Marcus and Vernon. Yeah, I was quite taken aback by Matt’s tone. I wonder if he has stock in Splenda and/or Nutrasweet. 😉

    • Most Xylitol is now made of none other than the infamous GMO corn. You might be able to find certified birch xylitol online.

      But I’m sticking with stevia. I avoid the most highly refined stevia brand, Truvia, which is made using a 40 step process. 40 steps, that’s not a typo. I saw the steps online. You can buy small organic stevia plants at whole foods in the summer and dehydrate the leaves 12 hours in the sun, or in a dehydrator. Crush the dried leaves and you have a totally natural, non-sugar, super sweet concentrate that will go a long way. I’m going to try freezing some of the dried crushed leaves or at least refrigerate.

    • while xylitol is ok for human consumption it is a deadly poison to dogs. Keep those treats and gum away from pets!!!!

      I get horrible headaches when ever exposed to aspartame. I’m diabetic so I dont eat sweets but a little table sugar has lower impact on my glucose than a piece of bread!

      • That’s because starches are long-chain sugar molecules. ALL carb’s end up as sugar once dumped into our “fiery furnace” and burned away …

    • Xylitol is great for toothpaste. Otherwise, it raises blood sugars and causes hella gastric distress.

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