The 5 Worst Artificial Sweeteners


By Lilla Bessenyei

Since scientists have started to discover the harmful effects of excess sugar consumption, low calorie and sugar-free products are becoming more and more popular. Many people want to avoid diabetes and weight gain, which are related to excess sugar intake, yet they don’t want to miss their sweet treats, so they choose to use artificial sweeteners.

Unfortunately though, these substances are way more harmful than the sugar itself – more so than most people realize. Not only do they lack the benefits consumers expect, they have many undesirable side effects as well.

Artificial sweeteners can increase type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney damage risks. A recent study has found that they actually ENHANCE those kinds of gut bacteria growth, which can transform energy to fat more effectively. That means weight gain.

In addition, they can also lead to glucose intolerance.

Considering the risks of artificial sweeteners, the best thing you can do is pay attention to the labels and avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs – especially if you often use/consume some of these products:

    • Toothpaste
    • Mouthwash
    • Chewing and bubble gum
    • Zero and low calorie waters and drinks
    • Liquid medicines and cough syrups
    • Chewable vitamins for children
    • Alcoholic drinks
    • Yogurts
    • Frozen desserts
    • Candies
    • Salad dressings
    • Breakfast cereals
    • Prepared meats
    • Low calorie and diet juices
    • Processed snacks
    • Baked goods

As you can see, artificial sweeteners can be found in almost everything, thus why being on the lookout for them is so crucial.

While also being on the lookout for them, there are several more ways to protect yourself from these harmful materials.

My ultimate strategy is to not buy prepackaged food. The vast majority of the above listed products are generally unhealthy, particularly sodas, alcoholic drinks, sweetened cereals, processed snacks, etc… If they don’t contain artificial sweeteners, they more than likely contain MSG or other harmful substances.

Obviously, things like toothpaste and mouthwash are necessary, daily-used products. If you want to buy mouthwash and toothpaste that are safe and clear of any artificial sweeteners or dangerous substances, organic shops are really your best option. Or you can make your own.

Let’s see what the top 5 worst artificial sweeteners are:

1. Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal, Natra Taste Blue)

This molecule can cause migraines, fibromyalgia, memory loss, increased oxidative stress in the brain, headaches, mood disorders, metabolic syndrome, dizziness and episodes of mania. It’s particularly dangerous in pregnancy and breastfeeding because it can incline your baby to obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Unfortunately, aspartame can be found in more than 6,000 consumer foods and drinks and, in addition, it is present in more than 500 prescription drugs and other medications.

2. Acesulfame K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe)

Acesulfame K is a potassium salt and is usually used in combination with other artificial sweeteners. Yogurts, chewing gums, alcoholic beverages, candies, baked goods and highly processed foods can contain it.

Its side effects can be nausea, some types of cancer, liver and kidney damage, mood disorders, metabolic syndrome and eyesight problems.

3. Sucralose (Splenda)

It was originally discovered through the development of a new insecticide. It’s 600 times sweeter than sugar.

It has toxic metabolites and can mess up glucose and insulin levels.

4. Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin)

This hazardous chemical can be found in children’s prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Saccharin consumption can be linked with bladder cancer, nausea, digestive upset and tachycardia.

5. Xylitol, Sorbitol and other sugar alcohols

Sugar alcohols are used as laxatives. Using them as sweeteners can cause allergic reactions, bloating, gas, diarrhea and cramping.

These chemicals are also life-threatening toxins to dogs. They can be found in frozen desserts, candies, sugar-free gums, mints, etc…

So, regardless of how tasty and convenient artificial sweeteners may be, they truly are substances of risk and should be avoided at all costs. Instead of buying artificially sweetened and highly processed foods, if you’re craving something sweet, turn to the plethora of natural options you have all around you!

Eat some fruit, use whole-food sources like dates, raisins and cinnamon, or add some natural sweeteners to your food like licorice, coconut sugar, maple syrup, date sugar, fruit purees and stevia.  

How about trying this delicious sweet treat, without the guilt! 🙂

Delicious Sweet Treat
Recipe type: Snack
  • 2 pitted dates, sliced in half
  • Dollop of almond butter
  1. Stuff dates with almond butter and refrigerate.
  2. Enjoy!

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Lilla Bessenyei, Pharm.D.
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Lilla Bessenyei, Pharm.D.

Lilla Bessenyei is a pharmacist and writer. It has been through her own experience that she realized that health and happiness start with what you put in your body and mind - including your thoughts. She is an avid researchers and has learned a lot about health and medicine. In her studies, she found that cultivating healthy emotions were just as important (if not more so) as a healthy diet. She is a fitness junkie, enjoys the numerous benefits of a vegan diet and enjoys helping people discover true health and happiness.
Lilla Bessenyei, Pharm.D.
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