Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

14 Jan

Artificial Sweeteners….Sweet or Poison?


What types of artificial sweeteners are currently available?

The five FDA-approved nonnutritive sweeteners are saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and neotame. (source)

  • Saccharin-saccharin is allowed in most countries.  Countries, such as Canada, in which saccharin was previously banned, are reconsidering the ban  (source).   Saccharin got a bad reputation when, in the 1970s, it was shown that to cause bladder cancer in rodents.  It was then required that all food with sacchain must be labeled.  (source).  This requirement for labeling was removed in 2000 as it became clear that the rodents developed cancer due to  the high pH, high calcium phosphate, and high protein levels in their urine which is not found in humans (source) (source).  Saccharin is most recognized as Sweet ‘n Low (pink packets) (source).  It is much sweeter than sucrose, but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste which is common to most artifical sweetener (source).
  • Aspartame-is a an artificial sweetener which is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose(table sugar)(source).  Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into compounds which include aspartic acidphenylalaninemethanol (sourceformaldehyde (source) and formic acid.  Thus, aspartame must be avoided with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU) (source).  Food products containing aspartame must be indicated that they contain a source of phenylalanine.  Aspartame comes closest to sugar’s taste profile among artificial sweeteners (source). It has been sold as NutraSweet and  AminoSweet (source).
  • Acesulfame potassium- is an artifical sweetener that is 180-200 times sweeter than sucrose, as sweet as aspartame, about half as sweet as saccharin, and one-quarter as sweet as sucralose.  Like most artificial sweetener, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste.  Unlike aspartame, acesulfame K is stable under heat,which allows it to be used in baking. It is marketed under the trade names Sunett and Sweet One (source)
  • Sucralose- is an artifical sweetner that is approximately 600 times as sweet as sucrose,twice as sweet as saccharin, and 3.3 times as sweet as aspartame.   Like, acesulfame potassium, it can be used in baking.  It is marketed as  Splenda, Sukrana, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren and Nevella. (source).
  • Neotame- is an an artificial sweetener that is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose  with the common metallic aftertaste.  It is marketed as NutraSweet (source)

A no calorie, natural  sweetener option is stevia.

Stevia- a sweetner derived from the glycosides of the Stevia rebaudiana plant.  It was first isolated in the 1970s in Japan.  These gycosides can be 40-300 times sweeter than sucrose.  Stevia tends to have a slower onset and longer duration of taste than sugar although can be bitter (source).

Stevia Plant


Updated:  Rebiana is the trade name for a zero-calorie sweetener mainly made from rebaudioside A (Reb A) (a naturally produced glycoside). Truvia is the consumer brand for Rebiana (marketed by Cargill and developed jointly with The Coca-Cola Company). PureVia is PepsiCo’s brand of Reb A. Enliten is Corn Products International’s brand of Reb A sweetener.


Next week….

Next week we will examine what studies have been done recently on artifical sweeteners.


Do you use artifical sweetner?  Which do you prefer?  Do you worry about the health risks?


18 Responses to “Truth About Artificial Sweeteners”

  1. sophie January 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    how is stevia an artificial sweetener? it’s a plant.

    • naturallyhealthyandgorgeous January 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

      You are exactly right. I simply wanted to include it as a no calorie sweetener option. I will update the page to make that more clear. Thanks for the comment!

      • sophie January 14, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

        Thank YOU for the article 🙂

  2. Erin January 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Actually, Rebiana is the trade name Cargill (the manufacturers of Truvia) gave their chemically derived extract. Rebiana is produced by the action of chemicals and stringent alcohols on various stevia glcosides, while Rebauoside A is one of the 11 glycosides naturally in stevia leaves and is produced by the action of sunlight on the leaves. There is a diffrence.

    Thanks for the article.

    (employed by Wisdom Natural Brands, the makers of SweetLeaf Stevia)

    • naturallyhealthyandgorgeous January 14, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      Thanks for that insightful comment and for stopping by! I updated the blog to show the correct information!

  3. Laura January 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    I definitely consume quite a bit of artificial sweeteners – mainly through beverages – to help moderate my calorie intake. I get tired of always drinking water. But I do wonder if there are risks that outweigh the benefit of consuming fewer calories. I really tried to avoid them when I was pregnant due to the uncertainty around safety to the fetus, even though my doctor said they were fine to consume in moderation.

    • naturallyhealthyandgorgeous January 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

      I think it’s, once again, an issue about level of consumption, especially when the long term health risks really aren’t known!

  4. Corinne @ RI Nutrition Housecalls January 15, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    I used to use artificial sweeteners a lot but now I never do. I do worry about potential health risks even though I know that none have been identified. I like to stick to natural foods as much as I can. As for stevia- I’ve tried it and…ick!

  5. Marina {} January 16, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    Ha! Love that cartoon. I stay away from artificial sweeteners too.

  6. Lisa @ Healthful Sense January 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    I avoid all artificial sweeteners…
    I do use Stevia in moderation.
    For the kids I use honey, maple syrup, dates, bananas or applesauce as sweeteners.
    I figure why use artificial chemicals when you can use nature’s sweeteners.

  7. Kaitlyn @ Pain Can Be Fun January 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Very interesting! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Desk Snacker January 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    What about agave and brown rice syrup?

    • naturallyhealthyandgorgeous January 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

      Those are great options for natural sweeteners. I use agave pretty much everyday. In this post, I was only talking about no-calorie options for sweeteners. Do you use brown rice syrup? I have never tried it. Thanks for the comment!

  9. Lauren January 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. I really try to avoid artificial sweeteners, because they are just that: artificial. Regardless of whether they have proven risks or not, putting something that is made in a lab into my body is not something that I want to do. That said, it really is very tempting to use these sweeteners to save calories but I really, really try not to. I have never tried Stevia – I think I need to try some.

    • naturallyhealthyandgorgeous January 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      I agree, it’s a hard choice between calories and the artificial sugar. I try to avoid both (which is hard)! Try Stevia but know that it is an acquired taste!

  10. Run Eat Play January 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Thanks for the post – I knew some of that stuff about artificial sweetners, but not all of it!

  11. sally January 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Great overview.
    How do artificial sweeteners affect insulin secretion?
    I know some can trigger insulin secretion – is this universally true?

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