Are Artificial Sweeteners Okay?

I’m always amazed when friends or family ask for Sweet ‘n Low or Splenda, and they are always amazed when I say I don’t have any!  I’ve never used artificial sweeteners and have always been leery of them.

The American diet is inundated with sugar – in cereals, crackers, cookies and hidden away in other processed foods.  It’s in fruit juices, sodas, flavored water, energy drinks and diet drinks.  It’s an additive for coffee and tea and used in baking and cooking.  Our bodies need sugar as a source of energy, but when natural sugar is refined or overused, it upsets the natural balance and loses its benefits.  Sugar is definitely overused and its overuse results in all sorts of problems, including diabetes, weight gain, a compromised immune system and depression, to name a few. Artificial sugars aren’t sugar, but you still get the sweet flavor without the calories!  Perfect, right?  For those with diabetes, yes, but for the rest of us?  Not really.

Brown Sugar – chemically processed 1 tsp 15
Cane Sugar – chemically processed 1 tsp 15
Honey 1 tsp 20
Molasses 1 tsp 20
White Sugar – chemically processed 1 tsp 15
Stevia 1 packet  0
Raw Organic Agave 1 Tbs 60
Equal 1 packet  5
NutraSweet 1 tsp  2
Splenda 1 tsp  5
Sweet N Low 1 packet  0
Sucanat 1 tsp 16


Two main artificial sugars are saccharin (Sweet N’ Low) and aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal and Sugar Twin).   Both are approved by the FDA, but they have no nutritional value and studies show that there are possible cancer links as well as allergic reactions.  Aspartame, which is found in more than 6000 products, is even more controversial than saccharin. It has been associated with headaches, dizziness, change in mood, vomiting or nausea, abdominal pain and cramps, change in vision, diarrhea, seizures/convulsions, memory loss, fatigue and even weight gain.  In addition, there are links to fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, tinnitus, joint pain, anxiety attacks, blurred vision, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, unexplainable depression, slurred speech, and various cancers.  Scary!

English: Great taste without the sugar. The se...

. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saccharin was first produced in 1878 by a chemist working on coal tar derivatives; today it’s manufactured with chlorine and ammonia.   Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by a chemist working for G.D.Searle and Company, and is composed of three main compounds – aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol (wood alcohol), all of which can be dangerous.  As Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules, says, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”    I know that the FDA says they are safe, but I’d rather err on the side of caution and sparingly use natural, unrefined sugars.  That means avoiding products labeled as “low calorie”, “diet”, “sugar free” or “no sugar added” too!  Saving only 10 calories or so just doesn’t seem like a good risk to me.

Information compiled from;;




4 responses to this post.

  1. I want to tell a story here. In the late ’70s my father, a sugar lover extraordinaire, was diagnosed with diabetes. He decided to control it with diet, and he did it quite successfully by using saccharin in every form available – liquid, pills, powder. In 1981, he was diagnosed with liver cancer and given three months to live. He died four months later with the doctors puzzled over why he developed liver cancer as a primary cancer (and he was a vocal teetotaler). A few years later, the news came in and saccharin was pulled from many of the diet drinks and shelves because the one thing they discovered was it caused primary liver cancer in lab mice. I have always been convinced saccharin (albeit not used in moderation) killed my father. We don’t drink soda or use sweetener in our coffee or tea and folks look at us like we’re from another planet. But I don’t care. It’s just not good for you. Thanks for the post, Betsy.


    • Wow! Thanks for sharing! Nothing hits home harder than a real life story. I’m sorry about your Dad, but maybe your story will help someone. I hope so……


  2. Hey! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to
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