Did you know that artificial sweeteners are added to about 6,000 different beverages, snacks, and food products1? Originally designed as less fattening alternatives to regular sugar, artificial sweeteners are regularly used (and sometimes even marketed) as the “healthier choice,” but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Fortunately, there are a few sweeteners found in nature that are actually good for your health.
The Top 5 Harmful Artificial Sweeteners
1. Aspartame is the most common artificial sweetener. Accidentally discovered back in 1965, the sweetener wasn’t approved for use in carbonated beverages and dry goods until 1985. According to the FDA, it is responsible for more than 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives2. Negative reactions can include heart palpitations, headaches, depression, vision problems, fatigue, seizures, and numbness.
2. Sucralose or Splenda is a derivative of sucrose, but don’t let that fact fool you. The process used in the making of sucrose affects the chemical composition to the extent that it is completely unnatural. Your body is unable to process and metabolize it properly3. Negative reactions can include migraines, vision problems, weight gain, seizures, and stomach problems.
3. Saccharin or Sweet ‘N Low was discovered in 1878 and is 300 times sweeter than table sugar. In 1972, the FDA removed saccharin from the list of food additives generally recognized as safe. Then in 1977, the artificial sweetener was banned for about a year4. No warnings are necessary for foods that contain saccharin, but it has been reported to cause many negative reactions which can include headaches, breathing problems, and muscle issues.
4. Acesulfame K is a zero-calorie sweetener that tastes 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Since its discovery in 1967, Acesulfame K has become a popular artificial sweetener in more than 90 countries. The artificial sweetener contains methylene chloride, which is a known carcinogen. Negative reactions can include headaches, vision problems, nausea, and confusion.
5. Neotame is relatively new to the consumer market. Neotame is an astounding 13,000 times sweeter than sugar and 30 times sweeter than aspartame5. Because of its ability to withstand higher temperatures than aspartame, it has been approved for use in a wider range of foods. People have reported experiencing the same reactions, symptoms, and side effects as those indicated for aspartame.
Top Natural Sweeteners
1. Monk Fruit is a small melon native to southern China and was named after the monks that first cultivated it. Used for medicinal reasons for centuries, the extract from the dried fruit is up to 250 times sweeter than table sugar and has zero calories. Best of all, it has no known side effects. The FDA stated that monk fruit is ‘recognized as safe’ for everyone, including children and pregnant women.
NATURELO’s whole food raw greens powder is sweetened with monk fruit.
2. Stevia is a very popular sweetener that is plant derived and low in calories. The Stevia rebaudiana plant has been used in South America for centuries as a sweetener and medicinal purposes. There are some added health benefits associated with eating Stevia including lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels7.
NATURELO’s whole food chewable multivitamin gummies is sweetened with Stevia.
1. How Artificial Sweeteners Confuse Your Body into Storing Fat and Inducing Diabetes, December 23, 2014
2. Aspartame – By Far the Most Dangerous Substance Added to Most Foods Today, November 06, 2011
3. The Potential Dangers of Sucralose (Splenda), December 03, 2000
4. The Pursuit of Sweet
5. Neotame: Is This More-Dangerous-than-Aspartame Sweetener Hiding in Your Food?, March 28, 2012
6. Low-calorie sweeteners and body weight and composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies, 2014 Sep; 100(3): 765–777
7. Monk Fruit Sweetener