Artificial Sweeteners

Great books on the subject:

Both by Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN, Sweet Poison: How the World’s Most Popular Artificial Sweetener Is Killing Us – My Story (Aspartame) and Splenda: Is it Safe or Not?

Martie’s opinion:

  • Always be suspicious of chemicals that have not been on the planet before such as the commercial sweeteners below (except Stevia). There is a high likelihood that they will ultimately be found to have previously unknown toxic or drug-like effects on humans.
  • The FDA approval process depends on studies done by the manufacturer who obviously has much to gain by structuring the tests in a way that finds no problems.
  • The safety studies are, of necessity, short term studies. No one looks at the long term effects or the effects of one agent combined with others.
  • Studies are almost always on animals and may not correlate exactly with human chemistry.
  • Studies typically look for immediate poisoning signals and cancer, not other effects like depression for example.
  • Once in the marketplace there are $ billions in profits at stake for the manufacturers and the FDA’s reputation is on the line, so we shouldn’t even expect any efforts to prove them unsafe.
  • The herbal sweetener Stevia seems appears to be the safest choice.
  • Our craving for sweetness is nature’s way of guiding us to more nutritious foods. However, the foods that use artificial sweeteners are not usually nutritious and when we short-circuit that instinct with chemicals the body still is hungry for the nutrients. The craving continues.
  • There is not really evidence that these products support weight loss. In fact, the reverse may be true.
  • Moreover, there is evidence that the sweet taste, even from a calorie-free source, will stimulate an insulin response. High insulin levels lead to chronic health problems.
  • The safest bet overall is to reduce our dependence on sweet foods. After you stay off of sweeteners for even a week or two, your taste buds become more sensitive and can taste the subtle natural sweetness in real foods such as almonds.
  • The safest bet overall is to reduce our dependence on sweet foods. After you stay off of sweeteners for even a week or two, your taste buds become more sensitive and can taste the subtle natural sweetness in real foods such as almonds.

Compared to women who rarely consume diet drinks, those who drank two or more a day were 50 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. STUDY

Soda consumption and the risk of stroke in men and women

According to findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pregnant Danish women who consumed at least four servings of artificially sweetened carbonated soft drinks per day were at a 78 per cent higher risk of preterm birth than women who did not consume any soft drinks. Of course, the sweetener industry challenged the findings.

Asteraceae Stevia
(Stevia—the green packets)
An herbal sweetener, it has been used in South America for centuries and safely in Japan for 30 years (I think their safety standards are comparable to those of the US). The Japanese don’t use very much each day and neither do most US tea drinkers. However, Coca-Cola has announced its intention to seek approval for the use of a Stevia extract in soft drinks. (They have the money to do that.) Because it is an extract and sodas are consumed in huge quantities, the safety data might bear a second look.
Supportive information and resources.
Supposedly balanced view, from the online encyclopedia

Aspartame (Nutrasweet® , Equal® – the blue packets) Russell Blaylock, MD says that this chemical has about the same neuroexcitoxin effect as MSG.

There are about 1.5 million Google links to the subject but these are representative:
Aspartame Safety Network
Good overview
What doctors find in their practices on humans (not rats in studies)
Person diagnosed in error with Grave’s Disease. (Also aspartame resources)

92 documented side effects

Suralose (Splenda® – the yellow packets):
What critics say
The manufacturer’s position (Surprise, surprise, they like it.)

Saccharin (Sweet’n Low® – the pink packets)
From Center for Science in the Public interest at the time it was put back on the market

Acesulfame K (or Ace K or Acesulfame potassium – no packets, usually in combinations or as an ingredient)
From the head of the Center for Science in the Public interest


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