Side Effects of the Top 5 Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners (or sugar substitutes) are intended as a healthier and less fattening option.

Artificial Sweeteners

Yogurt and diet sodas are common foods to include this additive. While these sugar substitutes are able to closely copy the sugar taste, they aren’t able to offer any useful energy. Consumer approved artificial sweeteners include:

  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Aspartame
  • Neotame
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose

Out of the five sugar substitutes, aspartame and sucralose are rated as the most dangerous and pervasive choices to appear in a long list of food and drink products.

Below is an overview of the five most harmful artificial sweeteners:

1 – Acesulfame-K

Acesulfame-K (also known as Acesulfame potassium) is a calorie-free sugar substitute and contains methylene chloride, which is known as carcinogens. Similar to aspartame, it is nearly 200 times sweeter than table sugar and included in several hundred beverages and foods.

This type of non-nutritive sweetener acts as a food enhancer and helps to preserve the sweet taste of food. A negative aspect of Acesulfame-K relates to the inclusion of methylene chloride, which is rated as a dangerous chemical.

Side effects related to Acesulfame include increased risk of certain cancer, eyesight problems, impairment of the kidneys and liver, mood problems, headaches, and nausea.

Also, Acesulfame-K has the potential to lead to hypoglycemia.

2 – Aspartame (includes: aspartic acid, methanol & phenylalanine)

Concerns with aspartame relate to aspartic acid and phenylalanine reacting directly with the function of the central nervous system and brain. These chemical components are said to have a key role in neurological illnesses such as memory problems and mood disorders.

When metabolized, methanol is transformed into formaldehyde. Manufacturers of aspartame report that methanol is soon flushed from the system and excreted. But, tests have detected signs of formaldehyde in the brain, kidneys, and liver after using this artificial sweetener.

An amino acid like phenylalanine breaks down at high temperature and transforms into a carcinogen (diketopiperazine (DPK). Phenylalanine has the potential to be dangerous for those with phenylketonuria, which is a hereditary disease.

Side effects related to Aspartame include weight gain, vision problems, brain tumors, neurological disorders, seizures, irritable bowel syndrome, heart palpitations, nausea, depression, abdominal pain, arthritis, memory loss, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and headaches

3 – Neotame

Neotame is an artificial sweetener that follows a similar chemical pattern to aspartame (but without phenylalanine), and may lead to having the same negative impact on the health and well-being. This sweetener is reported to be 7000-12500 times sweeter than table sugar.

Neotame is often blended with other artificial ingredients in hundreds of food products, and not directly available to buy for the consumer. Neotame is the latest artificial sweetener to enter the market, which means there is no research currently available to indicate long-term effects or dangers of its use.

4 – Saccharin

Saccharin is a low-calorie sugar substitute, nearly 650 times as sweet as table sugar, does raising blood sugar levels, and includes benzoic sulfimide as its primary ingredient. This popular sweetener is regarded as the safest of the 5 non-nutritive sweeteners on the market.

Side effects attached to this sulfa-based sweetener may include skin problems, diarrhea, nausea, or other allergy-related symptoms.

5 – Sucralose

Sucralose is a zero calorie synthetic sweetener which comes from chlorinating sugar and is about 650 times sweeter than regular sugar. This no-calorie sugar substitute isn’t naturally broken down by the system, which means it is non-caloric. It has been reported to have a negative impact on a variety of biological effects on the body.

A concern relates to the inclusion of chlorine in sucralose, which is deemed to be safe for human consumption and is a common ingredient in poisonous gases, cleaners, and pesticides.

This artificial sweetener has the potential to shrink the thymus gland (immune system regulator) in accordance with a recent study. Also, a high intake of sucralose can cut the body’s ability to maintain healthy intestinal bacteria, which benefits the digestive system and can also lessen the effectiveness of medication.

Side effects associated with sucralose include inflammation, dizziness, skin irritation, bladder issues, diarrhea, stomach cramps, muscle aches, and headaches.

A low-sugar, all-natural substitute for artificial sweeteners is certain to be a smart option for the health, and it might help improve the well-being over the long-term.

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