Artificial sweeteners stimulate your appetite and can be addictive. They can have side effects such as headaches, weight gain, heart palpitations, mood swings, blurred vision, tremors and kidney damage. Sucralose kills our good bacteria in the gut and damages the gut lining. One recent study revealed sucralose damages DNA in lab animals, this is a sign it can lead to cancer. If you have not yet quit using artificial sweeteners or products that contain them, please do!

Artificial sweeteners

  • Sucralose, Splenda, 600 times sweeter than sugar. Sucralose alters our glucose metabolism, alters our microbiome and if heated, creates toxins. One study found sucralose still in the body 11 days later, after only one serving. This study also found it deposited in the fat tissue. Sucralose is found in many “sugar free” processed foods including flavor pumps at Starbucks.
  • Saccharin, Sweet n low, 300 times sweeter than sugar. Saccharin has been shown to cause liver inflammation and disrupt our microbiome.
  • Aspartame, Equal, Nutrasweet, 200 times sweeter than sugar. Aspartame is found in diet soda and is broken down in the body into Methanol (a poison), Formaldehyde (a neurotoxin) and Aspartic acid (a neuro-excitotoxin)
  • Acesulfame K, Ace K, 200 times sweeter than sugar. Acesulfame potassium has shown to significantly increase chronic inflammation primarily by alterations in the microbiome.

These are chemicals that are foreign to the body. Consuming these on a daily basis has shown to increase your risk of metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) by 35%! They also increase one’s risk for diabetes type 2 by 65%.(1) How does this happen? The problem is that the sweeteners still many times increase insulin production by the pancreas, even though they do not increase glucose levels, they affect how glucose is managed and can cause insulin resistance.

Naturally “derived” sweeteners

These occur in nature, but for the large scale of the food industry they are made synthetically. In the synthetic manufacturing processes, solvents are used and traces of solvents can be left in the products. I do not vote for these as they can disrupt the body in many ways.

  • Allulose is the new kid on the block, derived from fermented corn. It does not cause a glycemic response, does not increase glucose or insulin, however, in Europe and Canada, this has NOT YET been approved for human use.
  • Erythritol is derived from corn or wheat sugar and fermented by yeast. It has a low glycemic response, however, it causes gas and bloating in many individuals. What causes this? Well erythritol acts as a prebiotic and feeds BAD bacteria, which then produce gas and other endotoxins. Recent study reveals an increase in clotting potential and cardiovascular events in those who consume this sweetener. (2)
  • Sorbitol is refined and hydrogenated from potato or grain starch. It has a low glycemic response, however, causes gas and bloating in many individuals. Also used as mouth moisturizer. Sorbitol is half as sweet as sugar.
  • Xylitol is from fermented birch tree fiber. It has a low glycemic response, however, causes gas, bloating or diarrhea in some. Is used in toothpaste, mouthwash, and chewing gum as it prevents gum disease. Xylitol is not sweeter than sugar. Important to note it is deadly to dogs in small amounts.

Natural sweeteners

These actually come from plants and are then concentrated to be much sweeter than sugar but low/no calorie. These two are my favorites. These are fine to use in small amounts for a daily use sweetener.

  • Stevia rebaudiana, aka Truvia is a plant in the mint family. Stevia has a low glycemic response. Using organic form is best. Folks who have a ragweed allergy may react to stevia. Still cannot find any negative studies on stevia. Stevia has been found in studies to upregulate NRF2 which has an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effect.
  • Monk fruit is from an Asian fruit. Low glycemic response, no side effects. Often combined with erythritol in powder form so watch for this. If use this one, use the organic liquid form. (my personal favorite!)

Nature’s sweeteners have equal or slightly lower glycemic index than sugar. Best to use these if you are baking!

  • Palm sugar
  • Coconut palm sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Agave nectar

Hope this helps!