“Sugar Free” Does Not Equal Healthy (and more startling facts about artificial sweeteners)

When a packaged food is touted as “Sugar Free,” that oftentimes means the real sugar has been left behind and replaced with an artificial sweetener. This is yet another reason why it is so important to always read ingredient labels.

Did you know that artificial sweeteners were literally invented in a lab by food scientists and that some of those sweeteners only entered our food system as recently as a few decades ago? That is practically brand new in a world where people have been eating for tens of thousands of years and – in my book – the opposite of the real, traditional foods I strive to feed my family.

The Sugar Association says these artificial replacements are “chemically manufactured molecules – molecules that do not exist in nature.” And as a result, even though we do our best to avoid white (refined) sugar, I’d personally rather eat that (i.e., the real thing) over artificial sweeteners any day. To see which added sweeteners we’ve decided are real food approved, be sure to check out our “No Refined Sweeteners” mini-pledge.

Some “Sugar Free” Examples

(Clearly I see loads of other problems with these ingredient labels, but I am just sticking to the topic at hand today.)

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Recent Headlines

The facts that raise red flags against artificial sweeteners are just startling.

From a Purdue University Study:

“Accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these [artificial] sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”

From TakePart.com:

“We have the abstract of the study and what the laboratory said about leukemia. We don’t have the full data yet. That’s why we put ‘caution’ instead of ‘avoid.’ When there is evidence that something causes cancer, we take that pretty seriously. [Sucralose] caused cancer in the animals. We thought that we should pass that information on, and couldn’t, in good conscious, say it was safe,” says Lisa Lefferts, a senior scientist with CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest).

From CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest):

“In 2012 an independent Italian laboratory announced (but has not yet published) a study that found that sucralose caused leukemia in mice that were exposed from before birth. That was the same lab that several years earlier published studies indicating that aspartame caused cancers in rats and mice.”

From USA Today:

“Despite claims from Coke and other companies about the safety of aspartame, we still don’t know about its long-term effects,” says Karen Congro, a nutritionist and director of the Wellness for Life Club program at the Brooklyn Hospital Center. “Relying on artificial sweeteners probably causes cravings for sweets and sugar, which can contribute to obesity and poor eating habits.”

From Huffington Post:

According to Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D., “A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 36 percent greater relative risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 67 percent greater relative risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared with non-consumption. Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that, in one group of study participants, consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was associated with Type 2 diabetes. The findings are mimicked in rat studies as well. A study in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience found that consumption of products containing artificial sweeteners led to weight gain due to changes in the rat’s normal physiological processes of sweets. In addition to this, the presence of constant artificial sweeteners in the diet means you’re never really letting your taste buds get a break from the sweet taste you love. The more you drink diet soda, the longer you’ll remain trapped in the sugar cycle and continue to crave.” 

Artificial Sweetener Cheat Sheet

Artificial sweeteners come under a variety of different types and brand names, which makes them one of the many confusing aspects of packaged foods.

"Sugar Free" Does Not Equal Healthy from 100 Days of #RealFood #sugarfree
These generic versions are the five FDA-approved artificial sweeteners currently on the market.

Note: Stevia is sometimes classified as an artificial sweetener, but it’s actually derived from the stevia plant. However, it is often sold in a highly processed (powdery white) form, so it is not something we personally use or recommend.

Tell the FDA

Did you know that you can report adverse reactions or other problems associated with FDA-regulated food products? I am not sure how much it really helps, but it certainly can’t hurt. Find the correct number for your state on the FDA website. Be sure to let them know if you or someone you know has had trouble with artificial sweeteners and/or artificial food dyes.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about artificial additives in the comments below.

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186 thoughts on ““Sugar Free” Does Not Equal Healthy (and more startling facts about artificial sweeteners)”

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  1. I do love your website and all the information and enthusiasm for eating better. But with this article as well as other articles from other websites having to do with this subject always leaves me feeling down.

    Why? Because as a diabetic we like sweet things to but we need to stay away from sugars, even honey etc., but we still like to have something sweet. Fruit?, cant have much at all of that either. This all is a super duper bummer :(

  2. There is so much confirmation bias in this post that I feel compelled to comment. The “slew of studies and articles” you have provided don’t actually prove anything (I clicked through and read every one). The full text of the Purdue University study isn’t available without a subscription, but the summary says only that artificial sweeteners MAY be linked to those health issues. I would be curious to know if that study controlled for things such as family history, caloric intake, etc. Just because people in the study who used artificial sweeteners had a higher incidence of these conditions, doesn’t mean the artificial sweeteners caused it (correlation does not equal causation).

    I also find it interesting that you’ve cherry-picked quotes from these articles that agree with you, and ignored the rest. I can go through those same articles and find quotes that actually go against your position. For example, here’s a quote from the USA Today article you link to: “The American Cancer Society also notes that most studies using people have found that aspartame is not linked to an increased risk of cancer, including the largest study on the topic.” (Also, I’m not even sure why USA Today and the Huffington Post are being used as reliable sources. Or the Sugar Association – of course they’re not going to have anything good to say about artificial sweeteners!)

    Here’s a troubling quote from the TakePart link above: ““The Center for Science in the Public Interest is basing recent comments about sucralose on data from an Italian research lab that has not been published and, to our knowledge, not peer reviewed. Previous research from this lab has been questioned by global food safety authorities, partly because it did not follow accepted standards essential for assessing safety,” says the company in a statement provided to TakePart.” Yeah, that sounds legit.

    If you want to avoid artificial sweeteners that’s your right. But the evidence that they are harmful to humans in normal doses is shaky at best. I don’t feel that blog posts such as this are doing much to advance your case.

    1. Very well said…I was thinking the same thing. I am diabetic (type 1 diagnosed when I was ten) and I am in a lot better shape then a lot of people and I use sweetener quite often, as I don’t have any other choice. People should not believe this crap in this article.

      An overweight guy once told me that my sweetener is going to kill me at our local coffee shop as he was dumping 4 tbsp of sugar in his coffee. He must have read this bs blog

      1. “…as I don’t have any other choice.”

        Actually, yes you do. Just stop eating it.
        No one is forcing you to eat sweeteners. It’s not a life or death situation. You do have other choices, but you are just choosing to eat them. There’s nothing wrong with that, but please don’t act like this is your ONLY option.

  3. Thanks for this post! The no sugar added label is definitely very misleading, almost worthless … in my experience, a majority of the “no sugar added” DOES have fake stuff added. There is some no sugar added applesauce that is actually not sweetened with everything … But besides that, I haven’t found much. In addition to the jelly, the little fruit cups that say “no sugar added” have the fake stuff, which is sad to me b/c they are usually for kids, who definitely don’t need chemical sweeteners, particularly in fruit that already should taste sweet by itself!

  4. We use stevia as our main sweetener, and are lucky enough to have a local brand source for one with no crap in it. I used to use Truvia, because I thought it was “real” stevia… then read the label and went ICK. I stay away from aspartame as it gives me headaches and we consider it very bad around here (though my sis is addicted and drinks it all the time). Sugar and home-made maple syrup our our second choice sweeteners, and local honey is our third. I do use splenda and sucralose when I’ve forgotten to bring along other sweeteners, because I consider it less damaging than other choices, but it’s sort of a “lesser of two evils” kind of thing. I try really hard to keep packets of stevia in my purse.

    1. If they like hot or cold tea, the “weird” flavors are pretty good totally unsweetened – the ones that have fruit in them are best (I usually use Celestial Seasonings but Tazo has some good ones too) – but I’ve also never read the label to see how or even if they’re actually clean.

      1. Maria, you may want to do some research on teas. Celestial Seasonings is one of the biggest abusers of using pesticides in their tea-growing operations.

      2. Be aware of the ingredients in tea. I was at Walmart yesterday and was looking for some tea for me and the kids as the weather cools off and we have used up our stash. I was so bummed when I looked at the back of the package to see that All the packages I looked at contained “natural flavors” ! These are Not Natural and are used to hide artificial sweeteners and MSG. Do not buy anything containing natural favors. From here on out I will have to research and learn to make our own tea using herbs.

    2. Lifewater Zero is sweetened with stevia and erythritol, so it works for people who are dealing with blood sugar issues. Herbal teas are good, almond milk, and some of the stevia-sweetened sodas may work for some people (Blue Sky brand and Zevia).

    1. Hi. What worked well for a friend & I was slowly decreasing the amount of Splenda until we drank it Splenda-free. We decreased from 2 packets per cup down to nadda in a couple of months.

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Lucy. Unless blood sugar is a sensitive issue, a bit of a somewhat less refined organic sugar is a better option. Coconut palm sugar (said to be lower glycemic) is my coffee sweetener of choice,outside of the pledge. ~Amy

  5. What do you suggest diabetics use to for a sweetener? I would think honey &maple syrup would raise the blood sugar more than artificial sweetener? Is there a better alternative?? Thanks in advance.

      1. While I know you don’t recommend stevia as a sweetener, Lisa, for those of us who must be on a low-glycemic diet, we have few options for sweeteners. I’ve chosen to use the highest quality pure stevia extract powder I can find, and sometimes I use erythritol as well. Xylitol gives me awful stomach upset, even when I tried to gradually build up my use of it, so that’s out. I’m pre-diabetic, so in order to not become a Type 2 diabetic eventually, I have two choices: never eat sweets again, including anything sweetened with agave, honey, molasses, and maple syrup, or choose to make some homemade sweets with stevia extract and the occasional use of erythritol. I’ve chosen the latter option, because it works for me and I can stay on a low-glycemic diet for years…instead of caving and eating something sugary sweet every few days.

    1. I just learned tonight that Tupelo Honey does not cause a sugar/insulin spike, like other types of sweeteners, including other types of honey. This was from a beekeeper, who likes to educate people about the health benefits of honey. You may want to try looking into that.
      The other thing that I have heard/read is that because artificial sweeteners taste sweet, they cause your body to release insulin to counteract the sugar that it is expecting. However, since there is no real sugar in your body (because it is sweet chemicals,) you then have an abnormally high amount of insulin, so your body must release glucagon to bring the insulin levels back to normal. In essence, artificial sweeteners cause an abnormal hormone response, and it must jump through all kinds of hoops to get things back to right. Artificial sweeteners may be a cause of insulin resistance.

    2. While I am not a doctor and cannot give medical advice either, Raw, pure honey is low glycemic. I mean, you don’t want to eat a bottle of honey in a day, and sugar is sugar, but if you need to sweeten something like oatmeal and whatnot, I would use raw honey.

  6. I had daily headaches years ago. Stopped my one-a-day diet soda and they went away. I strongly believe it was due to the artificial sweetener.

  7. I am a diabetic. Became one while drinking regular soda, juices, etc. I am overweight, but not by much. I drink diet soda, and take insulin now and maintain a low carb diet. My weight is coming down slowly, I do NOT crave sweets and feel fine. I think it is like anything else, everything will cause cancer and kill you.

  8. Brittany @ proteinandpumps

    When I was first diagnosed with hypoglycemia I ate a lot of “sugar free” foods but found eating them made me feel just as bad as eating real sugar, but in a different way. Now I steer clear of it all but if I have a craving I definitely go for the real thing. Some sibstitues I like are stevia (the real plant) and coconut palm sugar.

  9. Elizabeth, I am in my mid 40’s, also, and healthy. I did drink a diet Coke every day. All of a sudden my vision started getting blurry, my legs felt heavier and heavier every day until I couldn’t move them anymore sometimes. I got off aspartame, and all my symptons went away. Just be careful. Aspartame is nasty. I think it kills brain cells, too.

    1. @ Amy: Aspartame can be detrimental for the individuals with a disorder called, phenylketonuria (PKU), because these individuals don’t have a well-functioning enzyme that metabolizes phenylalanine to tyrosine (FYI aspartame consists of amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine). When phenylalanine accumulates in our body system, especially the individuals with PKU, people can suffer from adverse effects (can’t exactly remember what it does, but I think there is a neurological effect associated with this disease). That’s why you can see a warning on food labels like Diet Coke, saying that there is aspartame contained in this food product. This would be mainly to give a heads up to the individuals with PKU, but also many people that are concerned about what they are eating.

      Although these artificial sweetners are used in our processed food because they are considered to be “safe”, but I strongly agree with this article about trying to stay away from these sweetners. We don’t know the long term effect of these artificial sweetners, so we should always be careful of what we are putting into our mouths :]

    2. I just read a scary article about aspartame causing MS like symptoms. Once the aspartame was removed from the diet, all symptoms went away.

  10. I have been drinking Dt Coke or other diet drinks for years because research has been telling us that aspartame is safe unless consumed in huge quantities ( pretty much unattainable for most humans). I eat a very healthy diet but choose not to drink just water. Juice and booze are pretty much empty calories so I avoid them. I am in my mid-40’s and I feel I am healthier than most 20 yr olds. I run a few miles almost daily & have no health issues. I don’t think that drinking diet drinks makes you gain weight because I’ve been pretty much the same weight for the past 25 years ( due to my healthy eating habits & exercise). I definitely avoid acesulfame potassium & saccharin because the research has shown that these two sweeteners can lead to cancer.

  11. I used to be a heavy user of artificial sweeteners. I got off in 2012 when my OB said that it may be the cause of my infertility. The only place I haven’t been able to eliminate is in my toothpaste. The one I have uses sorbitol. Do you know anything about it?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Piper. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol as are xylitol, erythritol and maltitol. While not technically considered “artificial sweeteners” (at least not by the USDA) and classified most commonly as “natural” (they do show up in nature in some fruits), what you purchase is made in a food lab. Be aware that sugar alcohols can cause a bit of discomfort in you gut and digestive track, since your body doesn’t quite know what to do with them. ~Amy

    2. You can make your own toothpaste out of baking soda, a little water and some peppermint oil. It is a different texture to get used to, but you know it is clean and good for you.

  12. I try to stay away from anything artificial if at all possible. The opposite of “artificial” or “fake” is genuine or real. For the past 50 years, humans have gone out of their way to dump the “real” for the “fake”. Mostly cost I’m sure, and greed by manufacturers.

    That being said, your cited sources have way too many “probablys” and “mays” IMO to be considered acceptable statistics.

    Bottom line, stay away from as many fake foods as possible, and definitely stay away from Frankenstein food! Why would you want to eat anything fake?

  13. Stevia has some negative studies. In one, it (even in the pure form) was shown to alter DNA due to the production of a mutagen produced when stevia is metabolized. It’s also shown to effect female and male reproductive organs. There have been more serious side effects found with Stevia than any of the chemical sweeteners. Most of these are found are high doses, but it effects female reproduction even at lower doses.

    Your best bet is to limit “sweets” of any kind and realize that no sweetener is going to go “free.” They all come with some negatives, no matter how natural they are. It makes me so mad when people use Stevia indiscriminately because it’s “natural.” Lots of bad things are natural.

    We just need to train our bodies not to crave sweets, and then we won’t need any sweeteners.

    (This article’s “Sources” section has some great links to the original studies on Stevia that back me up: http://examine.com/supplements/Stevia/)

  14. In answer to truvia the bottom line is money…. I will say “they” as to not impose on any one certain entitity But they do not care about our health it’s a matter of taking a natural grown stevia plant ( used for years in china) putting it in a lab adding chemicals to mass produce and because it came from a natural plant they use the term natural in its ingredients. it is not natural it is chemically altered, as is many of the so called natural items on the market now. They even have artificicial ingredients in low fat milk. The one bad effect natural cane sugar has is overuse. If used in a moderate fashion it is harmless.

  15. Have you looked into coconut palm sugar? It is not supposed to raise your glycemic index like other sugars do. Xylitol is a processed sweetner, but it good to use if no other alternative.

  16. When I was diagnosed with type one diabetes at age 24 my dietitian pushed “sugar free” items on me so I started using them( she meant no harm). I got crazy head aches. From then on I went to the Bible for my dietary needs “Sugar free” isn’t part of the guidelines. I now eat a whole food diet, life is so much better.

  17. I stopped artificial sweeteners almost 20 years ago when a co-worker became pregnant and shared that her doctor advised her to avoid them. Still moving toward whole food. Boy do I love sugar and butter. Sigh.

  18. I am allergic to both Splenda and Nutra Sweet, so I steer clear of these products that say sugar free or reduced sugar. However, I am finding that companies are now putting sucralose in products that do not say anything on the front about reduced sugar or another one of those tricky phrases. I was drinking Swiss Miss last night, that said new and improved on the front of the box. I did not read the ingredients, my fault. A couple of sips in, I knew I made a mistake. It contains sucralose. :( Swiss Miss does not make a regular cocoa without sucralose now. Very sad that companies are putting sucralose in everything. I will be reading my labels very carefully and making my own cocoa in the future.

  19. I am a big advocate for real food and I cook mostly all organic or as natural as possible. I even use honey or molasses for sweeteners over sugar as well. However, my husband was diagnosed with a severe case of diabetes in July and my whole cooking regime/menu has had to change. I’m having a huge problem overcoming cooking with more processed food. However, we were told that if things didn’t change, my husband would be dead within 5 years. So, I’m battling trying to do right by my kids (whole foods) and right by my husband (low carb/sugar free foods). I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place on this one.

    1. Have you looked into coconut palm sugar? It is not supposed to raise your glycemic index like other sugars do. Xylitol is a processed sweetner, but it good to use if no other alternative.

  20. My two cents: Anyone who suffers from migraines or extreme headaches should check all labels for artificial sweeteners. I am a believer that aspamarte and sucralose cause migraines. Check your drink labels! It took me a long time to realize Crystal Light caused or contributed to my own migraines.
    Lisa- I too would love to see a blog comparing sugar, corn (or Karo) syrup, Truvia, and Stevia. (I apologize if you’ve already done one in the past). It would be beneficial with the holidays coming up, and I’m sure many of us are cookie bakers.

  21. How do you feel about Sugar In The Raw? I noticed that they have liquid cane that can be added to drinks for some sweetness.

  22. We stopped using Splenda a number of years ago. It caused my husband to have blotchy red areas on him. After conversations with several folks about it and suggestions that the Splenda might be causing it, we cut it out. The blotchy red areas disappeared. We use NOW Foods Better Stevia, which we order from Bodybuilding.com. They also carry the liquid Stevia. I wrote Bruce Bradley regarding the NOW foods brand after reading his blog on Truvia. His reply was “I believe that pure stevia products like the one you listed below are better than the blends like Truvia.” We don’t use too much but definitely don’t use any Splenda, Nutrasweet, etc.

      1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

        Yeah, sorry. We get a lot of comments on current and past posts. Sometimes it takes a while to get to all of them. ~Amy

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. This was my previous response to another question regarding a similar sugar alcohol: “Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol as are xylitol, erythritol and maltitol. While not technically considered “artificial sweeteners” (at least not by the USDA) and classified most commonly as “natural” (they do show up in nature in some fruits), what you purchase is made in a food lab. Be aware that sugar alcohols can cause a bit of discomfort in you gut and digestive track, since your body doesn’t quite know what to do with them. Our take is that it is a better choice to stick with sweeteners that are as unrefined and as close to nature as possible, like honey and maple syrup, and to limit sugar intake, in general. That said, we know that managing blood sugar can be extremely difficult for those with diabetes, hypoglycemia and such, and those choices must be based on what works for the physiological sensitivities of each individual.” Hope that helps. ~Amy

  23. I’ve tried to kick the diet soda habit several times before and I keep coming back to it. I know it contributes to my headaches but now l’ve developed severe joint pain in my extremities: hands and feet. I think it might be connected to the diet soda. Has anyone else experienced this?

    1. I used to have a lot of joint pain, as well, as a teenager, when I drank diet soda like crazy. Now I’m in my 30s and have hardly any joint pain. I haven’t drunk diet sodas for years.
      My parents have the same joint pain but drink diet soda instead of water. They have a friend who was having all sorts of chronic pain issues in joints and muscles. She cut out all her diet soda and was feeling younger within a month.
      A lot of my friends of my age have cut diet soda out of their diets after growing up on the stuff, and they all feel much better in general. I think drinking it constantly while we were kids really did a number on us.

  24. What form of stevia is acceptable? Where can I purchase it also there are no whole food, trader joes or any organic stores where I live.

  25. This couldn’t be more well timed for me, as I’m working on reducing sugar intake. I know that Aspartame is very bad, I had short term memory issues when consuming diet soda with aspartame. 5 days off, and I was much better.

    I was just having a discussion with a friend about Stevia and Xylitol. I didn’t see xylitol on your list. So do you consider it natural?

  26. In my early 20’s I drank one or two diet sodas a day (this was before I discovered coffee). Over time I developed problems with stuttering and memory loss. Being in good health, I could link it to nothing other than the artificial sweeteners in the diet sodas. When I stopped drinking diet sodas, the stuttering went away and my memory improved. I also used to eat “light” yogurts (which contain artificial sweeteners as well). For a long time I thought I was lactose intolerant (I didn’t eat much dairy otherwise). When I did start drinking cow’s milk and eating cheese, I didn’t have the same problems. When I eliminated the “light” yogurt and switched to the regular kind, my symptoms completely disappeared.

  27. Aspartame has also been linked with poor breastmilk supply — my milk dried up prematurely with 3 of my 4 kids.
    I was drinking diet soda when nursing all 3 of them.
    The one baby I was able to nurse for a full year was at a point in my life when I wasn’t drinking any diet soda!

    Since dropping sugar free sweeteners, I’ve also stopped having frequent headaches!

  28. I have more problems with corn syrup than the splenda in the coffee creamer, love that there is a choice with the jam as I would never ever eat real sugar. So to me these types of scare posts are misleading. Real sugar is more dangerous to the body than a little bit of splenda

    1. SkeeterN – I am really surprised to read your comment given the slew of studies and articles I have shared above proving the exact opposite. This is not about scare tactics…this is simply about the facts.

      1. So “slew” equals five random articles…two of which are from the same source (TakePart and CSPI). As far as I know, single studies don’t ever “prove” anything.

        I’m not saying artificial anything is good or bad, I’m saying your “slew of facts” isn’t much and may not be fact. Especially since “may” and “probably” are used quite often in the quotes you cited.

        Those articles also don’t address the alternative (sugar) and its long-term effects. It would be interesting to know how much of an artificial sweeter must be consumed before negative effects show in direct comparison to sugar.

        Either way, I think we can all agree we shouldn’t have much of any of it.

      2. @Slew: It’s called the Precautionary Principle. Studies indicate (even though they don’t prove) negative impacts of artificial sweeteners.

        100% proof of anything is a pipe-dream in the world of food science, especially considering the deep pockets of various industries trying to combat one another in the lab (i.e., the artificial sweetener lobby AND the sugar lobby).

        It is also true that sugar is harmful. Is a small amount of sugar less harmful than a small amount of aspartame on a regular basis? Who knows? I tend to believe so, but I acknowledge that this is a belief and not a scientific fact. What Lisa was trying to point out, however, is that claims that something is “sugar free” should not be taken as carte blanche pro-consumption, which is how they are marketed. You’re right; it’s trading one poison for another and THAT is exactly what people need to understand.

        Personally, I say stay away from both as much as you can, especially in your beverages.

        It’s the same as the “low fat” craze that shifted the processed food industry to add sugar and sodium to everything in place of fat. It just shifted the health costs around. #1 recommendation: stay away from processed foods!

      3. I can also share studies how seriously dangerous sugar is. How that our bodies cannot tell the difference in the sugar in an apple and the sugar in a candy bar. Sugar is sugar is sugar. I will not eat sugar or any fruit except berries. I do not believe that a small amount of splenda is dangerous in comparison the the dangers of sugar. I just choose my poison.

      4. This flies in the face of both real food philosophy and historical precedent. Humans have eaten fruit for hundreds upon hundreds of years, it’s one of the most “natural” foods for humans on the planet. In addition, humans historically ate foods that the body broke down into sugars, which is not the same as food that has been sweetened with sugars. An apple is not the same as a Popsicle!

      5. Dr. James Carlson a MD and molecular biologist said that sugar is sugar is sugar. That the sugar in an apple and a sugar in a Popsicle that the body cannot tell the difference. I am talking strictly sugar here not other vitamins. That believe it or not the cells aren’t that smart. That the blood sugar reacts the same and rises the same and possibly even faster with an apple. I eat foods that do not raise my blood sugar.

  29. Thanks for the info. I actually tried to contact my local FDA to let them know my experience with 10+ years of frequent migraines and my recent discovery that they were caused by aspartame. No more diet soda for me, and what were frequent, twice or more per week migraines are now only once or twice a month due to hormones. When I called and left a message with the FDA, no one ever bothered to get back to me. I don’t know that it does any good to let them know, but it was worth a try. I wish someone had told me the dangers of aspartame many years ago!

  30. I stay away from anything that says “sugar free” with the exception of gum, the non-aspartame version I have found is expensive and hard for me to find. I tell my children to stay away from as well ( they are older) and thankfully they listen. I am working on cutting down the amount of processed sugar I use but would much rather have that then fake. I did not realize the powder Stevia was extremely processed, I have had a difficult time find liquid stevia but will keep trying to locate. Thank you for the great information!

    1. Its easy to find liquid stevia online, try amazon. Make sure to find one that is not overly processed, usually a colored glass bottle. Nunaturals is one that comes to mind…