“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.)

"Sugar Free" Does Not Equal Healthy from 100 Days of #RealFood #sugarfree
"Sugar Free" Does Not Equal Healthy from 100 Days of #RealFood #sugarfree
"Sugar Free" Does Not Equal Healthy from 100 Days of #RealFood #sugarfree

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.

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

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

  1. I have been told that agave can be used as a natural substitute for other sweeteners. What are the benefits or risks of using this as a diabetic who is trying to lose quite a bit of weight (excess of 100 pounds)?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. We really do not use any artificial sweeteners but understand it is necessary for some. In a pinch, I would choose stevia.

      1. Thanks for your answer. Our family doesnt use any either but I wanted to get some info on xylitol just because. :) Thanks again.

      2. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

        It is a sugar alcohol. My personal experience with it in chewing gum is a bloated belly. :)

      3. Xylitol can cause stomach upset, as most sugar alcohols. Erythritol is a fermented 0 calorie sweeter similar to xylitol but easier on the stomach. It’s also harder to find and a lot more expensive

    1. I am not 100% sure but try asking your doctore about stevia. When I was a trainer we were told to recommend it as a safe option to ask doctors about. ALWAYS ask your doctor.

    2. I have been searching the internet with the same question! I love the idea of clean eating, but as a type 1- I can’t implement maple syrup as an alternative & I see that in a lot of the recipes I want to make on here.

  2. Hi! I was wondering how you felt about carbonated water? I like Perrier and only drink the regular kind because of the “natural flavors” in the lime and grapefruit flavored ones. So is carbonated water ok? And are natural flavors ok? I have stayed away from natural flavors because I didn’t think they were the best thing for me!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. Carbonated water is fine. If you need a little flavor add a squeeze of your own lemon, limes, oranges, etc. :)

    2. The term “natural flavors” on any label doesn’t mean a thing – just advertising buzz words to make consumers believe they are getting something they aren’t.

  3. Today, I looked for fruit juice concentrates. Unfortunately, there are very few that don’t have added sugar or sweeteners. The ones that almost got me were “no added sugar” fruit juice concentrates (Robinsons). But knowing a bit about Robinsons products, I suspected that claim. After a bit of web searching, I found the ingredients list, and sure enough, there is “no added sugar”. That is, no natural sugars have been added. But plenty of unnatural sweeteners have been added.

    Here are the ingredients for “Robinsons Double Concentrated Summer Fruits No Added Sugar” per Waitrose:

    Water, Fruit Juices from Concentrate 20% (Apple 18%, Strawberry 0.8%, Plum, Blackcurrant, Cherry 0.3%), Acid (Citric Acid), Natural Colours (Anthocyanins), Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate), Sweeteners (Sucralose, Acesulfame K), Natural Flavourings, Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Metabisulphite), Stabiliser (Cellulose Gum)

    Sucralose, Acesulfame K — maybe not “sugar” but definitely added sweeteners!

    And for “Robinsons Double Concentrate Orange & Pineapple No Added Sugar” ingredients:

    Water, Orange Fruit from Concentrate (16%), Pineapple Juice from Concentrate (4%), Acid (Citric Acid), Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate), Natural Flavouring, Sweeteners (Aspartame, Saccharin), Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Metabisulphite), Stabiliser (Cellulose Gum), Natural Colour (Carotenes).

    Now it’s Aspartame and Saccharin — eeek!!

    So, obviously, the “No added sugar” on the front doesn’t even come close to “unsweetened” pure juice concentrate. They are out there, but difficult to find. Suma, for example, sells an organic apple juice concentrate with just — wait for it — concentrated apple juice! Now, if I could only find an orange juice concentrate with only concentrated orange juice. (*sigh*) Wish me luck!

  4. Is there any form of Stevia that is safe and how do we know? I started drink a sparkling water flavored with Stevia and has good flavor. I thought this was good. I am having a hard time breaking the soda addiction without having something with real flavor in it and not a ton of calories. It is so defeating. I drink SOBE Lifewater which has “Purified Stevia Leaf Extract” in it. What should it say if it is the good kind of Stevia if there is such a thing? It says on the bottle that there are no artificial sweeteners in it. Some teas are bland or have too many calories. It is discouraging.

  5. I am borderline diabetic and am fighting to reverse my numbers. I cannot use sugar and eschewed it from my diet. Monk fruit is my choice and at this point I have to stick with that.

    1. I made chocolate chip cookies with monk fruit sweetner and they were delicious. I left out the chocolate chips but just made that same batter and added some oatmeal. I loved them

  6. Hey i suffer severe migraines and find it impossible to find full sugar squash etc in supermarkets (uk based) the reason for wanting full sugar is aspartamine causes severe headache and often makes people very ill if they drink lots of us. People need to stop worrying about lots of sugar and just use moderation instead of sweeteners as they can cause more problems. At least sugar is natural unlike sweeteners that are produced in a factory.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Joanna. Like other sugars, palm sugar is fine outside of the pledge used in moderation. When I do sweeten something, palm sugar is my sweetener of choice.

  7. I’m curious to hear your opinion on stevia. I frequently use flavored stevia in place of sugar or other sweeteners

  8. I have to echo Andrew’s statements about the examples not really being legit. Of course, since many of these sweeteners are relatively new, there is limited information about their long-term effects in humans. So if there are long-term effects–and that is your primary concern–then you may have a point. However, none of these data support the often heard claim that artificial sweeteners are “just as bad” as real sugar. When I hear this claim, I ask “what’s the evidence for that”? The only answers I get back are usually vague comments about them being “not natural”. That is not evidence. Let’s take the examples above:

    1. From Purdue: This is an opinion piece that posits a hypothesis. It is not a primary research paper. To be sure, there are likely supporting pieces of evidence in the article, but it is not clear-cut.

    2. TakePart: Huge RED FLAG here–they don’t have the data yet! Let’s wait for the data because it is, by definition, the evidence. Lacking it we cannot evaluate anything.

    3. CSPI: Same as #2. Rumors are not evidence.

    4. USA Today: It’s reasonable to think that a new additive could have long-term effects. However, this statement is not evidence of any harm caused by these products.

    5. Note the control group is non consumers. If your question is, “Are artificial sweeteners worse than sugar?” You have to compare to folks eating sugar. Maybe a 2 cans of diet Coke per day habit is worse for type 2 diabetes than no Diet Coke, but is it worse than 2 cans of regular Coke per day? I doubt it (but fully admit that I don’t know and I am open to bona fide, controlled evidence.)

    I think its really important to not over-demonize these substances. It is very likely that they aid folks who need to cut calories and decrease their sugar intake to do so. Obesity is a huge problem in the US and a lot is clearly due to the huge sugar habit we have as a nation!

    It’s also clear that artificial sweeteners are not a robustly toxic/carcinogenic substance. We’d have those data by now. What I mean is that this is not a smoking cigarettes and lung cancer connection we’re talking about. I doubt they’ll have a perfect health record (what does?), but until we have real evidence to show that their bad for you, let’s be reserved in our judgement.

    Importantly, I do agree we shouldn’t assume they’re harmless either, so let’s do the good, well-controlled studies!

  9. I haven’t read through all the comments to see if anyone else posted this, so I apologize if it’s a duplicate. What is your opinion on artificial sweeteners for those with Type II Diabetes? As a conscientious individual with this condition, I’d rather use these than send my glucose readings sky high (which is what happens with sugar). Artificial sweeteners work for me and many others with diabetes, I’m sure. Sweeteners can help us feel less excluded when it comes to food choices. I think it’s more important to be savvy with our nutrition and educate ourselves, rather than to rule out a single ingredient. Those with diabetes have a hard enough time with conflicting (and I believe, incorrect) information from the ADA. We’re not going to die because we use Splenda in our coffee versus using sugar.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Tracy. Certainly, we understand that there are medical conditions that make it more necessary to consume artificial sugars. My Type II mom in law has had the most luck with stevia. ~Amy

  10. Recent Headlines
    “The facts that raise red flags against artificial sweeteners are just startling”. Seriously? These “facts” are terrible examples. If we relied on the results of animal studies for all the food we eat, we wouldn’t be to consume anything. We know that animal studies cannot be directly compared with human studies. Likewise, just because a study shows a correlation between two variables, such as artificial sweeteners and risk of excessive weight gain, doesn’t mean that one causes another. Perhaps those who consume significant amounts of artificial sweeteners also consume a lot of other products that are high in calories thus, leading to their excessive weight gain. Anyone who has completed a science degree in their lifetime, such as nutrition, should at least be able to critically appraise crappy sources of information this, and be a little more critical. If you are going to argue a point, at least use sound research to back it up.

    To everyone else on this site, just because you read it on the internet, doesn’t make it fact.

  11. I am going to look at gum labels as I know they too often times use artificial sweeteners. What information is there on gums/mints that are ‘safer’ for consumption? Xylitol is found in natural products but is altered in order to extract and use. It also has dental benefits. I have a 5 year old who loves to chew gum. Any thoughts?

  12. I was wondering what happens if you leave foods with artificial sugar in them in the car during hot weather, such as sugar-free gum?

  13. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Kim. Lisa’s choices are honey and maple syrup and that is what she uses in almost all of our baking, as well. ~Amy

  14. What are some good sugar whole food substitutes for a picky 3 year old? Like what woul I use to make cinnamon raisin bread?

  15. I have been looking at a lot of your questions and answers.. helped me open my eyes a lot more.. I use the sweetener “Truvia” how does that rate in the bad/good column?

  16. Thank you for posting this article. I am a long term advocate of adjective free food…People who use “diet” products seldom want to hear about the problems with their food choices and therefore it isn’t because I expect to convince anyone…it just does my heart good to know i’m not the “only one” concerned about this stuff. If you’re putting this info out there people who are like minded can take care of themselves.

  17. What about 100% agave syrup? I haven’t seen anything on here about that. It has always been my go to sweetener for tea.

  18. My daughter who is a certified nutritionist something (? lol) told me about Xylitol that she gets at whole foods. They also sell a gum called Spry sweetened with it.

  19. I have a buddy that used to eat 6 of those “sugar free” lo carb candy bars because he said they were “healthier” than the regular bars. I told him candy is candy and should be a treat not a meal. He wondered why he suffered adverse reactions and weight gain from them. Until he went to the Dr. and was told most of those contain Sorbitol which in high doses have a laxative effect to them. I told him he was an idiot but try arguing with one…

    Here is another site that compares all the sweeteners:

  20. During the past year or so, I have found several products that contain artificial sweeteners (mostly Sucrolose and/or Asulfame Potassium – but occasionally Aspartame) that are NOT labeled “sugar free” or “diet”. Had I not read the ingredients list, I would have unknowingly purchased a product with one of the artificial sweeteners I avoid. I wish the FDA would require products containing artificial sweeteners to be clearly labeled, but since they don ‘t, read the ingredients list ALWAYS. Some of the products I found contain sugar and an artificial sweetener; so when you see “sugar” on the ingredients list, keep reading.

  21. I used to drink diet Pepsi. Even warm. As the years went by I noticed an increase of spasms in my legs. They became way beyond the normal Charlie horse.. so severe I could not walk at times. When diet soda is consumed warm the health risks mount drastically. it has something to do with the ester of wood Rosen (turns into a type of formaldehyde when combined with low cal sweetner. Since not using artificial sweetners in any known form I have regained my life back.I have to stay vigilant as labels and contents change and since in a while get in trouble if I eat out but my nightmare us over. It makes me feel like my country has failed me though..

  22. While fishing, my husband & I would drink 6 to 8 diet cokes per day. We were retired so this happened almost every day. I also chewed sugar free gum. My stomach started hurting. My doctor said that I had too many ulcers to count. I also had ulcers in my mouth caused by the gum. We finally decided to give up diet cokes which was hard.

  23. Have been an anti-artificial sweetener advocate since Nutrasweet came out! At the time, I was pregnant with my oldest daughter who know is in college, feeling old, lol, and I started drinking diet sodas to lower sugar intake & supposedly be healthier since I was pregnant & not wanted to gain a ton of weight. This was the only thing that I had changed in my diet & I started getting severe headaches, dizziness, sick to my stomach, and other ailments not associated with particularly being pregnant. After having my daughter,I finally figured out that it was the artificial sweetener when returning to diet items other than sodas such as diet puddings and they also made me sick! These chemicals immediately made me sick & I am a believer that they are making America sick, maybe it takes longer for someone to feel the effects, but I believe they are showing up in the long-term as diabetes, and other diseases that with all of our modern-day means seam to be increasing rather than decreasing. Why? Because it is our food that is making us sick! Love this 100 Foods site & emails & have been adapting this whole foods life slowly but surely in my family! It is working…because when we do stray back to our old ways…..we feel the negative effects!! Wanted to not only share my story, but my purpose for replying was to share 2 things: 1) Even though we are fairly knew to the whole foods idea, I have ALWAYS AVOIDED sugar-free labeled products, but yesterday my daughter made some NON-SUGAR FREE gelatin & despite the fact that the product was NOT labeled SUGAR FREE….it HAD ASPARTAME in the product…..I guess it also had sugar so it wasn’t considered SUGAR FREE, but NOW I guess these chemicals are showing up in NON SUGAR FREE labeled products TOO! Just goes to show you ALWAYS READ THE LABELS for the INGREDIENTS!! My daughter could taste the Aspartame immediately luckily & we pitched the product! 2) Secondly, I wanted to share a link I just saw on Facebook that shows exactly detailed info on how these artificial sweeteners & OTHER CHEMICALS in our foods are doing to people & here is the link for all to read! It’s very interesting: http://oracletalk.com/10-foods-sold-u-s-banned-elsewhere/ Thanks & here’s to REAL & WHOLE FOODS!!

    1. In the late 90’s I had a ton of medical issues and felt absolutely horrible. I had headaches, numbness and tingling in my arms and legs, panic attacks, and many other symptoms. I truly believed I was dying and didn’t know why. Every test the doctors did on my heart, brain, and everything else came back negative. As I was eating a “light” yogurt one morning I happened to read the ingredients. I wondered what aspartame was so I went to the computer and did some research. I had known for years that Nutra Sweet gave me headaches and I avoided it but I had no idea that it was now in foods under other names like acelfame K and acelfame potassium. My doctors didn’t believe that this was the cause of my problems but I was convinced it was. I decided to do only “real food” way back then and became fanatical about reading labels and not eating any pre-packaged or processed foods. It took about six months but that is the only change I made and ALL of my symptoms disappeared. Lately I have also noticed that many products are sneaking in artificial sweeteners. It is so important to ALWAYS read the labels. We used to buy cocoa mix once in a while but when I went to buy another can I read the label and found aspartame in the ingredients! Don’t assume that you know a product is “safe” because you have bought it for years! There are posts on this that say there is no evidence…but there are thousands of stories like mine about what this stuff does to people. Instead of being believed we are seen as crazy…but I know what my experience was and you will never convince me that artificial sweeteners aren’t toxic.

  24. Funny our Hospital system which is the largest in the state of Indiana took all of the regular pop out of the hospitals and we now only have fruit juices and sugar free pop. You would think they of all people would research this more . People just think if something happens to them we can save them. Well guess what …. we can’t …don’t bankrupt yourself or your family just because you can cut the crap out of your diet. yes it is hard to give up sweets and I am guilty of it too but I have tried to get away from “low cal” , sugar free etc stuff. We also gave up meat and dairy….

    1. Teri, it’s funny you say about your hospital system replacing all sodas with sugar free drinks……..guess what, our school system did the SAME with all of the soda machines in all of our schools years ago….funny I agree they probably thought this was saving our kids from the sugar & weight gain. But ironically it hasn’t helped at all with the childhood obesity problems…..if anything, I would be willing to bet that other health issues have increased as a result. I may even just ask our health nurse if headaches, & stomach problems have increased?? It would be interesting to note. Of course my children have AVOIDED artificial sweeteners & I pack their lunches, but there are lots of kids who do NOT have a choice! Just wanted to thank you for sharing this because it has sparked my attention to the fact that something needs to be done about this in our schools…..these products need to be removed! Thanks!!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Susan. I do not know much about it, really. From the little research I have done, it seems that what is available is highly processed and also contains added sweeteners. ~Amy

  25. Great post! Our family doesn’t do any artificial anything…at least knowingly…but it’s hard to keep track sometimes, because it seems like everything has something artificial in it – including chewing gum. Amazing! It’s a great reminder that we have to be more diligent in what we buy…buying or not buying is making a statement or “voicing” our approval/disapproval.

  26. I had a dear friend of mine die of Pancreatic Cancer over a decade ago. Despite being a surgical nurse, she was a diet-soda addict. I’m not sure how we (mutual friends) ended up making the connection, but I swore the stuff off way back then and haven’t looked back.

    1. Mrs. Fuller,

      Thanks for sharing!! I also had a friend who was obese & she started eating ONLY “diet” foods plus she exercised she did lose a good bit of weight but she was on a strict caloric intake type diet also using ONLY these DIET products. Your comment helped me put two and two together and it makes perfect sense….but when my friend went through this she also at the same time got sooo sick & ended up in the hospital & almost dying from pancreas problems. She was out of work forever and suffered financial issues from this as well….looking back it had to be all of the DIET products making her sick!! I haven’t talked to her in a while but I can’t wait to talk with her to see if she had made any connections with the DIET products causing her problems. On a side coincidental note, I know another “Mrs. Fuller” as she was my daughters science teacher in their high school & she was both their favorite teachers!! Thanks!

  27. THANK you for posting this. I lost my Mom to Leukemia/Lymphoma a few years ago and even then, they suspected artificial sweeteners and other processed foods (as well as medications and exposure to radiation through x-rays and such) as a cause for what my mom had. Ever since then, we have been anti-artificial sweetener. Sometimes, obviously, we do not catch it in things but do the best we can.

    People think I’m nuts but I’ve seen the long term effects of these type of substances. I’ll stick to food without it thank you!

  28. It’s so frustrating how most people aren’t bothered by this. “Oh, I’ve heard that, but I just can’t live without my diet Coke!” They do such a magnificent job of lying/marketing.

  29. Question: if it is stevia in the liquid form is it safer then? I have my tea sweet and use stevia to sweeten in but I’m just not sure if any other sweeteners besides honey, which has too many calories for me.
    Another questions I have is, I bake cupcakes and cookies etc for my children’s birthdays holidays etc., and I wonder what can I use in place of regular sugar or brown sugar? I’ve made muffins with honey but some children I know are allergic so I can’t always rely on that. What do you suggest when baking sweets?

      1. Okay..thank you. And I can substitute coconut sugar for regur sugar in anything?? We do not have a Kroger or a whole foods where I live but we do have a Publix and one natural
        Heath food store. Maybe I can find it there. Thanks!

      2. I’m pretty sure it’s a 1:1 substitute. I remember the ratio being on the coconut sugar bag. I’ve never been to a Publix, but Kroger is our mainstream grocery store. It carries lots of natural alternatives now-a-days, so I’m sure many mainstream stores do. Coconut sugar is more expensive at Whole Foods than at Kroger. It’s not cheap, but quality food rarely is. It’s still sugar…so moderation is key, but I have used it with great success in baking. I also use cane sugar in baking. And honey (as you noted). It’s actually rare that I use cane sugar, and I never ever use white sugar anymore. Ever. There are definitely great substitutions out there for white sugar!:)

  30. Can anyone recommend a good fever reducer for kids that doesnt have sucralose in it? My little guy was recently sick, and all the acetaminophen & ibuprofen at my local pharmacy had some sort of artificial sweetner in it.

    1. Jen, the “wet sock treatment” definitely has no sucralose in it! I’ve used it on my son (he was 16 months at the time) and it is very effective for breaking a fever. First, wet some cotton socks in cold water, put them on and cover them up with dry wool socks. Google this for some more specific instructions. This way you also avoid having to use ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Win-win!

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Jen. I am not aware of an OTC child’s fever reducer that does not have an artificial sweetener, only dye free. ~Amy

  31. Before I started clean eating, I could not find a single brand of hot cocoa mix in my grocery store that did not have sucralose in it. Even the ones with sugar in it had added sucralose!

    1. Darla, at Costco the other day I saw Carnation Simply Hot Chocolate. It has only five ingredients, none of which are an artificial sweetener or soy! Cocoa, sugar, milk ingredients, vanilla and salt. A step in the right direction, at least!

  32. This information needs to be out there. We avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs. My husband interned years ago at Frito Lay and these sorts of things are definitely not created by foodies or chefs, all chemical engineers. Yuck!! He said if everyone got to see inside these plants then we would all be avoiding it. They only create/sell it because folks buy it.

  33. I’m wondering what you think of the new monkfruit sweetener. I realize it’s ultra processed, but do you think it ranks closer to stevia than the other artificial sweeteners?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Stephanie. Probably, but I’ve not done much research on it. I did notice that it is combined with dextrose. ~Amy

  34. I am so so glad you brought this up. People so often think that “sugar free” or “reduced sugar” means that nothing was added to sweeten the product – but this is so false! I get frustrated with my daughter’s preschool – they have a healthy food/no sweets policy, but on days when they do cooking projects they use things lIke “sugar free jello.” Gross! I’d so much rather she have sugar.

  35. Beware of agave. Unless you are very sure of where it comes from, all the research I’ve done on it says that it has actually been known to be corn syrup bottled with the label agave. I choose to stick to local honey and raw maple syrup….just in case.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. I’m just going to copy you on a reply I did above: “For healthy individuals (those without blood sugar conditions), we recommend using honey, maple syrup, and 100% fruit juice concentrate. Beyond that, keeping in mind that sugar is sugar and should be used in moderation, consider using small amounts of a less processed real sugar rather than turning to something artificial. Also, here is an post from Food Babe that helps sort out the issues with stevia: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/04/25/stevia-food-babe-investigates/. ” Hope that helps. ~Amy

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Christie. For healthy individuals (those without blood sugar conditions), we recommend using honey, maple syrup, and 100% fruit juice concentrate. Beyond that, keeping in mind that sugar is sugar and should be used in moderation, consider using small amounts of a less processed real sugar rather than turning to something artificial. Also, here is an post from Food Babe that helps sort out the issues with stevia: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/04/25/stevia-food-babe-investigates/. ~Amy

  36. I have to agree that even though the research has not been completely validated, my life is more important than cutting a few calories. I don’t completely stay clear from them, but they are a rare part of my diet. For those with diabetes, definitely consult your doctor for alternatives. However,I would suggest to exercise and eat healthy carbohydrates (vegetables and moderate to small quantities of fruit) with an occasional real dessert. This, with insulin and exercise would likely be enough to keep your blood glucose down.

  37. IMO, whether or not the studies cited are conclusive, why take the risk on artificial sweetners? I appreciate the work done here and am a strong advocate for “keeping it real”.

  38. I am in my late 50’s and was attributing my short term memory loss to my age. As soon as I stopped drinking Diet Coke, I found my memory was greatly improved.

  39. One thing I can say is this: For those who are metabolically challenged, stick with liquid Sucralose but keep in mind that you have to be mindful of how much you use each day. I have been on Keto for 7 months had have lost 55lbs so far and counting. I keep my calorie ratios at 70% fat (dairy, coconut, olive, macadamia, avocado, and animal), 25% protein (animal and plant), and 5% carbohydrates coming from fiber, vegetables and low glycemic fruits. As Insulin Resistant, I have lowered my A1C from 6.6 to 4.2 in a matter of 3 months.

    You can make all sorts of substitutes but the real focus here is real food. Steak, seafood, wild game, chicken, turkey, fish. Pair it with buttered vegetables (yes, real butter is heart healthy, not that processed margarine crap.) Bacon. Very Dark Chocolate. Berries. Heavy Cream – Shall I go on?

    If anyone is interested in losing weight, feeling better and doing it all just for the cost of weekly groceries, please visit http://www.reddit.com/r/keto.

    Seriously. Free. It’s a community of people who are looking to get well again through natural and very low carb eating. Feel free to read and if you want, sign up, which is also free to do.

    Unless you like paying Weight Watchers for something you can do on your own. That’s your decision to make.

    Diabetics, 100+lbs to lose to “Hey, I just want to lose a few pounds to trim up.” – C’mon over. Be polite, have a sense of humor and check us out. :) You won’t be disappointed. Read the FAQ for how to start out and ask questions.

  40. 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 :(

  41. 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.

  42. 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!

  43. 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

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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?

  52. 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/)

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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?

  65. 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.

  66. 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!

  67. 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.

  68. 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!

  69. 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…

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