Here are 4 artificial sweeteners you should avoid


Diet. Sugar-free. Low-calorie. These are the buzzwords you’ll find on drinks, desserts, drink mixes, cereals, breath mints, chewable vitamins, toothpaste, cough syrup, and other processed foods crowding grocery store shelves. Many people turn to artificial sweeteners trying to avoid extra calories and excess sugar.

BUT, and it’s a big one, just because calories are reduced doesn’t make them safe for consumption, and you will still be left craving more sweets. These products may contain four artificial sweeteners you should try to avoid as much as possible: aspartame, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), stevia, and sugar alcohols.

  • Aspartame, also called Nutrasweet or Equal, is found in many “diet” drinks like diet coke, coke zero, sugar-free jello, sugar-free gum, and many other products. Aspartame is a carcinogen and a neurotoxin. It has been shown to erode short term memory and even intelligence. This toxic sweetener has been linked to a variety of ailments and diseases such as brain tumors, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and seizures.
  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly refined artificial sweetener that can really pack on the pounds. You’ll find it in lots of foods and beverages like breads, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, and cereals. It increases your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and contributes to the development of obesity, diabetes, and tissue damage. A bad actor indeed.
  • Stevia is a “natural” plant that is very sweet and calorie-free. However, the powder and extracts you can purchase at the store have been highly processed and have little to do with the original plant. It will contribute to your dependency on sweets and can contribute to the depletion of chromium in your body.
  • Sugar alcohols can be confusing. First they are not sugars or alcohols. See what I mean? On the one hand, sugar alcohols do have some benefits. They can improve dental health. They are considered a prebiotic, meaning they feed friendly gut bacteria. Studies have shown the sugar alcohol, xylitol, can increase bone volume and the mineral content of the bone. That should help protect against osteoporosis. Xylitol has also been shown to increase collagen which can then improve skin tone. On the other hand, sugar alcohols do come with some negatives, too. They can cause upset stomach, nausea, bloating, flatulence, and even diarrhea. Sugar alcohols are not fully absorbed in the intestines, causing fermentation to occur, which, in turn, can lead to gastrointestinal issues.

All these artificial sweeteners contribute to your body’s craving for sweets, and they can deplete your body of chromium. This is a crucial nutrient in the body that helps regulate blood-sugar metabolism. Ever wondered why so many people drinking “diet” drinks are overweight?

We need to get back to real food. Read all food and beverage labels and know what you are consuming and what effect all those names on the packaging have on your health. In the U.S., there are many additives in our food that are banned in other countries because they’ve been shown to contribute to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and inflammation, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, chronic fatigue, depression, and many other problems.

For more information, check out Nutrition Action published by the Center of Science in the Public Interest or visit The Environmental Working Group‘s website. Both groups are publicly funded, unbiased, and report on all types of nutritional concerns.