What the Average Consumer Needs to Know About Artificial Sweeteners

by dr.g

In light of the obesity epidemic of recent decades, it is clear our sugar intake has increased drastically, including our intake of artificial sweeteners.

There are many who believe that artificial sweeteners are the solution to our obesity epidemic, but are they really a lesser evil?

Did you know that aspartame was initially developed as a medical treatment for stomach ulcers? [1] This means your tabletop sweetener or that can of diet coke you’ve just consumed was originally intended to be a prescription drug.
Aspartame and saccharine are the most common artificial sweeteners encountered on a daily basis, and they can usually be found in your breakfast cereal, diet sodas, tabletop sweeteners and more. While they may well be low in calories, what is the price you pay for the alternative? Medical studies have indicated a possible connection between aspartame and migraines [2], and headaches [3]. Sucralose, an active compound in many commercial sweeteners on the market, has also recently been found to trigger migraines [4].
Depression can also manifest from the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Regular dosages of aspartame have been found to decrease serotonin levels, which is the main cause of depression in the brains of mice [5]. Individuals suffering from mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, are advised against the regular consumption of artificial sweeteners, since they are more sensitive to the adverse effects of aspartame [6].

Most individuals consume artificial sweeteners to help them lose weight. Unfortunately, several studies indicate that  sweeteners such as aspartame induce hunger cravings, causing us eat more and therefore gain weight, but results thus far have been contradictory and inconclusive [7].

Additional health risks may be caused by the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Bottom line, consuming foods with artificial sweeteners typically means consuming a food that is processed and has little or no nutritional value. These foods should only be eaten very sparingly, so with that said go ahead and just eat the real sugar version and avoid all the fake chemicals.

If your are looking to lose weight  or just don’t feel your best most days, call us to make an appointment or to see how we may be able to help.

For more detailed information on   artificial sweeteners.


[1] R.G. Bianchi, E.T. Muir, D.L. Cook, E.F. Nutting, J Environ Pathol Toxicol. 1980 Jun-Jul;3(5-6):355-62.
[2] R.B. Lipton, L.C. Newman, J.S. Cohen & S. Solomon, Headache. 1989
[3] S.K. Van den Eeden et al,  Neurology. 1994 Oct;44(10):1787-93.
[4] M.E. Bigal & A.V. Krymchantowski, Headache. 2006 Mar;46(3):515-7.
[5] R.P. Sharma & R.A. Coulombe Jr., Food Chem Toxicol. 1987 Aug;25(8):565-8.
[6] R.G. Walton, R. Hudak & R.J. Green-Waite, Biol Psychiatry. 1993 Jul 1-15;34(1-2):13-7.
 [7] F. Bellisie & A. Drewnowski, Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;61(6):691-700. Epub 2007 Feb 7.
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