Sure, they’re approved for everyday use, but should you really be pouring two packets of Splenda in your morning coffee? Get the un-sugar-coated facts from Unjunk Your Junk Food by Andrea Donsky and Randy Boyer.
Not-So-Sweet Artificial Sweeteners
The FDA approves these artificial sweeteners for use in food:
• Acesulfame potassium, or ace K (brand names, Sunett, Sweet One):This calorie-free sweetener is two hundred times sweeter than sugar. Even though ace K has been approved by the FDA for consumption since 1988, to date the FDA has not required further testing, though early studies indicated that the additive may cause cancer in animals.
• Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet): Aspartame has been implicated in producing a wide variety of symptoms related mostly to the nervous system, such as headaches, dizziness, mood changes, convulsions, and memory loss. Before your body can eliminate aspartame, it converts to formaldehyde (which is a carcinogen and used for embalming dead bodies). Found in more than five thousand products, this artificial ingredient has been the source of more complaints to the FDA than any other food additive.
• Neotame: Up to thirteen thousand times sweeter than sucrose (white sugar), it is similar to aspartame in composition but without an amino acid called phenylalanine; nonetheless, long-term health studies have not been conducted to ensure its safety.
• Saccharin (Sweet’N Low): The first commercial artificial sweetener, saccharin has been proven to cause cancer in animals and is a suspected human carcinogen. While saccharin hasn’t been shown to cause cancer in humans, why would you want to ingest a substance that is an animal carcinogen?
• Sucralose (Splenda): Sucralose is six hundred times sweeter than sugar and has been tied to numerous adverse effects. In a Duke University study, male rats were fed a daily dose of Splenda over a period of twelve weeks. Splenda reduced the amount of healthy bacteria (including Bifidobacteria bifidum and lactobacilli) in the intestines by 50 percent and contributed to increased body weight. While this study was conducted on animals, sucralose may cause similar effects in humans Although they are FDA approved, these sweeteners are not without safety risks and are best avoided.
Less Processed Sugar
These forms of sugar are less processed than refined sugars and may be less likely to cause health problems:
• Agave (we recommend the brand Xagave, which contains only 49 percent fructose)
• Barley malt
• Brown rice syrup
• Date sugar
• Evaporated cane juice
• Maple syrup