What are Artificial Sweeteners?

At Sugar Free Food we believe there is a significant difference between naturally occurring sweetening agents and the ones made in a lab.

Calling Artificial Sweeteners Out

After reading the WHO report on "non sugar sweeteners" where they somehow included Stevia (a plant) in a long list of artificial sweeteners, we should take a look at artificial sweeteners in more detail.

Here are some of the products out there that contain the chemicals that were heavily featured in the 210 page report. Remember, Stevia only appeared 5 times in 210 pages and all 5 mentions were positive, or at least not at all negative.

Here are a few products using artificial sweeteners that you should consider: 

  1. Splenda: This is one of the most well-known brands that use sucralose* as the main sweetener. The granulated form also includes maltodextrin and dextrose as bulking agents.

  2. Equal: Another common sweetener brand, Equal has products that contain aspartame*, acesulfame potassium (K)*, dextrose, and maltodextrin.

  3. Sweet'N Low: This brand's sweetener primarily contains saccharin*, with dextrose and cream of tartar as additional ingredients.

Which is why we stick to natural sweeteners that are low or zero calorie. You can see them listed in the image above.

Associated Health Concerns (*) 

Aspartame - The WHO's cancer research arm is reevaluating the safety of aspartame, which is used in a wide range of food and beverages, including Coca Cola's sugar free products. 

Acesulfame-K - There are further studies that demonstrate potentially increased cancer risks in acesulfame potassium, as well as aspartame.

Saccharin - This one has not been proven to cause cancer in humans, but in 1981 it was the first synthetic sweetener to be found to cause cancer in lab rats, which sparked a ban. The ban was removed in 2000 when it was found that the internal process that caused the cancer is not replicated in humans. 

Sucralose - While not cancer related, to really hit the concerns around "artificial" sweeteners home, let's look at one of the studies reviewed within the WHO report on "non sugar sweeteners", where it was revealed, quote: 

"...those receiving stevia for 6 weeks did not display any changes in cognitive function, whereas those receiving sucralose showed a significant decrease in overall memory, encoding memory and executive functions (54)." 

Also Read

Responses to the WHO report

Health Benefits of Monk Fruit

Stevia & the WHO Report