High Fructose Corn Syrup

A sweetener derived from cornstarch. Cornstarch is composed of a chain of glucose (simple sugar) molecules joined together. Corn syrup, which is basically 100 percent glucose, comes from the breakdown of cornstarch into individual glucose molecules. In order to create high fructose corn syrup, enzymes must be added to corn syrup to change some of the glucose into another simple sugar called fructose. The enzymes, alpha-amylase and glucoamylase, used in HFCS processing have been genetically modified to improve their heat stability for the production of HFCS. (3)

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, most high fructose corn syrups contain either 42 percent or 55 percent fructose. (4) The rest of the HFCS is glucose and water. HFCS 42 is typically what’s used in cereals, processed foods, baked goods and some beverages. HFCS 55 is used mainly in soft drinks. However, some HFCS contains up to 90 percent fructose. (5)

High fructose corn syrup is also called glucose-fructose, isoglucose and glucose-fructose syrup. Some people, especially the companies producing and using HFCS, like to say that it’s no different from regular sugar. But that’s just not true. HFCS contains more fructose than table sugar, which is a dangerous difference.

Author Bill Sanda reports that in 1980, the average American ingested 39 pounds of fructose and 84 pounds of sucrose. By 1994, it was up to 66 pounds of sucrose and 83 pounds of fructose. Today, approximately 25 percent of our caloric intake comes from sugars, the larger portion being fructose. (6)

There are so many reasons why high fructose corn syrup should be banned from our food supply. Here are some of the most highly disturbing high fructose corn syrup facts:

  • Americans consume an average of 50 grams of HFCS every day. (7)
  • HFCS now represents more than 40 percent of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages and is the sole caloric sweetener in soft drinks in the U.S. (8)
  • HFCS has been shown to increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Consumption of HFCS increased more than 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the intake changes of any other food or food group, and is a main factor in our current obesity epidemic.
  • HFCS can cause leaky gut syndrome.
  • HFCS contains up to 570 micrograms of health-hazardous mercury per gram.
  • HFCS has been shown to promote cancer.
  • The average 20-ounce soda contains 15 teaspoons of sugar, all of it high fructose corn syrup.

Dangers

1. Weight Gain

There is a lot of debate over high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar. Many HFSC supporters want to stay that both are equally bad, but all sweeteners are not created equal when it comes to putting on unwanted pounds. A Princeton University study found that HFCS causes more weight gain than refined sugar does.

Specifically, animal subjects with access to high fructose corn syrup put on significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when overall caloric intake was equal. Furthermore, long-term consumption of high fructose corn syrup was also shown to lead to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdominal region, as well as an increase in triglyceride levels. According to researchers, this study provides insight into factors contributing to the rise of obesity in America. (9)

2. Cancer

With high fructose corn syrup found in so many foods and beverages, it’s no surprise that fructose intake has increased dramatically in recent decades. Research from 2010 published by the American Association for Cancer Research found that the fructose in HFCS promotes cancer growth, specifically pancreatic cancer.

This study actually found that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose and induce rapid reproduction of pancreatic cancer cells. Researchers also found that fructose and glucose metabolism are very different, with fructose causing more negative health reactions than glucose.

This research provides very good reason why cancer patients should not be given anything containing high fructose corn syrup and how avoiding HFCS can possibly disrupt cancer growth. (10) When it comes to cancer prevention and treatment, clearly HFCS is an ingredient that should be aggressively avoided.

3. Fatty Liver and Liver Stress

Fructose is known to stimulate fat accumulation in the liver by increasing fat synthesis yet blocking fat breakdown. In order to chemically create high fructose corn syrup, glucose and fructose, which are naturally linked together, become separated. When HFCS enters your bloodstream, the freed-up fructose travels directly into your liver and overwhelms your liver’s processing capacity.

This then causes unhealthy fat production in your liver called lipogenesis. This can lead to fatty liver disease if more than 5 percent to 10 percent of the liver’s weight becomes fat. It doesn’t stop there, though. Having a fatty liver can lead to serious liver stress, liver damage, obesity, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. (11)

One of several animal studies shows that excessive fructose consumption is associated with dyslipidemia and increased fat deposits in the liver. Dyslipidemia, or having high blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides or both, is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. This study concludes that the findings support limitation of excessive fructose addition in beverages in order to counteract the current epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes in industrialized countries like the U.S. (12)

4. Increased Cholesterol Levels

Hight fructose corn syrup intake is linked to high cholesterol levels. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that only two weeks of moderate consumption of high fructose corn syrup caused triglycerides and cholesterol levels to rise.

The study split 85 people with generally healthy lipid profiles into four groups. The first three groups consumed drinks sweetened with either 25 percent, 17.5 percent or 10 percent high fructose corn syrup while the fourth group drank something sweetened only with aspartame.

While I would never promote aspartame consumption either, the results showed that LDL or “bad” cholesterol for the aspartame group remained the same before and after the diet. However, for subjects who consumed HFCS-sweetened beverages for two weeks, the results were as follows: The 10 percent group on average went to LDL of 102 from 95, the 17.5 percent to 102 from 93 and the 25 percent group to 107 from 91. (13)

The lead author of the study, Kimber L. Stanhope, a research scientist at the University of California, Davis said, “It was a surprise that adding as little as the equivalent of a half-can of soda at breakfast, lunch and dinner was enough to produce significant increases in risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Our bodies respond to a relatively small increase in sugar, and that’s important information.” (14)

5. Diabetes

A lot of medical professionals think that fructose is better for diabetics than sugar, but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. Fructose, on the other hand, must be metabolized by the liver. Fructose has been directly linked with diabetes, especially high fructose corn syrup, which contains a great deal of free-floating fructose.

Unlike fruit, which contains fructose yet also has fiber and nutrients to positively affect fructose’s absorption by the body, high fructose corn syrup offers absolutely zero nutritional value. It’s just straight-up questionable sugar and calories, nothing else.

Recent data suggest that fructose consumption in humans leads to increased visceral fat accumulation, impairment in the regulation of fats in the blood (like cholesterol and triglycerides) and decreased insulin sensitivity. Why are these effects of fructose so concerning? All of these side effects have been associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease. (15)

A study published in the journal Global Health shows that countries that mix high fructose corn syrup into processed foods and drinks have higher rates of diabetes than countries that don’t use HFCS. Out of the 43 countries studied, approximately half had little or no high fructose corn syrup in their food supplies. In the other countries, the HFCS content of foods was between about one pound a year per person in Germany to about 55 pounds each year per person in the U.S. The study found that countries using HFCS had diabetes rates about 20 percent higher than HFCS-free countries. (16)

6. High Blood Pressure

Fructose intake from added sugars is associated with high blood pressure levels in humans. The goal of a 2012 study published in Metabolism was to compare the effects of soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup vs. sucrose (table sugar).

In a randomized study, researchers had 40 men and women consume 24 ounces of either a HFCS- or sucrose-sweetened beverage. They then collected urine and blood samples over the next six hours to measure blood pressure, heart rate, fructose and several other metabolic biomarkers.

The researchers found that systolic blood pressure maximum levels were higher when HFCS-sweetened beverages were consumed compared to sucrose-sweetened beverages. Overall, they found that compared with sugar, high fructose corn syrup leads to greater fructose exposure to the entire body and significantly different acute metabolic effects. (17)

Research has shown that consuming 60 grams of fructose can increase systolic blood pressure in humans, but this is not seen in subjects given the same exact dose of glucose. In another study, overweight men were given 200 grams of fructose daily for two weeks, and it was observed that they maintained a significant rise in ambulatory blood pressure (blood pressure as you move around) during that time.

Hypertension in response to fructose intake appears to be brought about by increased sodium absorption in the intestine, inhibition of systemic blood vessel function and stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. Fructose-induced increases in uric acid levels in the body may likely play a part as well. Studies in experimental animals have also confirmed that fructose can increase blood pressure. (18)

7. Heart Disease

The fact that HFCS raises blood pressure is reason enough to make it extremely bad for your heart. High blood pressure is part of a cluster of dangerous health issues called metabolic syndrome, which increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Research shows that in subjects who had healthy glucose tolerance and those who had unhealthy glucose tolerance, fructose caused a general increase in both the total serum cholesterol and in the low density lipoproteins (LDL) in most of the subjects, which puts a person at risk for coronary heart disease.

According to a 15-year Harvard study, participants who took in 25 percent or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10 percent added sugar. (19) This sugar intake could be from HFCS or from another source of sugar, but it’s why we need to eliminate HFCS from our diets and keep overall sugar intake, even from truly natural sources, at a healthy, low level.

8. Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome is also referred to as increased intestinal permeability. When you have this condition, the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which allows proteins (like gluten), bad bacteria and undigested particles to pass into your bloodstream.

Research done at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that free fructose from HFCS requires more energy to be absorbed by the gut and soaks up two phosphorous molecules from ATP (our body’s energy source). This depletes the energy fuel source in our guts required to maintain the integrity of our intestinal linings. Large doses of free fructose have been shown to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining, creating a leaky gut. (20)

Once these holes in the lining exist, it’s very easy for unwanted toxins and food to enter your bloodstream. These invaders are not meant to be in the bloodstream so they trigger inflammation in the body. Inflammation is at the root of so many health problems including obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia and accelerated aging.

9. Increased Mercury Intake

Multiple studies have found alarming amounts of mercury in products containing high fructose corn syrup, which can contribute to dangerous mercury poisoning. We know that mercury is extremely toxic to our bodies, and it’s especially disturbing for a developing child to be exposed to mercury. Mercury has negative effects on the liver, kidneys, brain and other internal organs.

In a study published in Environmental Health, mercury was detected in almost 50 percent of samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup. Another highly concerning study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found mercury in about a third of 55 popular brand name food and beverage products. These common products all had HFCS as the first or second highest labeled ingredients. Brands behind the products tested included Kraft, Quaker, Hershey’s and Smucker’s. (21)

HFCS vs. Corn Syrup vs. Sugar vs. Natural Sweeteners

No matter the source of sugar, you always should watch that your overall intake of sugar isn’t too high. But the question continues: Is HFCS more of a health risk than other sweeteners?

To help answer this questions, let’s break down the main differences and similarities between the various sweeteners out there. What makes them good, and what makes them bad?

High Fructose Corn Syrup

  • To create HFCS, caustic soda is used to shuck the corn kernel from its starch, and corn syrup is then created. Enzymes (commonly GMO) are introduced to convert the corn syrup’s sugars to super-sweet fructose.
  • The alpha-amylase and glucoamylase used in HFCS processing have been genetically modified to improve their heat stability for the production of HFCS.
  • HFCS contains no enzymes, vitamins or minerals, only sugar and calories.
  • Since HFCS is produced from corn, a natural vegetable, some people try to say that it’s a natural sugar. But there is so much processing that goes on to produce and chemically alter corn to make it into HFCS that it’s so far from natural. Plus, so much of the corn today isn’t even natural itself because it’s being genetically modified by growers for bigger crop yields and more money.
  • HFCS’s flavor is similar to sugar, but HFCS is sweeter and cheaper.
  • Researchers who measured the relative sweetness of natural and artificial sweeteners found HFCS to be 1.5 times sweeter than table sugar. (22)
  • HFCS is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar. (23)
  • Unlike sugar, you’ll never see HFCS in the supermarket because it’s only available to food processors.

Corn syrup

  • Corn syrup is primarily made from the cornstarch of yellow No. 2 dent corn that’s converted to a syrup using sulfur dioxidehydrochloric acid or various enzymes, and water.
  • Cornstarch is converted into ordinary corn syrup through a process called acid hydrolysis.
  • Ordinary corn syrup contains dextrose sugar, which is about three-quarters as sweet as the sucrose sugar in cane or beet sugar.
  • High fructose corn syrup takes corn syrup and makes it even more processed and health-hazardous due to HFCS’s resulting high fructose content.
  • Due to the ample supply of corn in this country, it’s expected that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup will continue to be used extensively in consumable products.

Agave

  • While it’s marketed and consumed today as a “natural” sweetener,” I agree with Dr. Jonny Bowden that agave nectar or agave syrup is basically high fructose corn syrup masquerading as a health food. (24) According to Dr. Bowden, “Research shows that it’s the fructose part of sweeteners that’s the most dangerous. Fructose causes insulin resistance and significantly raises triglycerides (a risk factor for heart disease). It also increases fat around the middle which in turn puts you at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome (AKA prediabetes).”
  • There is a debate in natural health and medical circles whether or not the health claims by manufacturers are true, making agave quite controversial.
  • It’s about 1.5 times sweeter than regular sugar and contains roughly 60 calories per tablespoon, which is about 20 calories more than the same amount of table sugar.
  • Agave nectar is supposedly lower on the glycemic index (a number that represents the effect a particular food has on someone’s blood sugar), but these claims don’t seem to be founded on sound science.
  • Even if agave nectar has a low glycemic index, it’s largely made of fructose, the single most damaging form of sugar.
  • It has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener on the market.
  • Compared to the 1:1 fructose/glucose ratio of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, agave nearly has a whopping 2:1 ratio.

Sugar

  • Both sugar and HFCS begin out in the field — sugar as sugarcane or the sugar beet and high fructose corn syrup as corn.
  • Common white sugar or table sugar comes from sugarcane that undergoes washing and separation that produces naturally white crystals that are 99.9 percent sucrose. Raw sugar is less processed and contains 96 percent sucrose and 4 percent of plant materials contained in the mother liquid. (25)
  • The fructose in HFCS is a monosaccharide or single sugar molecule while sugar’s sucrose consists of one molecule of glucose linked with one molecule of fructose.
  • HFCS’s fructose can be directly absorbed through your small intestine into your blood while sucrose must be broken down into glucose plus fructose by an enzyme called sucrase present in the walls of your small intestine before the two resulting sugars are absorbed into your blood.
  • Extra calories from sucrose- and fructose-sweetened foods can both increase fat accumulation in your blood, liver and fatty tissues, which increases your risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.
  • Sucanat is a sugar product that comes from dehydrated sugarcane juice and retains all of the nutrients found in natural sugarcane juice, including iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium.
  • Brown sugar has molasses added into it, and it contains calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium while white sugar contains none of these. (26)
  • White sugar and HFCS both provide empty, nutrition-less calories.

Natural Sweeteners (Minus Agave)

  • Raw honey is a great example of a natural sweetener that not only sweetens, but is a true superfood with awesome health benefits. Even though it contains fructose, it’s also loaded with enzymes, antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin. Together, these essential nutrients help neutralize free radicals while promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.
  • Stevia is native to South America and has been used for hundreds of years in that region to support healthy blood sugar levels and prompt weight loss.
  • Fruits like dates and bananas make excellent sweeteners. While they do contain naturally occurring fructose, they also contain fiber, vitamins and minerals that make their processing in the body a lot more healthy than the fructose in HFCS or corn syrup. When the sugar in fruit is consumed, it doesn’t exhibit the same negative biological effects as the free high fructose doses found in corn sugars.
  • Even natural sweeteners need to be used in moderation because even natural sugars raise your blood sugar, and high blood sugar levels lead to all kinds of health problems, including diabetes.
  • In moderation, natural sugars, like those from fruit, have proven health benefits for those of us who don’t already have blood sugar problems.

Best Alternatives

Some of the best alternatives to HFCS include TRULY natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup. When you’re reading ingredient labels (which I hope you do), look for these natural sweeteners and steer clear of anything that contains high fructose corn syrup.

These are the top 10 sugar substitutes and HFCS alternatives I recommend:

  • Raw Honey (1 tablespoon – 64 calories)
  • Stevia (0 calories)
  • Dates (1 Medjool date – 66 calories)
  • Coconut Sugar (1 tablespoon – 45 calories)
  • Maple Syrup (1 tablespoon – 52 calories)
  • Blackstrap Molasses (1 tablespoon – 47 calories)
  • Balsamic Glaze (1 tablespoon – 20–40 calories depending on thickness)
  • Banana Puree (1 cup – 200 calories)
  • Brown Rice Syrup (1 tablespoon – 55 calories)
  • Real Fruit Jam (varies depending on fruit)

The Nefarious History of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Commercial production of corn syrup began in 1864. By 1967, the Clinton Corn Processing Co. of Iowa had an exclusive license to manufacture and begin shipping an early version of HCFS.

After being classified as “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA in 1976, HFCS began to replace sugar as the main sweetener of soft drinks in the U.S. At the same time, rates of obesity rose. That correlation, in combination with laboratory research and epidemiological studies, suggested a link between consuming large amounts of fructose and elevated blood triglycerides, uric acid levels and weight. Concern about the health effects of HFCS truly is decades old.

Since 1797, U.S. sugar tariffs and quotas have kept imported sugar prices high (up to twice the global price) while subsidies to corn growers keep the price of HFCS’s main ingredient, corn, down. In the 1970s, unfortunately, many companies looking for a cheaper sweetener rapidly adopted HFCS as their sweetener of choice due to its high availability and cheap price tag.

HFC’s source is corn, which is a highly dependable, renewable and abundant agricultural raw material. This has guarded HFCS from the price and availability extremes of sucrose or table sugar. Another reason HFCS is attractive to manufacturers is the fact that it’s stable in acidic foods and beverages.

Yet another big reason that HFCS remains in our consumable products given major health concerns? One word: lobbying. Huge corporations put a lot of time and money into lobbying efforts to ensure that government corn subsidies continue. In this country, the Corn Refiners Association has tried its best to counter negative public perceptions by marketing campaigns describing HFCS as “natural” and by attempting to change high fructose corn syrup’s name and identity to “corn sugar.” Thankfully, products in the U.S. that contain high fructose corn syrup are not allowed to use “natural” in their labeling, but the debate goes on. Earlier in 2016, the FDA was looking for feedback on the use of “natural” on food labeling. Unfortunately, it’s still not clear to everyone, specifically to the powers that be, what should be considered natural these days.

To make things even worse, in recent years physicians are also directly targeted by the people who are behind the creation and continual push of HFCS. One doctor, Dr. Mark Hyman, says that he received a 12-page color glossy monograph from the Corn Refiners Association reviewing the “science” that HFCS was safe and no different than cane sugar. The Corn Refiners Association also warned him of the errors of his ways (his knocking of HFCS) and put him on “notice.” The fight against HFCS is real.

Final Thoughts

  • Avoid any products containing high fructose corn syrup or added fructose, which have many negative health effects on the body.
  • Fruit juice, even the unsweetened variety, naturally contain fructose and should be consumed in very small quantities. Eating a whole fruit with its blood sugar-balancing fiber is a much better option than juice.
  • A big way to avoid high fructose corn syrup is to completely remove ultra-processed foods from your diet.
  • Another great way is to avoid all sweetened soft drinks. The average soda contains toxic levels of HFCS. Opt for naturally carbonated mineral water, herbal tea or green tea instead, but stick to home brews since the majority of commercially bottled iced teas are also loaded with HFCS.
  • Overall, you want to keep your sugar intake low no matter whether the source is natural, “natural” or man-made.
  • High fructose corn syrup definitely tops my list of health-hazardous ingredients to avoid as much as humanly possible.

Source: DrAxe

Artificial Sweeteners

Most people use artificial sweeteners to lose weight. The amazing irony is that nearly all the studies that have carefully analyzed their effectiveness show that those who use artificial sweeteners actually gain more weight than those who consume caloric sweeteners. In 2005, data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study showed that drinking diet soft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain – far more so than regular soda. On average, each diet soft drink the participants consumed per day increased their risk of becoming overweight by 65 percent within the next seven to eight years, and made them 41 percent more likely to become obese. There is also a large number of health dangers associated with artificial sweeteners and aspartame in particular.

The reasons for the ironic reality that diet soft drinks increase the likelihood of obesity are still being investigated, but there are several potential causes, including:

  • Sweet taste alone appears to increase hunger, regardless of caloric content.
  • Artificial sweeteners appear to simply perpetuate a craving for sweets, and overall sugar consumption is therefore not reduced—leading to further problems controlling your weight.
  • Artificial sweeteners may disrupt your body’s natural ability to “count calories,” as evidenced in studies such as this 2004 study at Purdue University, which found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids.

In the end, the research tells us that artificial sweeteners are NOT a dieter’s best friend, because contrary to what the marketing campaigns claim, low- or no-calorie artificial sweeteners are more likely to help you pack on the pounds than shed them. Most recently, animal researchA,B presented at the annual Experimental Biology conference in San Diego again confirmed that artificial sweeteners raise your risk of obesity and diabetes.

Introduced to satisfy consumers’ sweet tooth, these artificial sweeteners with no calories seemed, at the time, like good alternatives to refined sugars and natural sweeteners. However, the side effects simply aren’t worth it. These fake sweeteners cause symptoms that range from headaches and migraines to weight gain and even more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease. (1)

What many people don’t realize is that artificial sweeteners also can cause a dangerous addiction — an addiction to overly sweet foods. They retrain the taste buds to need more and more, sweeter and sweeter foods. This leads to even greater incidences of obesity, type 2 diabetes, kidney damage and so much more.

So how does the use of artificial sweeteners contribute to addiction? Researchers believe that part of the reason is that individuals will just find other foods to fill the calorie gap in order to become satiated. We’ve all seen people order diet sodas, only to then order one of the most calorie-ridden items on a menu. That’s because non-nutritive sweeteners provide virtually no sense of satisfaction. (2)

What’s the difference between a nutritive sweetener and a non-nutritive sweetener? Caloric content. Nutritive sweeteners contain calories while non-nutritive sweeteners have zero calories or are virtually calorie-free. No calorie sweeteners may sound like a good idea when you look to lose weight, but they aren’t. Their side effects far outweigh potential benefits of a low-calorie sweetener, and they are actually linked with weight gain, not weight loss. The results of a 2017 randomized trial suggest artificial sweeteners may increase BMI, weight, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, although more information is needed to be conclusive. (3)

Holly Strawbridge, former editor of Harvard Health, points out that while FDA studies have “ruled out cancer risk” for non-nutritive sweeteners, all of the studies conducted were based on significantly smaller doses than the 24 ounces a day average of diet soda. (4) As portion sizes continue to grow out of control with 30-ounce, 40-ounce and even 50-ounce fountain sodas, it’s vital to recognize that these portions have not been evaluated for their safety.

In addition, another study on the effects of artificial sweeteners on atherosclerosis found that daily consumption of drinks with artificial sweeteners creates a 35 percent greater risk of metabolic syndrome and a 67 percent increased risk for type 2 diabetes. (5) Atherosclerosis is when plaque builds up inside the arteries leading to strokes, heart attacks and even death. (6)

There is additional evidence that links artificial sweeteners to the development of glucose intolerance and other metabolic conditions that result in higher than normal blood glucose levels. (7) According to a study published in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, frequent consumption of sweet-tasting, non-caloric foods interferes with metabolic function.

A 2018 study published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases also revealed that the artificial sugar, sucralose (otherwise known as Splenda) and maltodextrin, intensifies gut inflammation in mice that carry Crohn’s-like diseases. Specifically, the artificial sweetener increases the number of Proteobacteria — a microbe bacteria associated with E. coli, Salmonella and Legionellales — in the mice who carried a Chrohn’s-like disease. Additionally, the ingestion of artificial sugar intensified myeloperoxidase (an enzyme in white blood cells) activity in individuals that have a form of inflammatory bowel disease. This study indicates that it may be practical to track Proteobacteria and myeloperoxidase in patients to adjust their diet and monitor the disease and gut health. (8)

Common Artificial Sweeteners

Here are somee of the most popular (and dangerous) artificial sweeteners on the market today. They can severely harm your health. First, it’s important to be able to recognize artificial sweeteners on the labels of pre-packed and processed foods. Check all ingredient labels carefully for the following.

  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Alitame
  • Cyclamate
  • Dulcin
  • Equal
  • Glucin
  • Kaltame
  • Mogrosides
  • Neotame
  • NutraSweet
  • Nutrinova
  • Phenlalanine
  • Saccharin
  • Splenda
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucralose
  • Twinsweet
  • Sweet ‘N Low
  • Xylitol

Where Dangerous Artificial Sweeteners Hide

People are often surprised at how often dangerous artificial sweeteners are included in prepared foods, medications and beverages. Here are a few surprising examples of where to check for the dangerous sweeteners mentioned above. 

  1. Toothpaste and mouthwash
  2. Children’s chewable vitamins
  3. Cough syrup and liquid medicines
  4. Chewing gum
  5. No-calorie waters and drinks
  6. Alcoholic beverages
  7. Salad dressings
  8. Frozen yogurt and other frozen deserts
  9. Candies
  10. Baked goods
  11. Yogurt
  12. Breakfast cereals
  13. Processed snack foods
  14. “Lite” or diet fruit juices and beverages
  15. Prepared meats
  16. Nicotine gum

This isn’t an exhaustive list. Please carefully read the labels of the foods you purchase to ensure you don’t consume these dangerous chemicals.

5 Worst Artificial Sweeteners

Again, please avoid these artificial sweeteners. There are plenty of natural, healthy sweeteners available that provide essential nutrients and taste great.

  1. Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue)
  2. Sucralose (Splenda)
  3. Acesulfame K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe)
  4. Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin)
  5. Xylitol, Sorbitol

PepsiCo Inc. recently announced it’s reformulating Diet Pepsi, Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi sold in the United States. It’s removing aspartame from the formula and replacing it with sucralose and Ace-K due to declining sales. According to Senior Vice President Seth Kaufman,

To Diet Pepsi consumers, removing aspartame is their No. 1 concern. We’re listening to consumers. It’s what they want. (9)

This does not make diet sodas with artificial sweeteners any safer. Sucralose and Ace-K both have dangerous side effects; Pepsi is switching the formula not for the health of its consumers — after all, they are keeping Diet Mountain Dew exactly the same — but because consumers are aware of the dangers of aspartame.

Unfortunately, the general population isn’t as aware of the dangers of sucralose and Ace-K, and PepsiCo believes that this change in formulation will increase sales. Don’t be tricked by marketing ploys; aspartame, sucralose and Ace-K are all bad for your health.

1. Aspartame – (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved aspartame nearly 35 years ago. It’s currently used in more than 6,000 consumer foods and drinks, and over 500 prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. It hides in places we don’t expect! Because aspartame isn’t heat-stable, it’s typically found in drinks and foods that haven’t been heated.

According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, “A re-evaluation of the current position of the international regulatory agencies must be considered an urgent matter of public health.” This recommendation is due to the study’s findings that aspartame has carcinogenic effects. (10)

This study found that aspartame may impair memory performance and increase oxidative stress in the brain. In addition, if you are pregnant or nursing, avoid this dangerous artificial sweetener at all costs. A recent study points to alarming news for women who consume artificial sweeteners during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. It appears that aspartame, in particular, can predispose babies to metabolic syndrome disorders, and obesity, later in life. (11)

Common side effects of aspartame include headaches, migraines, mood disorders, dizziness and episodes of mania. Comprising phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol, these substances can stay in the liver, kidneys and brain for quite some time.

2. Sucralose (Splenda)

Sucralose, derived from sugar, was originally introduced as a natural sugar substitute. However, in reality, it’s a chlorinated sucrose derivative. Yes, chlorine, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet! Sucralose was originally found through the development of a new insecticide compound and wasn’t originally intended to be consumed.

At 600 times sweeter than sugar, it’s easy to see how the use of sucralose, or Splenda (!), can contribute to an addiction for overly sweet foods and drinks. In June 2014, the Center for Science in the Public Interest placed Splenda in its “caution” category, pending a review of a medical study that found it could be linked to leukemia in mice.

A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found that cooking with sucralose at high temperatures can generate dangerous chloropropanols – a toxic class of compounds. Human and rodent studies demonstrate that sucralose may alter glucose, insulin and glucagon-like peptide 1 levels. Last but not least, it isn’t biologically inert, meaning that it can be metabolized and have a toxic effect on the body. (12)

3. Acesulfame K (ACE, ACE K, Sunette, Sweet One, Sweet ‘N Safe)

Composed of a potassium salt that contains methylene chloride, Acesulfame K is routinely found in sugar-free chewing gum, alcoholic beverages, candies and even sweetened yogurts. It’s often used in combination with aspartame and other noncaloric sweeteners.

ACE K has undergone the least amount of scientific scrutiny even though long-term exposure to methylene chloride, a main chemical component, has been shown to cause nausea, mood problems, possibly some types of cancer, impaired liver and kidney function, problems with eyesight, and perhaps even autism. (13)

In addition to sweetening foods, it’s becoming increasingly popular as a “flavor enhancer.” ACE K is heat-stable and routinely found in highly processed foods and baked goods. The human body can’t break it down, and it’s believed to negatively affect the metabolism.

4. Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low)

In the 1970s, saccharin and other sulfa-based sweeteners were believed to possibly cause bladder cancer, and it was required to carry the following warning label: “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.” (14)

The FDA removed this warning, but many studies continue to link saccharin to serious health conditions. Sadly, it’s the primary sweetener for children’s medications, including chewable aspirin, cough syrup, and other over-the-counter and prescription medications. It’s believed that saccharin contributes to photosensitivity, nausea, digestive upset, tachycardia and some types of cancer. (15)

5. Xylitol (Erythritol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol and other sugar alcohols that end in –itol)

Sugar alcohols aren’t absorbed well by the body and cause an allergic reaction for those who have a sensitivity to it. In addition, it has gastrointestinal side effects that include bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea. Its laxative effect is so pronounced that it’s actually part of the chemical makeup for many over-the-counter laxatives.

Even though these sweeteners have been on the market for decades, pregnant and breastfeeding women should select a natural sweetener instead. WebMD states: “Not enough is known about the use of xylitol during pregnancy and breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.” (16)

Special note to dog owners: Sugar alcohol-based artificial sweeteners are a life-threatening toxin to dogs. Be mindful of breath mints, candies, sugar-free gum, frozen desserts and other foods when your pets are around. (17)

Healthy Alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners

So, what are your options when you have a sweet tooth? All natural sweeteners — including maple syrup, coconut sugar, stevia, fruit purees and raw honey — are great, healthy substitutions. Keep packets of stevia with you so you don’t have to resort to artificial sweeteners provided by restaurants and cafes.

Start working to retrain your palette to enjoy the natural sweetness of foods, not added sweeteners. Try adding other flavors like tangy, tart, warm and savory to please your palette. For example, vanilla, cocoa, licorice, nutmeg and cinnamon enhance the flavor of foods, so you need less sweetness.

When you crave a sweet drink, try homemade infused waters or even my Watermelon Agua Fresca. It’s a light, sparkly and refreshing drink packed with nutrients and natural sweeteners. Start sweetening your iced tea with honey, coconut sugar or even maple syrup for a twist.

For a special (and healthful) treat, try my Peppermint Patties sweetened with honey and packed with all the health benefits of coconut oil. Be creative and experiment with new foods, healthy sweeteners and added flavors that keep you satisfied.

America’s obesity epidemic continues to grow, and it coincides with an increase in the widespread use of non-nutritive artificial sweeteners including aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and sugar alcohols.

Research shows that artificial sweeteners don’t satiate you the way real foods do. Instead, you end up feeling less satisfied and more prone to eating and drinking more, resulting in weight gain, in addition to potentially suffering dangerous side effects associated with artificial sweeteners. (18)

While I truly believe that everyone should avoid artificial sweeteners, it’s particularly important for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to refrain from these sweeteners. The risk is simply too great.

There is also a large number of health dangers associated with artificial sweeteners and aspartame in particular. There’s a growing list of studies pertaining to health problems associated with aspartame, which you can find here. If you’re still on the fence, I highly recommend reviewing these studies for yourself so that you can make an educated decision. For more information on aspartame, the worst artificial sweetener, please see Dr. Mercola’s aspartame video.

Sources:

Chronological History of Artificial Sweeteners

Study: High Fructose Intake May Drive Aggressive Behaviors, ADHD, More

Study: High Fructose Intake May Drive Aggressive Behaviors, ADHD, More

Diets high in sugar may increase a person's risk for developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder and aggressive behaviors, according to a report published Friday by the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. Researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus suggest that fructose, a component of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, and uric acid, a fructose metabolite, may work to bring about the onset of ...
Read More
Study Links Diet Soda to Strokes, Death

Study Links Diet Soda to Strokes, Death

A study of more than 80,000 women ages 50 to 79 links drinking two or more diet drinks a day with an increased risk for certain kinds of stroke, coronary artery disease and death. Published today in the journal Stroke, a publication of the American Heart Association, the study follows other research that previously connected the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda and other beverages with ...
Read More
Study: Drinking Two or More diet Beverages a Day linked to High Risk of Stroke, Heart Attacks

Study: Drinking Two or More diet Beverages a Day linked to High Risk of Stroke, Heart Attacks

Another Study Confirms Diet Drinks Could Increase Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke Warns American Heart and Stroke Associations. From CNN: More bad news for diet soda lovers: Drinking two or more of any kind of artificially sweetened drinks a day is linked to an increased risk of clot-based strokes, heart attacks and early death in women over 50, according to a new study by the ...
Read More
Study: Artificially Sweetened Drinks put people at a Greater Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Study: Artificially Sweetened Drinks put people at a Greater Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Products with added fructose introduce excess 'nutrient poor' energy into our diet, researchers found - inflicting a harmful effect on blood sugar levels. The Canadian research team found no risk associated with food and drinks that have naturally-occurring fructose - such as whole fruits, vegetables, natural fruit juices and honey. However, sweet drinks do something different: they are made with ingredients that powercharge the fructose, sending ...
Read More
Six FDA Approved Artificial Sweeteners Proven Toxic To Human Digestion

Six FDA Approved Artificial Sweeteners Proven Toxic To Human Digestion

FDA-approved artificial sweeteners and sport supplements were found to be toxic to digestive gut microbes, according to a paper published in Molecules. Artificial sweeteners are one of the most common food additives worldwide, frequently consumed in diet and zero-calorie sodas and other products. Large examinations have tracked biochemical changes in the body using high-throughput metabolomics. The collaborative study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ...
Read More

Aspartame

The technical name for the artificial sweetener brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug. It was approved for dry goods in 1981 (thanks to some shady maneuvering by FDA head Arthur Hull) and for carbonated beverages in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr. John W. Olney and consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974, as well as investigations of G.D. Searle’s research practices caused the U.S. FDA to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries. In spite of numerous health affects, it remains on the market.

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as part of aspartame dangers are:

  • Headaches / migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weight gain
  • Rashes
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Tachycardia
  • Insomnia
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of taste
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Memory loss
  • Joint pain

According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:

  • Brain tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Mental retardation
  • Lymphoma
  • Birth defects
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes

Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James and Phyllis Balch lists aspartame under the category of “chemical poison.” As you shall see, that is exactly what it is.

What Is Aspartame Made Of?

Aspartic Acid (40 percent of Aspartame)

Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, recently published a book thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame. Blaylock makes use of almost 500 scientific references to show how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid (about 99 percent of monosodium glutamate or MSG is glutamic acid) in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.

How Aspartate (and Glutamate) Cause Damage

Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They “excite” or stimulate the neural cells to death.

Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form (unbound to proteins), it significantly raises the blood plasma level of aspartate and glutamate. The excess aspartate and glutamate in the blood plasma shortly after ingesting aspartame or products with free glutamic acid (glutamate precursor) leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain.

The blood brain barrier (BBB), which normally protects the brain from excess glutamate and aspartate as well as toxins, 1) is not fully developed during childhood, 2) does not fully protect all areas of the brain, 3) is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions, and 4) allows seepage of excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain even when intact.

The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons. The large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. A few of the many chronic illnesses that have been shown to be contributed to by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include:

Multiple sclerosis (MS)Parkinson’s disease
ALSHypoglycemia
Memory lossAIDS
Hormonal problemsDementia
EpilepsyBrain lesions
Alzheimer’s diseaseNeuroendocrine disorders

The risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with certain chronic health problems from excitotoxins are great. Even the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which usually understates problems and mimics the FDA party-line, recently stated in a review that glutamic acid should be avoided by women of childbearing age.

Aspartic acid from aspartame has the same deleterious effects on the body as glutamic acid isolated from it’s naturally protein-bound state, causing it to become a neurotoxin instead of a non-essential amino acid.

Aspartame in diet sodas, or aspartame in other liquid form are absorbed more quickly and have been shown to spike plasma levels of aspartic acid.

The exact mechanism of acute reactions to excess free glutamate and aspartate is currently being debated. As reported to the FDA, those reactions include:

Headaches/migrainesFatigue (blocks sufficient glucose entry into brain)Anxiety attacks
NauseaSleep problemsDepression
Abdominal painsVision problemsAsthma/chest tightness

One common complaint of persons suffering from the effect of aspartame is memory loss. Ironically, in 1987, G.D. Searle, the manufacturer of aspartame, undertook a search for a drug to combat memory loss caused by excitatory amino acid damage. Blaylock is one of many scientists and physicians who are concerned about excitatory amino acid damage caused by ingestion of aspartame and MSG.

A few of the many experts who have spoken out against the damage being caused by aspartate and glutamate include Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D., an experimental psychologist specializing in research design. Another is Olney, a professor in the department of psychiatry, School of Medicine, Washington University, a neuroscientist and researcher, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on excitotoxins. (He informed Searle in 1971 that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice.)

Phenylalanine (50 percent of aspartame)

Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Persons with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine. This leads to dangerously high levels of phenylalanine in the brain (sometimes lethal). It has been shown that ingesting aspartame, especially along with carbohydrates, can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the brain even in persons who do not have PKU.

This is not just a theory, as many people who have eaten large amounts of aspartame over a long period of time and do not have PKU have been shown to have excessive levels of phenylalanine in the blood. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of serotonin in the brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression. It was shown in human testing that phenylalanine levels of the blood were increased significantly in human subjects who chronically used aspartame.

Even a single use of aspartame raised the blood phenylalanine levels. In his testimony before the U.S. Congress, Dr. Louis J. Elsas showed that high blood phenylalanine can be concentrated in parts of the brain and is especially dangerous for infants and fetuses. He also showed that phenylalanine is metabolized much more efficiently by rodents than by humans.

One account of a case of extremely high phenylalanine levels caused by aspartame was recently published by the Wednesday Journal in an article titled “An Aspartame Nightmare.” John Cook began drinking six to eight diet drinks every day. His symptoms started out as memory loss and frequent headaches. He began to crave more aspartame-sweetened drinks. His condition deteriorated so much that he experienced wide mood swings and violent rages. Even though he did not suffer from PKU, a blood test revealed a phenylalanine level of 80 mg/dl. He also showed abnormal brain function and brain damage. After he kicked his aspartame habit, his symptoms improved dramatically.

As Blaylock points out in his book, early studies measuring phenylalanine buildup in the brain were flawed. Investigators who measured specific brain regions and not the average throughout the brain notice significant rises in phenylalanine levels. Specifically the hypothalamus, medulla oblongata, and corpus striatum areas of the brain had the largest increases in phenylalanine. Blaylock goes on to point out that excessive buildup of phenylalanine in the brain can cause schizophrenia or make one more susceptible to seizures.

Therefore, long-term, excessive use of aspartame may provide a boost to sales of serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and drugs to control schizophrenia and seizures.

Methanol a.k.a wood alcohol/poison (10 percent of aspartame)

Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. Some people may remember methanol as the poison that has caused some “skid row” alcoholics to end up blind or dead. Methanol is gradually released in the small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounters the enzyme chymotrypsin.

The absorption of methanol into the body is sped up considerably when free methanol is ingested. Free methanol is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 86 Fahrenheit (30 Centigrade). This would occur when aspartame-containing product is improperly stored or when it is heated (e.g. as part of a “food” product such as Jello).

Methanol breaks down into formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. An EPA assessment of methanol states that methanol “is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde.” They recommend a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day. A one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.

Symptoms from methanol poisoning include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis. The most well known problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage, and blindness. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, causes retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication and causes birth defects.

Due to the lack of a couple of key enzymes, humans are many times more sensitive to the toxic effects of methanol than animals. Therefore, tests of aspartame or methanol on animals do not accurately reflect the danger for humans. As pointed out by Dr. Woodrow C. Monte, director of the food science and nutrition laboratory at Arizona State University: “There are no human or mammalian studies to evaluate the possible mutagenic, teratogenic or carcinogenic effects of chronic administration of methyl alcohol.”

He was so concerned about the unresolved safety issues that he filed suit with the FDA requesting a hearing to address these issues. He asked the FDA to:

“…[S]low down on this soft drink issue long enough to answer some of the important questions. It’s not fair that you are leaving the full burden of proof on the few of us who are concerned and have such limited resources. You must remember that you are the American public’s last defense. Once you allow usage (of aspartame) there is literally nothing I or my colleagues can do to reverse the course. Aspartame will then join saccharin, the sulfiting agents, and God knows how many other questionable compounds enjoined to insult the human constitution with governmental approval.”

Shortly thereafter, the Commissioner of the FDA, Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverage. He then left for a position with G.D. Searle’s public relations firm.

It has been pointed out that some fruit juices and alcoholic beverages contain small amounts of methanol. It is important to remember, however, that methanol never appears alone. In every case, ethanol is present, usually in much higher amounts. Ethanol is an antidote for methanol toxicity in humans. The troops of Desert Storm were “treated” to large amounts of aspartame-sweetened beverages, which had been heated to over 86 degrees F in the Saudi Arabian sun. Many of them returned home with numerous disorders similar to what has been seen in persons who have been chemically poisoned by formaldehyde. The free methanol in the beverages may have been a contributing factor in these illnesses. Other breakdown products of aspartame such as DKP (discussed below) may also have been a factor.

In a 1993 act that can only be described as “unconscionable,” the FDA approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous food items that would always be heated to above 86 degree F (30 degree C).

Diketopiperazine (DKP)

DKP is a byproduct of aspartame metabolism. DKP has been implicated in the occurrence of brain tumors. Olney noticed that DKP, when nitrosated in the gut, produced a compound that was similar to N-nitrosourea, a powerful brain tumor causing chemical. Some authors have said that DKP is produced after aspartame ingestion. I am not sure if that is correct. It is definitely true that DKP is formed in liquid aspartame-containing products during prolonged storage.

G.D. Searle conducted animal experiments on the safety of DKP. The FDA found numerous experimental errors occurred, including “clerical errors, mixed-up animals, animals not getting drugs they were supposed to get, pathological specimens lost because of improper handling,” and many other errors. These sloppy laboratory procedures may explain why both the test and control animals had 16 times more brain tumors than would be expected in experiments of this length.

In an ironic twist, shortly after these experimental errors were discovered, the FDA used guidelines recommended by G.D. Searle to develop the industry-wide FDA standards for good laboratory practices.

DKP has also been implicated as a cause of uterine polyps and changes in blood cholesterol by FDA Toxicologist Dr. Jacqueline Verrett in her testimony before the U.S. Senate.

Source: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/06/aspartame-most-dangerous-substance-added-to-food.aspx

Chronology of Events Related to Aspartame

Study: Drinking Two or More diet Beverages a Day linked to High Risk of Stroke, Heart Attacks

Study: Drinking Two or More diet Beverages a Day linked to High Risk of Stroke, Heart Attacks

Another Study Confirms Diet Drinks Could Increase Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke Warns American Heart and Stroke Associations. From CNN: More bad news for diet soda lovers: Drinking two or more of any kind of artificially sweetened drinks a day is linked to an increased risk of clot-based strokes, heart attacks and early death in women over 50, according to a new study by the ...
Read More
Study: Artificially Sweetened Drinks put people at a Greater Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Study: Artificially Sweetened Drinks put people at a Greater Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Products with added fructose introduce excess 'nutrient poor' energy into our diet, researchers found - inflicting a harmful effect on blood sugar levels. The Canadian research team found no risk associated with food and drinks that have naturally-occurring fructose - such as whole fruits, vegetables, natural fruit juices and honey. However, sweet drinks do something different: they are made with ingredients that powercharge the fructose, sending ...
Read More
Six FDA Approved Artificial Sweeteners Proven Toxic To Human Digestion

Six FDA Approved Artificial Sweeteners Proven Toxic To Human Digestion

FDA-approved artificial sweeteners and sport supplements were found to be toxic to digestive gut microbes, according to a paper published in Molecules. Artificial sweeteners are one of the most common food additives worldwide, frequently consumed in diet and zero-calorie sodas and other products. Large examinations have tracked biochemical changes in the body using high-throughput metabolomics. The collaborative study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ...
Read More
Soylent Green: Pro-life Advocate Group Breaks News that Semonyx Uses Aborted Enbryonic Cells to Test Chemical Flavorings

Soylent Green: Pro-life Advocate Group Breaks News that Semonyx Uses Aborted Enbryonic Cells to Test Chemical Flavorings

The pro-life advocate group Children of God For Life broke the news that San Diego -based Semonyx  uses aborted embryonic cells to test fake flavoring chemicals labeled HEK-293 (HEK stands for Human Embryonic Kidney cells, with 293 denoting that the HEK was from the 293rd experiment). The 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green was about food produced from human body parts. Science fiction is now a ...
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Preventative Medicine Study Shows Relationship in Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain

Preventative Medicine Study Shows Relationship in Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain

This study examined nearly 78,700 women aged 50 to 69 for one year. Artificial sweetener usage increased with relative weight, and users were significantly more likely to gain weight compared to those who did not use artificial sweeteners, regardless of their initial weight. According to the researchers, the results "were not explicable by differences in food consumption patterns. The data do not support the hypothesis that ...
Read More

Sucralose

(Splenda) A chlorinated sucrose derivative derived from sugar, but 600 times sweeter than sugar that was originally found through the development of a new insecticide compound and wasn’t originally intended to be consumed. Linked to Leukemia, obesity, diabetes, and toxicity.

Would you intentionally eat a substance that when exposed to your eyes, essentially burns them and turns them blazing red?

Or how about a substance that has been used as a chemical warfare agent as far back as World War I and as recently as the Iraq war?

Well, each and every day many of you reading this do this very thing – only you have absolutely NO idea you are consuming this toxic substance.

And in fact, this very same substance has been touted as actually being healthy for you!

Get ready to be surprised.

Poison in Our Food?

In our never-ending quest to get something for nothing, food manufacturers continue to search for sugar alternatives. The most recent is touted as “tasting like sugar because it comes from sugar.” Yep, Splenda.

Splenda (known also as sucralose) is made by replacing two of the molecules from table sugar with chlorine. Yes, you read that right…it contains chlorine… the very same substance that’s been used as a chemical warfare agent and that’s routinely used to disinfect pools that our children swim in.

The resultant Splenda sugar replacement is a substance that is 600 times sweeter than sugar. And herein lies the problem.

On one side, you have Splenda advocates saying that sucralose is completely safe. On the other side you have those who say the dangers of Splenda are quite plentiful. So who’s right?

The Dangers of Splenda…

Let’s start with the history of sucralose. Like saccharine and aspartame, sucralose was also accidentally discovered…while trying to create an insecticide. Clue number one.

Clue number two is the high number of sucralose side effects.1 Those most frequently noted include:

  • Headaches
  • Skin irritation
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Heart palpitations
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Digestive issues
  • Itchy eyes

In fact, headaches may be an understatement. According to a 2006 issue of the journal Headache, researchers noted that there was “potential causal relationship” between sucralose and migraines.2 Interestingly, researchers also indicated that sucralose was approved by the FDA on April 1, 1998, taking time to note that this is April Fool’s Day!

Then there are the more serious side effects. According to a 1990 study from Food and

Chemical Toxicology, rats given sucralose had increased incidents of enlargement of the caecum (the first section of the large bowel), pelvic epithelial hyperplasia (precancerous cells of the pelvis), and renal mineralization (accumulation of mineral in the kidneys).3

In a 2008 study from Duke University and published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, researchers found that rats given sucralose for 12 weeks were found to be more prone to obesity, less healthy intestinal bacteria, and poor absorption of prescription drugs.4

While this study does show some pretty severe Splenda-related side effects, we do have to note that the study was funded by the sugar industry, which can cast some doubt on the results.

Then there’s the study done by the manufacturers of sucralose itself that found that rats given sucralose had 40 percent shrinkage of the thymus gland, which produces T-cells and is vital for a health immune system. They also found that the sugar replacement caused enlargement of the liver and kidneys.5 This is especially problematic, given that your liver and kidneys are two of your body’s primary organs for detoxification.

Just don’t bother trying to find this study in any peer-reviewed journals. See, the findings were discovered in a pre-approval study, and for what appears to be obvious reasons, the manufacturer opted not to publish the study.

Still, one can raise the valid issues that these studies are animal studies. What about humans? Great question. Wish we could answer it for you.

The reality is, as of 2006, only six human trials have been published on sucralose, and of these, only two were published before the FDA granted approval to Splenda. Additionally, those two trials were only done on a total of 36 people.

And, of the total human studies, the longest one lasted a grand total of four days. Yep, that’s less than 100 hours.

Which then begs the question, what are the positives associated with Splenda?

Is Splenda Safe…

According to the FDA, “In determining the safety of sucralose, the FDA reviewed data from more than 100 studies in humans and animals. Many of the studies were designed to identify possible toxic effects, including carcinogenic, reproductive, and neurological effects. No such effects were found.”6

Of course, they fail to mention that only two of the studies at the time were human studies.

On the research front, several additional animal studies have found that sucralose poses no risk. In a 2000 study from Food and Chemical Toxicology, researchers fed three different dosages of sucralose to three groups of rats. They found negative side effects at all three levels.7

The group that received 1,150 times the estimated daily intake (EDI) of sucralose exhibited kidney weight and decrease thymus weights in the offspring, as well as that offspring’s offspring. All three groups (the other two took 100 times the EDI and 365 times the EDI) showed caecal enlargement (the first section of the large bowel) in both the rats that received the Splenda, as well as their offspring.

Yet, researchers didn’t mention this in their conclusion. Instead, they concluded that sucralose had no effect on glucose metabolism in sperm nor on male or female reproductive performance in rats.

What? Perhaps their argument is that the amount given was so high that it didn’t warrant comment. But they failed to determine (and continue to fail to determine) the long-term, cumulative effects of sucralose consumption.

In a human study (yes, human!), researchers tested the effects of Splenda on appetite. They conducted a randomized, single-blinded, crossover study in eight healthy subjects. Participants were studied on four different days. They drank either plain water, sucralose, a sweetened drink similar in taste to sucralose, or a modified sham-feeding of sucralose (the sucralose never hits the stomach).8

They found that drinking sucralose did not reduce insulin levels. This is good, right? But the study also found that sucralose had no effect on appetite. The reality is that the sucralose did not reduce appetite. In other words, consuming Splenda did not make the participants eat less food.

Which, of course, leads us to the biggest purported benefit of all…weight loss. Splenda is marketed as the “no calorie sweetener.” Of course, this is meant to attract those people looking to lose weight. And the fact that it is a sugar alternative is meant to appeal to diabetics and those looking to reduce their sugar intake.

Here’s the problem. There actually ARE calories in Splenda. In fact, there are 96 calories in a cup. And one little yellow packet contains four calories. Wait, what?

Yes, that’s right. According to their own Web site, the “no calorie” sweetener contains “less than 5 calories, which meets FDA’s standards for no-calorie foods.”

So four calories is actually no calories? If you can figure out how that makes sense, please let us know.

Trust Your Gut…

So where do we go from here? Trust the FDA when they say Splenda is safe? Trust the company’s own contradictory message regarding calories?

Or do you trust the studies that show a likely health risk, including a study done by the makers of the sugar replacement itself?

Once again, this is where you need to use common sense. When in doubt, go natural. Time and time again, the food industry has proven that it’s typically just a matter of time before whatever Franken-chemical they’ve created ultimately proves to be dangerous, one way or another.

So, play it safe, and opt instead for naturally sweet foods like berries and cherries to feed your sweet tooth. And if you must have a little extra kick, aim for stevia.

As we’ve indicated before, stevia has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity rather than decrease it.9 So stick with the natural and leave the chlorine in the pool.

References:

  1. Kovacs, Betty. http://www.medicinenet.com/artificial_sweeteners/page9.htm. 12/13/2010.
  2. Patel, RM et al. Popular sweetener sucralose as a migraine trigger. Headache. 2006 Sep;46(8):1303-4.
  3. Lord, GH and Newberne, PM. Renal mineralization – a ubiquitous lesion in chronic rat studies. Food Chem Toxicol. 1990 Jun;28(6):449-55.
  4. Abou-Donia, MB et al. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008;71(21):1415-29.
  5. New Scientist. November 23, 1991. Page 13.
  6. Sucralose. FDA Final Rule. United States: Food and Drug Administration. www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/fr900403.html.
  7. Kille, JW et al. Sucralose: lack of effects on sperm glycolysis and reproduction in the rat. Food Chem Toxicol. 2000;38 Suppl2:S19-29.
  8. Ford, HE et al. Effects of oral ingestion of sucralose on gut hormone response and appetite in healthy normal-weight subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Apr;65(4):508-13.
  9. Lailerd, N et al. Effects of stevioside on glucose transport activity in insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant rat skeletal muscle. Metab. Clin. Exp. 2004 Jan;53(1):101-7.

Chronology of Events Related to Sucralose

Study: Drinking Two or More diet Beverages a Day linked to High Risk of Stroke, Heart Attacks

Study: Drinking Two or More diet Beverages a Day linked to High Risk of Stroke, Heart Attacks

Another Study Confirms Diet Drinks Could Increase Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke Warns American Heart and Stroke Associations. From CNN: More bad news for diet soda lovers: Drinking two or more of any kind of artificially sweetened drinks a day is linked to an increased risk of clot-based strokes, heart attacks and early death in women over 50, according to a new study by the ...
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Study: Artificially Sweetened Drinks put people at a Greater Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Study: Artificially Sweetened Drinks put people at a Greater Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Products with added fructose introduce excess 'nutrient poor' energy into our diet, researchers found - inflicting a harmful effect on blood sugar levels. The Canadian research team found no risk associated with food and drinks that have naturally-occurring fructose - such as whole fruits, vegetables, natural fruit juices and honey. However, sweet drinks do something different: they are made with ingredients that powercharge the fructose, sending ...
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Six FDA Approved Artificial Sweeteners Proven Toxic To Human Digestion

Six FDA Approved Artificial Sweeteners Proven Toxic To Human Digestion

FDA-approved artificial sweeteners and sport supplements were found to be toxic to digestive gut microbes, according to a paper published in Molecules. Artificial sweeteners are one of the most common food additives worldwide, frequently consumed in diet and zero-calorie sodas and other products. Large examinations have tracked biochemical changes in the body using high-throughput metabolomics. The collaborative study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ...
Read More
New Study Finds Sucralose Is Metabolized and Stored in Your Body

New Study Finds Sucralose Is Metabolized and Stored in Your Body

Needless to say, the industry has vehemently defended sucralose (and all other chemical sweeteners), stating that it rapidly passes unmetabolized through your body and therefore has no biological effects. Alas, recent research has punched yet another giant hole in the argument that sucralose is a biologically inert chemical, showing it is in fact metabolized and that it accumulates in fat cells. The study in question was ...
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Preventative Medicine Study Shows Relationship in Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain

Preventative Medicine Study Shows Relationship in Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain

This study examined nearly 78,700 women aged 50 to 69 for one year. Artificial sweetener usage increased with relative weight, and users were significantly more likely to gain weight compared to those who did not use artificial sweeteners, regardless of their initial weight. According to the researchers, the results "were not explicable by differences in food consumption patterns. The data do not support the hypothesis that ...
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Saccharin

It was first produced in 1878 by a chemist working on coal tar derivatives at Johns Hopkins University.  After working with his compounds all day, he discovered that his hand tasted “sweet.”1 Not really sure how it came about that he tasted his hand, but there it is. Today, saccharin is commonly manufactured by combining anthranilic acid (used among other things as a corrosive agent for metal) with nitrous acid, sulfur dioxide, chlorine, and ammonia.  Yes, that’s right.  Chlorine and ammonia. In fact, that particular group of chemicals sounds more like a recipe for a household cleaner than a sweetener.  And yet, millions upon millions of people consume saccharin every year.

But what most people don’t realize is that saccharin has had a rather bumpy road ever since its discovery. As far back as 1907, the USDA began taking a closer look at saccharin through the Pure Food and Drug Act (a precursor of sorts to the FDA).  Mr. Harvey Wiley, the director of the bureau of chemistry for the USDA during that time, felt saccharin should not be used in foods.  In fact, he is quoted as saying, “[Saccharin is] a coal tar product totally devoid of food value and extremely injurious to health.”2 And the USDA and FDA have flip-flopped virtually ever since.  In 1911, they stated that foods with saccharin were “adulterated,” then in 1912, said that saccharin wasn’t harmful.

In 1948-49, there was much discussion about the dangers of saccharin, but in 1969, an investigation into those claims found little scientific proof to warrant the concerns.  Yet, there must have been something because three years later, in 1972, the FDA tried to ban saccharin.3 They failed, of course, which is why saccharin is still available and being consumed by thousands of people every day.

One of the key reasons for the FDA’s concerns was that in 1970, researchers learned that saccharin caused bladder cancer in lab rats.4 I’ll discuss this a bit more in a moment, but suffice it to say that this created quite a problem for saccharin and the FDA. See, back in 1958, Congress added a little clause to the Food, Drugs, and Cosmetic Act, mandating that the FDA “prohibits the use of compounds found to induce cancer when ingested by man or animal, or if it is found after tests which are appropriated for the evaluation of the safety of the food additive, to induce cancer in man or animal.”5

But, instead of taking it off the market, the FDA simply added a warning to the label of foods containing saccharin stating that it caused bladder cancer in rats.

And the Controversy Continues…

You’d think that would be the end of it, wouldn’t you?  Cancer causing, necessary warning label, etc.  Well, you’d be wrong.  Really wrong. In late 2000, the FDA removed the warning labels after studies showed that the rats have a completely different chemical make up to their urine.  And it is this particular combination of high pH, high calcium phosphate, and high protein that interacts with saccharin and damages the bladder walls.  And this damage is what leads to increased cancer risk, not the saccharin itself.6,7

And the FDA bought it.  In fact, by 2010, saccharin was been taken off nearly every carcinogenic list, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program to the EPA’s list of hazardous products. But should it have been?

Big Problems…

Let’s start with cancer.

A 1997 report from the Center for the Science in Public Interest felt that it would be “highly imprudent for the National Toxicology Program to delist saccharin.”  They believed that doing so “would give the public a false sense of security, remove any incentive for further testing, and result in greater exposure to this probable carcinogen in tens of millions of people, including children (indeed, fetuses).”

And with good reason.

As I discussed, there are the rodent studies showing that saccharin caused bladder cancer, not to mention vascular and lung cancer.  It also increased the risk of uterine cancer in female mice.8

This was based on several studies, including one from 1978, which found that rats given saccharin developed bladder cancer that was quite aggressive.9 Additionally, rats exposed while in the womb were even more likely to develop cancer than those exposed immediately after birth.

Researchers in that study concluded, “Saccharin is carcinogenic for the urinary bladder in rats and mice, and most likely is carcinogenic in human beings.”

But the pro-saccharin people argued that rats and people aren’t the same.  Agreed.

There in lies the issue.  No one is willing to do a double blind, placebo-controlled study with saccharin, as it would be imprudent to knowingly place someone at risk.  But there are several case-controlled studies showing a definitive link between saccharin consumption and increased risk of cancer.

First of all, the National Cancer Institute noted a 10 percent increase in the incidence of bladder cancer 1973 and 1994.8 (Remember, the FDA tried to ban saccharin in 1972.)

An analysis of nearly 1,900 cases found that heavy use of artificial sweeteners was associated with increased risk of bladder cancer.10

A second analysis of more than 600 cases also found an increased risk of cancer in Canadian men who consumed either more artificial sweeteners or consumed them for a longer period of time.11

Finally, a British study found that English women who consume more than 10 tablets of artificial sweeteners (mostly saccharin) also had a higher risk of cancer.12

Thanks, but no thanks.

Wait, There’s More…

As if cancer weren’t bad enough, saccharin has also been tied to a variety of allergic reactions, including headaches, breathing issues, skin rashes, and diarrhea.13 Worst yet, it is still being added to some infant formulas!  Give me a break!

And then there’s the dieters’ and diabetic dilemma.  Or perhaps irony is a better word.

A 2008 study from Appetite found “a significant increase of plasma insulin concentration was apparent after stimulation with saccharin.”14 And they didn’t even ingest the saccharin!  They just rinsed their mouth out with it.

As we all know, increased insulin levels is a risk factor for both obesity and diabetes.  Probably NOT the side effect dieters and diabetics are going for when they choose a sugar-free product.

Use Your Brain…

So, what do you do?  You have a sweetener that is used in hundreds of products in the United States, and is deemed “safe” by the FDA.

But it clearly has documented health risks and concerns, ranging from allergies to cancer to increased insulin levels.

So what do you do?  Blindly trust the government and consume away?  I say no.

And the reason is pretty simple.  Chemicals, chemicals, chemicals.

There is nothing natural about saccharin.  Nothing.  And there’s certainly nothing natural about the side effects it has been proven to cause.

I say, just say no and step away.  Far away.

If you must have a bit of sweetness, opt instead for stevia.  This herb comes in both powdered and liquid forms and is a great choice to sweeten coffee, oatmeal, or even give mineral water a flavor boost.  Best of all, it’s chemical- and toxin-free.

And no coal tar in sight.

References:

  1. Myers, RL and Myers, RL.  The 100 most important chemical compounds: a reference guide.  2007.  Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
  2. Sugar: A Cautionary Tale.
  3. Priebem, PM and Kauffman, GB.  Making governmental policy under conditions of scientific uncertainty: A century of controversy about saccharin in congress and the laboratory.  Minerva 1980;18(4):556–74.
  4. Price, JM et al.  Bladder tumors in rats fed cyclohexylamine or high doses of a mixture of cyclamate and saccharin.  Science.  1970 Feb 20;167(921):1131-2.
  5. FD&C 409(C) (3) (A).
  6. Whysner, J and Williams, GM.  Saccharin mechanistic data and risk assessment: urine composition, enhanced cell proliferation, and tumor promotion.  Pharmacol Ther. 1996;71(1-2):225–52.
  7. Dybing, E.  Development and implementation of the IPCS conceptual framework for evaluating mode of action of chemical carcinogens.  Toxicology 2002 Dec;181-182:121–5.
  8. Saccharin still poses cancer risk, scientists tell federal agency. CSPI press release. October 28, 1997.
  9. Reuber, MD. Carcinogenicity of saccharin. Environ Health Perspect. 1978 Aug;25:173-200.
  10. Sturgeon, SR et al. Associations between bladder cancer risk factors and tumor stage and grade at diagnosis. Epidemiology. 1994 Mar;5(2):218-25.
  11. Howe, GR and Burch, JD. Artificial sweeteners in relation to the epidemiology of bladder cancer. Nutr Cancer. 1981;2(4):213-6.
  12. Morrison, AS et al. Artificial sweeteners and bladder cancer in Manchester, U.K., and Nagoya, Japan. Br J Cancer. 1982 Mar;45(3):332-6.
  13. Stewart, D. Risks of Saccharin. eHow. March 31, 2011.
  14. Just, T et al. Cephalic phase insulin release in healthy humans after taste stimulation?  Appetite.  2008 Nov;51(3):622-7.

Source: https://www.naturalhealthsherpa.com/saccharin-danger-side-effects/52849

Chronology of Events Related to Saccharin

Six FDA Approved Artificial Sweeteners Proven Toxic To Human Digestion

Six FDA Approved Artificial Sweeteners Proven Toxic To Human Digestion

FDA-approved artificial sweeteners and sport supplements were found to be toxic to digestive gut microbes, according to a paper published in Molecules. Artificial sweeteners are one of the most common food additives worldwide, frequently consumed in diet and zero-calorie sodas and other products. Large examinations have tracked biochemical changes in the body using high-throughput metabolomics. The collaborative study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ...
Read More