The 5 Deadliest Artificial Sweeteners

The 5 Deadliest Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners quickly became a viable solution to the growing problems linked to the over indulgence of sugar. It sounded almost too good to be true: an ingredient that was able to sweeten your favorite beverages and foods without the caloric surplus!

You get the best of both worlds with artificial sweeteners so why is there a growing number of studies claiming that these artificial ingredients may be worse for you than traditional sugar? Let’s take a look at the top 5 offenders and discover why they are becoming such a problem.


An artificial sweetener, as the name suggests, is a synthetic additive. Put simply: It’s made in a lab and put into your favorite foods and beverages. Although the chemical make-up may be different in the creation of each sweetener, your body’s inability to properly process and utilize this additive remains the same.


1.) High Fructose Corn Syrup

Classified as a sugar substitute, High Fructose Corn Syrup may not be an artificial sweetener but it certainly deserves a place on the list. It is a processed corn syrup made from glucose and fructose. It’s inexpensive, extremely sweet, and has a long shelf life.

It’s also leading the way in the uproar from critics of its widespread use. Many on-going studies point out the abundance of coincidental links to the growing use of HFCS in the food supply and the rise of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Concrete research has shown the effect of fructose over consumption to lead to insulin resistance, which contributes to weight gain. (3)

HFCS is also being accused of being one of the top potential factors for the sudden mass disappearance of honeybees. As a possible cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, high fructose is one sweetener you want to avoid at all costs. (6)

2.) Sucralose

If you’ve ever cleaned a swimming pool or stepped into a public pool, you’re pretty familiar with the awful, over-powering smell of chlorine. That same cleaning, disinfecting solution is also used in the production of Sucralose. Sold under the name of Splenda, Sucralose is an artificial sweetener created by chlorinating table sugar. Organochlorine compounds are the result of this chlorination process and a number of studies have linked these compounds to the following: (4)

•    Infertility
•    Reproductive system cancers
•    Developmental toxicity
•    Neurotoxicity
•    Immunotoxicity

3.) Aspartame

Aspartame is a very popular artificial sweetener that is commonly sold under the brand names of NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame has a chemical foundation of aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Considered to be the most diabolical of the artificial sweeteners, Aspartame has been linked to a number of ailments in human and animal surveys.

The Food and Drug Administration released a report in 2003 highlighting the side effects and conditions made worse by the sweetener. Some examples include: (1)

•    Headaches
•    Nausea and abdominal pain
•    Weight gain
•    Severe depression

4.) Acesulfame Potassium

Also known as Aceslulfame-K, this calorie-free artificial sweetener is sold under the brand names Sunett and Sweet One. The biggest fear with Ace-K is that it may have carcinogenic properties, which means it may directly contribute to the development of cancer within the body.

While 90 studies seemed to have confirmed otherwise, there seems to be a general consensus from critics that these tests are inherently flawed and should be re-designed to allow for a proper evaluation of this artificial sweetener. (2)

5.) Saccharin

Another calorie free sweetener, Saccharin hosts a sweetness that is 300 times that of table sugar. You will recognize Saccharin by the brand names that it is sold by: Sweet n’ Low, Sugar Twin, and Necta Sweet. One major study involved rats being fed a Saccharin-based diet. The result was the emergence of Chronic Renal Disease, or bladder cancer.

This study shed light on the carcinogenic properties of Saccharin and it was immediately placed on a list of toxic substances. In 2000, Saccharin was removed from this list after many proponents of the sweetener claimed that subsequent studies proved otherwise. Even after its removal from the list, many critics are demanding it be placed back on. (5)


The safest sweetener is not using one but when a recipe or craving demands the use of a sugar substitute, your two best options are raw honey and Stevia.

Raw Honey

Considered a perfect super food, raw honey provides a number of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It hosts anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties and it is plenty sweet.


Made from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, Stevia was the result of a demand for a safe alternative to artificial sweeteners. This zero-calorie sugar substitute is 200 times sweeter than table sugar.


The quest to avoid all things artificial in your diet is a tough one considering artificial sweeteners are present in such abundance. If you can help it, choose a product that does not contain an artificial sweetener.

If there is just no way around it, which is the case with many fitness supplements, then your best bet is to choose the lesser of the five evils and to go with Ace-K. While there is evidence calling Ace-K into question, there are also 90 studies approving its use.