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Toxic Sweeteners – Gluten Free But Not Good For You

toxic sweeteners gluten free

Toxic Sweeteners Are Everywhere

Artificial sweeteners may be gluten free, but they are absolutely not good for you. In the following video breakdown, Dr. Osborne covers the most toxic sweeteners as well as safe and healthy alternatives you can use.

Artificial Sweeteners and Toxic Side Effects

If your goal is to reduce your caloric intake and to lose weight, artificial sweeteners are not the way to go. If you are diabetic and want to help reduce your blood sugar, artificial sweeteners will not help you accomplish this successfully. There are many varieties of “sugar substitutes” on the grocery store shelf. The most common are sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Sugar Twin) and saccharin (Sweet’N Low). People reach for these toxic artificial sweeteners in order to satisfy their sugar craving while ingesting little to no added calories. However, many consumers do not know the possible side effects and health risks associated with the ingestion of chemically processed artificial sweeteners. The FDA has a list of artificial sweeteners, which are termed high intensity sweeteners, approved for use as food additives. These include saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), sucralose, neotame, advantame, and stevia. All of these are labeled GRAS (generally recognized as safe by the FDA). Only those with phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid aspartame consumption. The American Dietetic Association states that children under 2 years of age, pregnant women and lactating women should not use artificial sweeteners, even though they are deemed safe by the FDA. 1,3

What products and foods contain artificial sweeteners?

Many processed products contain these artificial sweeteners including chewing gum, breath mints, beverages, alcoholic beverages, dairy products, salad dressings, desserts, candies, gelatin, preserves, baked goods, toothpastes, mouthwashes, yogurts, vitamins, children’s vitamins, pharmaceuticals, breakfast cereals, snack foods, soups and tabletop sweeteners. For the average consumer, these sweeteners are not easily identified on a food label. Most processed products will be labeled “sugar-free”, but will contain an artificial sweetener. For those with grain sensitivities, manufacturers will utilize corn as fillers to make these artificial sweeteners, which can create an inflammatory response in the body4. All of these processed products containing artificial sweeteners will continue to mislead consumers if labels are not read carefully.

What are the health risks associated with artificial sweeteners?

Current research is limited on the beneficial effects and the long term health risks associated with the ingestion of artificial sweeteners. However, cyclamate (an early artificial sweetener), was banned by the FDA in 1970 due to carcinogenic risks in experimental animals. With this ban, the artificial sweetener market took a hit. Consumers were left scared knowing there could be a cancer risk associated with ingestion of artificial sweeteners. Shortly after, manufacturers replaced one toxic artificial sweetener with new equally toxic sweetener. Many consumers report headaches, dizziness, rashes, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and digestive problems after ingesting artificial sweeteners. These side effects could build up over time and cause serious long term diseases with regular consumption of these processed sugars. Currently, the great debate is between the FDA and scientists. In a study determining the effects of saccharin, sucralose and aspartame consumption in both mice and humans, the ingestion of artificial sweeteners altered microbial metabolic pathways6. Studies indicated glucose intolerance was elevated due to changes in gut microbiota. Gut health has to be optimal in order to maintain a healthy immune system and normal metabolic functions in our body. Such metabolic functions include maintaining normal blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels. More studies need to be conducted, but scientists believe that there is also a relationship between sweeteners and certain cancers, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, and systemic lupus.7 In numerous studies observing weight loss with the ingestion of artificial sweeteners, there is not enough proof that consumption is beneficial in weight management2. Studies are able to show short-term weight loss, but lack any long term weight loss results. However, consumers are still consuming artificial sweeteners in order to reduce their caloric intake with the intent of weight loss based on physician’s recommendations. Artificial Sweeteners can also develop into an addiction. These processed sugars are 200-13,000 times sweeter than regular sugar5. Over time, the consumption of these artificial sweeteners can alter taste buds and result in a constant craving for foods that are overly sweet. More nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables become less palatable, so less nutritious sugar-free substitutes and carbohydrates are consumed instead. Consequently, risks for nutrient deficiencies and weight gain increase.

What kind of sweeteners are safe to use?

In order to satisfy one’s sweet craving, utilize all natural sugars. These sugars include agave syrup or crystals, local honey, maple syrup, monk fruit (luo han), and Stevia (pure)4. These sugars are pure, made by nature not in a lab, and do not undergo the high chemical processing of artificial sweeteners. For optimal nutrition levels, sugars should be used in moderation, obtained by organic fruit consumption or eliminated from the diet. Toxic Sweetener Alternatives With all these mixed bags of information and lack of long term studies, we should steer clear of all artificial sweeteners. They are after all, processed products. Why take the unnecessary health risks consuming a product filled with chemicals, grain fillers, and a long list of side effects? If it’s a yellow, blue, or pink packet, throw it away! Or if packaged foods say sugar-free, leave it on the grocery shelf! It could be toxic! What has been your experience using artificial sweeteners? Chime in below in the comments section. References: 1. Ansel, K. (2014). The Inside Scoop on Artificial Sweeteners. Retrieved from Eat Right 2. Bruyere, O., et al. (2015). Review of nutritional benefits and risks related to intense sweeteners. Arch Public Health, 73(41). doi: 10.1186/s13690-015-0092-x. 3. FDA. (2015). Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States. Retrieved from FDA 4. Osborne, Peter. (2016). No Grain, No Pain: a 30-day diet for eliminating the root cause of chronic pain. New York, NY: Touchstone. 5. Spencer, M., et al. (2016). Artificial Sweeteners: A Systematic Review and Primer for Gastroenterologists. J Neurogastroenterol Motil,22(2), 168- 6. Suez, J., Koram, T., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Segal, E., Elinav, E. (2015). Non-caloric artificial sweeteners and the microbiome: findings and challenges. Gut Microbes, 6(2), 149-155. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2015.1017700 7. Whitehouse, C.R., Boullata, J., McCauley, L.A. (2008). The potential toxicity of artificial sweeteners. American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, 56(6), 251-259.

15 Responses

  1. I have found problems with diet drinks,most have asperatin which gives me really bad restless legs soon after consumption

  2. I keep getting mixed advise on stevia. I have hoshimoto and my thyroid is still normal but gut problems are my big issue as well as emotional and brain fog stuff.

    1. I recently noticed many brands
      of stevia have maltodextrin as the first ingredient. To me that’s an adulteration of a natural sweetener. Am I wrong?

  3. I believe it is time we slowly change our taste buds avoiding sweet food and drinks. It gives us more power over our body, strength and a certain security. Our liver loves bitterness, sugar is destroying it. Sugar and its artificial friends is also destroying our microbiome/ gut health and is weakening our immune system. And our brain is getting tired of it. That’s why we are tired after a menu/dessert and have problems with concentration. …. It is just difficult to get used to a life without sugar as it is everywhere including the temptations. I tried it for 10 weeks (I also avoided bread and all grains). The result was surprising: Clear head, top concentration, never tired, weight loss of 7 kgs, felt fresh and invigorated and my body never asked for sugar (after 2 full days) until I tried it again. My body was extremely unhappy when I introduced again sugar and grain. Now 13 years later I will give it another go. It’s only the beginning…. and I will stay away from parties and eating out for the diet period. I’m truly looking forward to the result☀️

  4. What about raw coconut crystals. I thought they were 35 glycemic index verses 89 or 85 for sugar. Why isn’t it on your list?

  5. We did a challenge were you take sweeteners and pop out of you daily routine, because we consumed so much of it and the cravings were horrible. Anyway the results were from our 30 days with pop and sweeteners were all joint pain was gone, less cravings, slept better, and actually lost more weight. We still have a pop now and then, but have give up sweeteners in packages. Still eat sugar fee food, found Walden Farms, and Torani Syrups to sweeten our foods. It’s made a big difference.

  6. I have Lupus and gluten intolerance. I wanted to start cutting back on my sugar intake so I started using artificial sweeteners and buying no sugar added and sugar free foods and juices. I began having flareups for no reason until I discovered the culprit, artifical sweetners. I would feel so sick, weak and fatigued that it would send me to bed for days at a time.

  7. These are the reasons why I don’t like artificial sweeteners. I’d prefer non sweetened drinks or foods rather than eating or drinking toxic stuffs. Great post by the way!

  8. OMG. I bought a chocolate bar today that was sugar free. It was sweetened with allulose! Turns out this is made from corn! No wonder I have been sick all day! I couldn’t figure it out because I didn’t have anything else “bad” to eat today- gluten free pasta, green smoothie…But I googled allulose! Now I know!

  9. There must be something people with celiac disease can use to sweeten some things even if it’s limited. Granted our food industry is out to make billions killing us but what about honey or maple syrup. Life is unpleasant enough on a strict gf diet, it’s borderline miserable without any sweet options that we can enjoy.

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