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Are artificial sweeteners bad for you?

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Old 08-06-2012, 11:02 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by JoJoJo2 View Post
There are studies out there that can prove, or disprove, anything and everything. Who really knows?

No research proves anything. It's only by a "preponderance of the evidence" that reasonable conclusions may be drawn (and no respectable researcher would argue otherwise).

One study is never used (by scientists) to "prove" anything, rather the research is replicated many times, in many ways, before the researchers are confident that their research "means anything."

No study should ever be considered proof of anything. Each study only provides a limited amount of evidence, that can only be evaluate by comparing it to and compiling it with a lot more evidence.


Unfortunately non-science based media (like women's magazines and the nightly news) report the research results in a way that no scientist ever would, but the less-sensational "truth" isn't seen as being as interesting or as news-worthy as over-simplified sensationalism.
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:39 PM   #32
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I lost 60 lbs a few years and used artificial sweeteners every day to sweeten my tea. It helped me to lose the weight.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:18 AM   #33
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Personal preference, I never use artificial sweetner ...don't care if it has been proven to be bad or not ...not gonna take the chance

My dad had a rare form of kidney cancer about 5 years ago and he drank nothing but 12 packs of diet mountain dew daily ...his doc said they couldn't prove the two were related but there was a good chance ...
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:49 PM   #34
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Really sorry to hear about your dad, Satine. People just have to do the research the information is out there. Some just dont want to believe but think of it like this. Most people dont know the difference between the artificial sugars and have never even heard mention of the natural ones like stevia and xylitol or the other alcohol types now being used more commonly.

Think about this though... one of the biggest artificial sweetners actually says on the label "this product has been shown to cause cancer in rats."

Now...Im gonna take u to a pond on a nice hot summer day 104 degrees. Wow that water looks really cool and inviting, but umm...whats with all those 2 headed frogs and three eyed fish swimming around. But, hey... no one has proven this pond is bad for humans....do you still wanna get in and go for a swim?

have a small edit Id like to add in regards to the cancer in rodents thing.... didnt they start growing cells on mice a few years back for transplant to humans? I kinda remember seeing a pic of a rat with like a human ear on its bak or something strange like that. Sounds crazy I know, but I know they do use animal tissues to grow and then transplant to humans. Im sayin...if we can accept such transplants that our tissues are that much compatible... whats bad for the goose must also be bad for the gander. O M G nevermind I just sound crazy now.lol

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Old 10-04-2012, 07:11 PM   #35
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I'm drinking coke zero right now. Mostly because I prefer the taste. I have no problem with artificial sweeteners. I've read studies that are both for and against the use and I think it's up to the individual.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:27 AM   #36
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There isn't any peer reviewed research to support what Threenorns said, at least that I'm aware of. Aspartame is one of the most studied molecules in the food supply, and no scientifically valid study has ever found any sort of long term health effect to using it. The FDA and equivalent departments of 90 other countries around the world have deemed it safe for consumption. There is one batch of studies that was fairly recent and did purport to show that there were health risks in rats with aspartame consumption, but that study had a LOT of methodological flaws that made the results extremely questionable.

That said, there are studies that correlated higher weights with aspartame. One thing to consider there is the difference between a correlation and a causation. What we know is that people who use artificial sweeteners tend to weigh more...that's all we know. We don't know if it's the artificial sweetener CAUSING the person to weigh more, or if when people weigh more, they are more likely to use artificial sweeteners. The only way to know that they CAUSED weight gain would be to do a double-blind trial - put some people in the study, control everything they eat, give half of them drinks with stevia and half with aspartame, and see who gains weight. Such a study hasn't been done, that I'm aware of.

The bottom line - this is a decision you're going to have to make for yourself based on your own research - there is no "right" or "wrong", clear-cut answer here. There is a great summary of the controversy around aspartame here:

There are other artificial sweeteners, including Splenda and saccharine, that are used and widely available, and all of them have been researched for safety, with various results.
Thank you so much for posting this. People who have HORRIBLE dietary habits have lectured me about my use of aspartame and it's infuriating, because they can never point me to the evidence they found to back up their claims. My pre-diabetic roommate will drink a 2-liter of full calorie Coke in one day and thinks it's healthier than me having an Equal in my coffee because it's "not chemicals".
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:46 PM   #37
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I don't usually share this story, but maybe I should. Just because someone consumes artificial sweeteners now doesn't mean they will always be safe from potential health problems. Consider that life long consequences may not be known yet.

I used to be a firm believer in artificial sweeteners and I'm sorry to say but I kind of rolled my eyes when people said negative things about them. I believed that if they were approved by the FDA then they had to be safe. I added them to my coffee, drank diet drinks, used them in baking, etc. I don't know how much I actually consumed, but I'm sure it was a lot.

About 10 years ago, I had the most horrific headache that lasted for a month straight. I couldn't even sleep because I had nightmares about little people inside my head with hammers! It hurt so bad. I was using Sweet n Low at the time. I did a little elimination test and found that giving up Sweet n Low made the headaches go away. Later I tried adding it again and the headaches came back.

So I switched to Splenda and everything in the world was right again. I was headache free for a few years.

When I started getting headaches again, I did not relate it to the Splenda because I'd been consuming it for a long time without any problems.

I had a headache that lasted 24 hours out of every day, 7 days a week, for 4 years. It hurt so bad that I cried, had to crawl at times, and could not function. The pain was so excruciating that I started researching methods of suicide. I spent thousands of dollars on neurologists, CT scans, and medications. The doctors couldn't figure out what was causing the pain.

I decided to try an elimination diet again. The pain gradually stopped after I gave up Splenda. It took two months for the pain to leave completely. I tried Splenda again (sucralose, the ingredient in splenda) and the headaches returned. We repeated this again with the same results over an 8 month period.

I spent many years here supporting the use of artificial sweeteners and I regret it. Most people are probably fine with artificial sweeteners. Maybe they won't realize they have a problem with them until many years down the road. Who knows Like everything else, it's a personal choice.

I retrained my sweet tooth. I drink water or unsweetened tea, and nothing else. Sugar is not the enemy - quantity is the real problem. If I eat sweets, I eat the real thing and I eat small quantities. If I really want something sweet, I'd rather spend 16 calories on a teaspoon of sugar than risk my health or my life again.

Unfortunately, my story isn't unique. I've learned that a lot of people have had similar experiences with artificial sweeteners.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:56 PM   #38
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I am allergic to artificial sweeteners...
can not do anything except, I found out that my body can tolerate 1 energy bar containing sucralose a day.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:23 PM   #39
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I don't usually share this story, ...


Even natural foods can trigger severe headaches, so elimination diets are about the only way to find out which foods are headache triggers.

For me, sugar really is almost an enemy. When I eat "the real thing," even in small amounts, the hunger it triggers is so severe I've called it "rabid hunger."

I've also used elimination diets to track my own severe health effects, and because of the reading I did in autoimmune and many grain-critical books I began to suspect grains and carbs in my health problems.

I gave up wheat and other gluten-grains, and drastically cut back on other grains and sugar. When I eat any of those foods in significant quantities (even relatively small to modest amounts of sugar - even from all-natural whole sources such as fruit), my symptoms return (not only allergy symptoms, but also IBS, and autoimmune symptoms affecting my joints, skin, and lungs. Symptoms include joint pain, respiratory difficulties and insanely itchy, painful and disturbingly ugly skin issues, that hubby not-so-lovingly refers to as "face rot").

It takes more quinoa than fruit, and more fruit than chocolate and more chocolate than wheat, but they all trigger the symptoms. The autoimmune issues are my biggest concern, because when the autoimmune disease is active, it is damaging my skin, joints and respiratory system by attacking/destroying connective tissue (for example eating a hole in my nasal septum and causing asthma/copd symptoms).

On artificial sweeteners, I do not have "rabid hunger," and my symptoms are under control and the autoimmune disease is even in at least partial remission (no sign of organ damage has been detected since I started eating a grain/carb/sugar-controlled diet - the symptoms begin to reappear when I ingest sugar or grains in significant quantities).

So for me, artificial sweeteners are less harmful than the "real thing." Because I do believe there are potential health consequences not only to sugar substitutes, but to all foods, I use the same approach with artificial sweetners as I do with natural foods - trying to avoid eating any food to excess and choosing the widest variety possible. This insures that I not only get the most benefits from the variety, I also limit the consequences of overusing any one.

So I use as little sweetener as I can, but I use a variety of sweeteners (trying to have an assortment on hand so I don't have to overuse any one).

Also, I've found that many sweetners have synergistic effects with other sweeteners (meaning that if you combine two or more sweeteners, in essense 1 + 1 can equal 3, so you can use less total sweetener by combining two or more).

I've done a lot of reading and researching on artificial and natural sweeteners, and I'm satisfied with their safety for most people, but most importantly for myself, however I've also learned that their potential side effects profiles are very similar to other foods (even entirely natural foods).

I use mostly xylitol, erythritol, Splenda, aspartame, and stevia (in my order of preference).

The less "real" sugar I eat (even from fruit) the less sweetness I want/need, so my sweetener use overall has gone down dramatically (even though I never thought I had a sweet tooth at all, because all my food triggers were sweet/savory/tangy/spicy combos like bbq and general tso's chicken).

It was the hidden sugars I was most addicted and sensitive to. Now, even if I eat more than a few pieces of fruit or a large helping of grains, or small amounts of wheat, my face will flush and feel warm/itchy almost immediately. If I continue to eat off-plan amounts of carbs and sugars, my asthma and respiratory problems start to return. I have little doubt that if I returned to eating significant amounts of "the real thing" when it comes to digestible carbs, my autoimmune disease would re-emerge as would the organ damage that was occuring at the time of my original diagnosis. It just shows that anectdotal evidence is just that - one person's experience. For me, Splenda and even aspartame seem to be less harmful than sugar.

I don't think my experience is necessarily common, but I also have no reason to believe it's rare (according to many of the autoimmune book authors, it's apparently not).
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:43 AM   #40
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Ah, crap - I've been using sweeteners for ages now thinking I was taking the high road! definitely going to bin them now though!
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:48 AM   #41
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I too am one who used to use a lot of fake sugar. Then at the suggestion of a friend who had given them up, I did a lot of research on symptoms they cause and realized that I had a LOT of them with no idea what was causing it. When I gave up the artificial stuff, many of the symptoms went away... things such as frequent headaches and easy bruising. Giving them up was one of the smartest things I've ever done. I've also learned to avoid ALL chemicals as much as possible, including most processed foods. I feel MUCH better since I've done this and have noticed my hair and complexion both improving.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:10 PM   #42
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all artificial sweeteners make me hungry ... Like CRAZY hungry
so, I just consume raw sugar or honey
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:44 PM   #43
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I too am one who used to use a lot of fake sugar. Then at the suggestion of a friend who had given them up, I did a lot of research on symptoms they cause and realized that I had a LOT of them with no idea what was causing it. When I gave up the artificial stuff, many of the symptoms went away... things such as frequent headaches and easy bruising. Giving them up was one of the smartest things I've ever done. I've also learned to avoid ALL chemicals as much as possible, including most processed foods. I feel MUCH better since I've done this and have noticed my hair and complexion both improving.
Not trying to be argumentative, just curious: Can you post the names of the studies you found that show it causes these symptoms? How do you know it was the sweetener that was causing them? How much of it were you using?
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:07 PM   #44
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I'm at school right now to become an RD and we had a lecture on artificial sweeteners just the other day. Basically, there's no evidence to suggest that artificial sweeteners cause cancer. The daily levels that are classified as "safe" by the government (Health Canada in my case) are 1/10 of the daily levels they believe you would need to consume daily to experience toxicity. They're exceptionally cautious about these kinds of things.

Personally, I went off artificial sweeteners and I will never use them again. For starters, I think they taste horrible and fake. Secondly, from personal experience I do believe they trigger your body into preparing to digest sugar and then disappointing it when it doesn't receive any sugar, thereby making you crave sugar. Thirdly, I've seen people experience pretty strange side effects when they've cut them out which suggests a chemical dependency and I'm not a fan of that. And finally, I've yet to see anyone address the cumulative effects of all these compounds. Sure, artificial sweeteners on their own might be safe, and conventional pesticides on their own might be safe, and propylene glycol in our shampoos might be safe but what effects will all these have when added together over a life time? Nobody knows. I'd rather be conservative.

And I drank diet coke for most of my teenage years and it did absolutely nothing to help me lose weight. I gained steadily, so I've never realized the "advantages" of consuming artificial sweeteners. I guess if you're a diabetic your argument would be different.

It's a personal choice and everyone will have differing opinions. I just thought it was interesting since we'd just touched upon this topic in lecture.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:00 PM   #45
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I am taking a nutrition class and we had a discussion about this. The teacher said the experiments in the 70's that suggested that sweeteners may cause cancer had many flaws. Namely they gave enough to rats that would be the equivalent of drinking 150 cans of diet soda per day, and they got bladder cancer due to it crystalizing in their bladder, something that doesn't happen to humans. But they are still good to stay away from.
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