Artificial Sweeteners


Artificial sweeteners are not a healthy substitute for sugar and they often cause people to eat more food and gain weight. When the body detects a sweet taste, it expects carbohydrates that contain nutrition, and when the gut finds no nutrition, the message is sent to the brain to eat more in order to get the nutrition needed.

The FDA has had more complaints about Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Canderel, NatraSweet, Spoonfuls, DiabetiSweet) than any other food additive, and yet it is still on the GRAS list (Generally Regarded As Safe) despite its strong association with brain tumours and seizures. 

It is a synthetic compound made up of Phenylalanine and Aspartic Acid held in a chemical bond by Methanol, which breaks down into Formic Acid, Formaldehyde and Diketopiperazine (DKP).  It is the DKP that causes brain tumours.

Aspartame breaks down more quickly with heat, and as such, is worse in hot drinks, or in soda pop that may have been in the sun at some point in its journey to our fridges.  If you have ever tasted a diet drink that didn’t taste sweet, you know the Aspartame in it broke down into the above mentioned neurotoxins (nerve poisons). 

Some symptoms of Aspartame toxicity include migraines, depression, seizures, attention deficit disorder, angry rages, joint pain, muscle spasm, and it can mimic diseases like MS, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Symptoms like migraines may appear quickly in some people, while in others there may be no symptoms for some time. 

If you or someone you care about has any of these symptoms, remove Aspartame from the diet for four to six weeks before medical testing to see if the symptoms resolve, and so that the artificial sweetener won’t cloud the diagnosis. 

Once again, read labels, because Aspartame is everywhere, including children’s vitamins, cool aid type fruit drinks, diet soda pop, sugar free chewing gum, gelatin desserts, frozen desserts, fillings and toppings for baked goods, hot chocolate mixes, breath mints, yogurt, wine coolers, tea beverages, some flavoured bottled waters, some fibre cereals, cold remedies and other medications.

Mary Nash Stoddard compiled the research on Aspartame into a report that she titled Deadly Deception: Story of Aspartame : Shocking Expose of the World’s Most Controversial Sweetener, if you are interested in looking into this subject further.

Sucralose, under the brand name of Splenda, is gaining in popularity as a substitute for sugar. Because this product is newer there is less research to look at, but what is there should give pause for thought.

It is advertised as being made from sugar, but that does not mean it is anything like sugar, just as water in no way resembles the oxygen and hydrogen from which it is made.

To make sucralose, three chlorine atoms are substituted for three oxygen-hydrogen groups on the sugar molecule turning it into a chlorocarbon. Chlorocarbons have been known to cause genetic, organ, immune and reproductive damage for some time, and they cause swelling of the liver as well as swelling and calcificatiion of the kidneys. 

If you get any mid-back pain in the kidney area or bladder irritation after consuming Splenda, take it out of your diet immediately.

Choose healthful sweeteners like raw (unpasteurized) honey, organic maple syrup, Rapadura or stevia to sweeten your food if necessary.

Related Tips:
Sugar – The Disease Generator

Chek, Paul; How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! Chek Institute, San Diego, CA, 2004.

Stoddard, Mary Nash; Deadly Deception: Story of Aspartame : Shocking Expose of the World’s Most Controversial Sweetener Odenwald Press, Dallas, TX, 1998

Brackett, C. Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World  DVD.

Online at

Roberts, HJ. Does Aspartame cause human brain cancer? Journal of Advances in Medicine Vol 4., No. 4, Winter 1991

Monte, WC Aspartame, Methanol and public health Journal of Applied Nutrition  Vol 36, No. 1, 1984

Shaw, PJ Excitatory amino acid receptors, excitotoxicity and the human nervous system Current Opinion in Neurology and Neurosurgery 6:414-422, 1993, UK

Maher TJ and Wurtman RJ Possible neurological effects of Aspartame, a widely used food additive Environmental Health Perspectives Vol. 75, p.53-57, 1987

Drake ME Panic attacks and excessive Aspartame ingestion The Lancet p. 631, Sept. 13, 1986.

Ishu II Incidence of brain tumours in rats fed Aspartame Toxicol Letters  7:433-437, 1981

Walton RG Seizure and Mania after high intake of Aspartame Psychomatics 27:218-220, 1986

Wurtman, RJ and Walker ER, Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function MIT Press, May 1988.

Lord GH, Newberne PM Renal mineralization – a ubiquitous lesion in chronic rat studies Food Chemical Toxicology 28:449-455, June 1990.

Labare MP, Alexander M. Microbial cometabolism of Sucralose, a chlorinated disaccharide, in environmental samples Applied Microbiol. Biotechnology 42:173-178, Oct. 1994.

Hunter BT, Sucralose Consumers’ Research Magazine Vol 73 Issue 10, p.8-10., Oct. 1990.

copyright Vreni Gurd 2006


  1. Rebecca Cody said,

    April 20, 2009 @ 11:51 pm

    I hope your readers will take the danger of artificial sweeteners very seriously. I never used aspartame very often, though I usually had some of the little blue packets around, just in case I ran out of the pink ones. And Equal was also the sweetener used at my office, but I only drank coffee there occasionally.

    About 17 years ago I began having what I thought of as “weird attacks”. I would feel a strange sensation in my head, which would flow down my neck and shoulders, then dissipate as it went down my body. When I felt the first of it, I could say something like, “Oh, I’m having one of those weird attacks.” Then I couldn’t speak again until it dissipated.

    Never one to run to the doctor for every little thing, I chalked it up to approaching menopause and didn’t give it much thought.

    Then, some time later, I met a friend in Las Vegas for a little R&R. After dinner in a nice restaurant, followed by a cup of good coffee with Equal, I was sleeping soundly when my friend was awakened by a gasp of air and my body stiffening suddenly. It was my first large, or grand mal seizure. My friend later told me I was so stiff someone at each end could have picked me up like a board.

    I finally awoke 32 hours later in a hospital. The doctor there sent me home with a small bottle of Dilantin, which he said I should continue taking forever, and instructions to see my doctor as soon as I got home.

    But I wasn’t really “there” for the event, that is, I was checked out and didn’t really experience what the seizure did to me, so I didn’t heed the doctor’s words. I finished his sample of Dilantin and forgot the whole thing. Until, that is, a week or so later when I awoke feeling like I had the flu. I crawled down from my houseboat loft and called a friend to tell her I was sick. Then I crawled onto a foam pad in the living room and fell asleep. My friend came and somehow managed to get me up the dock, to her car, and to an emergency clinic.

    The doctor there said I’d had another seizure, this time making a stronger impression on me, and insisted I see a neurologist. The neurologist ordered an EEG and an MRI. The EEG showed abnormal brain waves, but I was fortunate the MRI didn’t show a brain tumor. The neurologist had no idea why I was suddenly having seizures, and clued me in about the “weird attacks” being seizures also. He wrote a prescription for Dilantin, which I took for a year or two.

    But I didn’t like taking medication, and I knew all meds carry side effects. I also knew that stopping the medication suddenly would likely trigger a seizure. So I weaned myself off very slowly, cutting back one pill a week, two pills the next week, and so forth until I was totally off Dilantin. I had no more seizures, but I had another doctor order an EEG just to check out the brain waves. They were normal. I hadn’t been using Equal, but I still hadn’t made the connection.

    that time I was seizure free for a year. Then one morning I discovered I was out of my usual sweetener, but I had a few packets of Equal. I used one packet in each of two mugs of decaf coffee for two mornings – that’s all – just four packets in two days. On the second day, I had a major seizure at work. I was alone, and I slammed my head down hard on the counter next to my desk, breaking the orbit, the tiny bone around the eye, and giving myself a glorious shiner. Two hours later a customer came in and found me unconsious and called 911. About the time the medics arrived I came to.

    Back on Dilantin, the seizures were controlled. I wasn’t allowed to drive until I had been seizure-free for six months. I began questioning why, when my recent EEG had been normal, I had had another seizure. What had changed?

    Years before I had read of the dangers of aspartame (Equal, etc.), and I suddenly realized THAT was what was different. I had used Equal those two mornings in my coffee. The neurologist denied that was causing my seizures, but I knew he was wrong, wrong, WRONG!

    Again, I took the Dilantin for a year, but decided I would be safe from seizures as long as I totally avoided aspartame. I once more weaned myself off the medication very slowly. This time I paid much more attention to reading labels. Not only did I avoid aspartame, I was careful also to avoid MSG, another neurotoxin, which is often disguised by other names.

    It’s been about nine years now since I stopped Dilantin, nine years since I absolutely stopped all sources of aspartame, and I remain seizure-free.

    Please, please don’t poison your brain as I did. Aspartame actually causes people to eat more and to gain weight. And it is in many, many products, including pharmaceuticals. In fact, it is in the prep medication my husband took in order to have a colonoscopy. It should never have been allowed in our food supply. The fact that it was and is are positive proof that the US FDA, which most people think is there to protect us, only cares about protecting the profits of the food processors and pharmaceutical manufacturers. FDA spokespersons have said they see their customers as those giant companies, not as the American public. So, we the public, must beware and look out for ourselves.

    You have my sincere desire for your good health.

    Rebecca Cody

    PS I agree with Vreni – the ONLY safe sweetener is stevia. I don’t use the stuff in the pink packet any more, either.

  2. mickey mouse said,

    May 13, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

    Stevia is also poison. I’ve had panic attacks, flu-like symptoms, severe weakness, flushing, etc., from Stevia. Stevia needs to be classified the same as aspartame.

  3. Aban said,

    August 15, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

    Please let me know if the arificail sweetner Xyletol is safe?

  4. Robert Halili said,

    April 10, 2011 @ 8:45 am

    Whenever I go to Vancouver, I go to Costco and buy food recommended by friends. Splenda was one of them. Two months after consuming it, I found out after a physical that I had fatty liver for the first time in my life. I stopped taking Splenda for 3 months while maintaining my eating and exercise routines and in my next check-up my liver was back to normal. I now avoid artificial sweeteners and just go for plain brown sugar. The fatty liver incident caused many sleepless weeks, several hepatitis tests, and worry. This article basically hits the artificial sweetener right in the head.

  5. Vreni said,

    April 10, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    Hey Robert,

    So glad you sorted that out! Not always easy to know what is the cause of a problem, and many go around in circles trying to figure that kind of thing out. The easiest rule to know what is healthy to eat is to ask yourself the question. Did this food exist before the industrial revolution? If the answer is no, don’t eat it.

    Or to take it a step further, “Did this food over 10,000 years ago?” Then for sure it is healthy. The 10,000 year ago rule would also eliminate flour products like bread, pasta and pastries, as well as dairy, which would increase your health even further. As far as I can determine, the healthiest diet is one that is completely unprocessed and includes vegetables, flesh-foods, nuts and seeds, and some fruit when in season. Raw dairy is also healthy in my opinion, if the dairy is coming from pastured cows. Of course, there is no such thing as raw dairy in Canada unless you own a cow.

  6. Angel said,

    July 6, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    what about Xylitol !?

  7. Vreni said,

    July 6, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

    Hi Angel,

    I have not researched Xylitol I admit, but there is plenty of research out there that says that eating artificially sweetened foods cause the body to look for sugar, and when it does not show up in the digestive tract, your body makes you hungry again so you eat more. Therefore artificially sweetened foods and beverages usually result in people gaining weight.

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