General Question

awomanscorned's avatar

Are artificial sweeteners worse for you than real sugar?

Asked by awomanscorned (11261points) November 10th, 2010 from iPhone

I can taste artificial sweeteners in anything they’re in. They taste like poison and death and hurt my feelings.

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41 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Perhaps you are speaking of aspartame, which has been linked to brain problems. It is what is used in most diet soft drinks.

Sugar itself is not that bad. The problem is the amount of it found in all sorts of prepared foods such as bread.

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SundayKittens's avatar

My research says yes, as bad or worse.
I was hardcore addicted to diet drinks and have been clean for many months now. FIGHT THE POWER!!!!

Carly's avatar

Ok, this is gonna sound mean, but all the fat people in my family put fake sweeteners in everything they eat. They’ve been doing this for years because they think it’ll help them loose weight. THEN! One of them decided to eat all natural foods and just exercise a little everyday (we’re talking about taking a 30min walk). They lost over 50lbs in a year just from doing that, and they said they didn’t feel “sick” anymore.

So I op to stay away from sweeteners.

Soubresaut's avatar

Your body, when it tastes sugar, begins prepping the blood with some insulin so that your blood sugar doesn’t spike for too long.
The problem is, this is actually a conditioned response, and it can be unconditioned if you consume too many artificial sweeteners for too long—they give your tongue a sweet sensation, but the insulin in the blood is no longer needed, so the body stops responding to sweetness of any kind. Then when you eat normal sugar, your blood sugar will spike higher for longer, which is damaging and dangerous.
(I got this from my psych class last year when we were talking about all different types of conditioning—this was a physiological example)

Plus what @marinelife said.
They’re all artificial chemicals our body still tries to use, I’d be more surprised if they’re not doing something we don’t mean them to do.

And I agree with you @noelleptc, they taste fake and gross.

iamthemob's avatar

Many of the health problems associated with aspartame seem to be more urban myth than fact. I think that the main thing is that if you’re opting for aspartame for what you’re doing…you’re probably making bad food choices generally. (I do this too…I’m not guilt-free).

KungFuPanda's avatar

Due to some personal interest, I have been months together on forums where people with all kinds of problems turn up and ask for experience and advice from fellow sufferers. And I have seen that many people who had a common history of consuming aspartame (other artificial sweeteners included, but mainly aspartame) reported the kind of problems that would be classified as serious medical problems. These people usually had multiple problems and I’ve seen them recommend stopping aspartame to each other – this primarily happened because most of them reported some improvement in their recovery when they stopped aspartame. It was there that I first came to know about the potential horrors (those problems could easily be called horrors) of this stuff. I would like to believe that more than any ‘scientific magazine’ or website, because nowadays everything is up for money and science is no exception. I’d like you guys to read the dangers of aspartame (and other cover-ups). I am no conspiracy theorist but personal experiences make me believe this one (or for that matter, many other today’s foods) is not safe at all.

To those who have seen the fine print on aspartame “not suitable for phenylketoneurics or children”, please research this yourself.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I believe you are right. I use stevia.

iamthemob's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille – stevia is awesome…AND natural. Isn’t Coke making a fake version of it now?

SundayKittens's avatar

Doesn’t Stevia do the same thing to your pancreas,bloodsugar, etc as Aspartame?It still makes me feel iffy.

iamthemob's avatar

Well, I’m more comfortable with it considering that it’s a plant, instead of a what!?!.

6rant6's avatar

Consuming fewer calories is necessary to lose weight. If you are overweight, even a little, losing weight will increase your long term health prospects. People who drink sweetened drinks in particular can lower their caloric intake by getting rid of sugar. (Sweetened drinks account for about 300 extra calories per day in the average American’s diet since 1960).

There may indeed be negative consequences to using aspartame or stevia (although none are known today that affect most people) or the other dozen well known sugar substitutes. But SUGAR is a known killer. The fat it puts on causes diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and skeletal problems. And there is mounting evidence that sugar contributes to cancer, GI illnesses such as Chrone’s, systemic illness like Lupus, and mental illness. At the least it exacerbates depression.

The sugar industry has done their best to make you afraid of possible adverse consequences of using alternatives to their product. But if you can’t already see how dangerous their product is, you’re not looking. @carly, How many of those fat people in your family got there in part by drinking sweetened drinks?

Seems to me that a plant-based diet with an eye toward getting sufficient protein and “good” fat is the best diet. But clearly the worst diet is one that relies on sugar to provide significant daily calories (supplanting healthy foods) and results in long term weight gain.

crisw's avatar


“To those who have seen the fine print on aspartame “not suitable for phenylketoneurics or children”, please research this yourself.”

I have never seen any statement on an aspartame product that states “not suitable for children”- can you please give an example?

As for people with phenylketonuria; the reason they cannot consume aspartame is that it contains a natural amino acid- phenylalanine- that people with PKU cannot metabolize. This amino acid is found in many foods and people with PKU must avoid them.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@iamthemob -I hope so!
A friend grows stevia and brews her coffee with it.I haven’t tried it that way yet.Have you?
@SundayKittens-I have not noticed any higher blood sugars with myself since using stevia.

crisw's avatar

This article has a pretty good summary of the “aspartame controversy.” Basically, like many other such “controversies,” the science is pretty firmly on one side. And, as usual, it isn’t the same side that is chosen by the more hysterical voices in the debate. :>)

GeorgeGee's avatar

artificial sweeteners are a scam and they are indeed poison. Cyclamates, saccharine, aspartame, each generation for the past 50 years has had a sweetener that they were told safe, and then is pulled as they say “oops, I guess that kinda causes cancer….”
Further, you won’t find anyone who went from 300 pounds to 150 merely because they started using artificial sweetener. Funny how that goes.

Mariah's avatar

I take issue with one particular common sugar replacement – sorbitol. You see it in sugar-free gum, mostly. It’s actually a weak laxative! Chewing too much sugar free gum will do baaaad things to your digestion; seems safer to me just to consume a bit of sugar!

6rant6's avatar

@Mariah All things in moderation! How much gum are you chewing???

Here’s the other side of it…

If you chew 10 sticks a day (at 7 calories each) that’s 70 calories a day, or about 2100 calories a month. At that rate, you’d put on 7 pounds of weight per year – 70 in a decade.

So you have to make a choice – either accept the additional weight, find something else to cut back on, or chew sugarless gum. It seems like an unreal choice, I l know. But if you see someone who has been chewing gum for the last decade and is 70 pounds overweight, you can see that making one small choice away from sugar was probably the right thing for them to do… back then.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Simple answer? Yes, much worse.

mrentropy's avatar

I’m pretty curious about Stevia (Truvia, really). I haven’t seen much that’s negative about it. Unless someone can point me in the direction of health issues.

Mariah's avatar

@6rant6 I don’t chew gum, myself! I’ve just heard about this happening to other people.

SundayKittens's avatar

@Mariah Ohhh,it happens!!

6rant6's avatar

Here’s a list pulled off some random site of “Natural laxatives”:



Aloe Vera

Apple Juice

Brewer’s Yeast


Chicken Broth













Olive Oil










Sunflower seeds




Wheat germ

Now would you tell someone not to eat grapes because if you eat too many you can get the runs? Or would you expect them to be reasonable? Duh. Even hugely beneficial foods like olive oil, broccoli and avocados are on the list. And this list was put together to help people find them not warn them away!


6rant6's avatar

@noelleptc, I’m like, ya know, a scientistic type, so I’d think it would be really interesting to see you do a double blind taste test – various sweeteners against the various sugars. Which ones can you recognize, which ones make you feel bad.

I think the “hurt my feelings” is the most interesting part of your response. I’d be fascinated to know if it’s the same to all of them (which would imply something psychological when you recognize “artificiality”) or only to some (which might indicate something biochemical.)

Mariah's avatar

@6rant6 No, I wouldn’t recommend the general public to avoid these foods, nor would I necessarily recommend that they avoid sugarfree gum altogether (although I would recommend that they not chew 10 sticks a day). But I have ulcerative colitis and definitely don’t need a laxative in my diet. I have to avoid many of the foods on your list for this reason.

MrsDufresne's avatar

Yes, they are (for me).

For some people, they have no effect. But for some, like myself, they can cause migraines and impaired motor skill function.
Aspartame and Sucralose both cause me to have adverse neurological symptoms like tremors in my hands and migraine headaches.

These are the only ones that do not give me an adverse reaction.

I absolutely love Vitamin Water Zero. It is the only beverage on the market that is 100% natrually sweetened.

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SundayKittens's avatar

@noelleptc I think we are sisters.

6rant6's avatar

@noelleptc I misunderstood. I thought maybe there was a direct link between the eating and the experience of emotions. But mom’s in between there. Isn’t that just the way?

Have you tried stevia products? Most of them are ninety per cent lactose but get most of their sweet taste is from the stevia. I’d be interested to know if you have the same experience with them.

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YARNLADY's avatar

Nobody knows for sure. Are you are gambler?

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Paradox's avatar

I don’t know but I prefer natural sweetners anyway because they taste better. I hear that stevia and xylitol are natural healthy alternatives to sugar.

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mattbrowne's avatar

No, unless you want to lose weight and have to endure being hungry. In this case sweeteners make you even more hungry.

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