Why you should avoid sweeteners, with one exception

They are up to 500 times sweeter than household sugar, contain zero calories ... and still make you fat: Artificial sweeteners. And that's not all. Sweeteners can trigger diabetes, increase the risk of cancer and are implicated in a whole range of mood disorders and diseases.

Cup of coffee with sugar and sweetener

What artificial sweeteners do to our body

Our brain is addicted to sugar because sugar contains glucose, the fuel our brains need to function. But if we use sweeteners instead of normal sugar, we confuse our brain. The taste buds in our mouth transmit a "sweet" signal to the brain, but after 10 minutes the brain notices that it has not received glucose, but rather chemicals. It then calls for new energy. If we deceive our brain several times in this way, our brain declares an energy emergency, one might say, and produces feelings of hunger. The resulting food cravings lead us to eat more than we burn, and our weight steadily increases.

Stevia: The exception

A small, inconspicuous plant from Paraguay revolutionized the food market a few years ago: Stevia. The extracts obtained from the leaves of the herbaceous perennial, known as stevia glycosides, contain no calories and are up to 300 times sweeter than normal sugar. At the same time, stevia lowers the blood sugar level so that diabetics also benefit. And stevia can do even more: It prevents the formation of dental plaque, as its ingredients contain antibacterial and anti-cavity properties. Several studies have demonstrated the safety and benefits of stevia to health.

Stevia is officially recognized as a food additive and is designated as E 960. It is used in the manufacture of sweets, ice cream, soft drinks, dairy products and jams.

The situation is completely different with the common artificial sweeteners aspartame, cyclamate and saccharine.


Aspartame tastes 200 times sweeter than sugar and has virtually no calories. Aspartame is one of the most controversial food additives. Studies at the University of Ohio have shown that aspartame can cause vision disturbances, headaches and memory problems. It is also associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, depression, memory loss and hearing loss. The cause has been identified as nerve toxins, such as the highly toxic methyl alcohol, which is produced during the metabolism of aspartame. Studies also indicate a link between aspartame and food cravings.

Aspartame has the food additive designation E 951.


Cyclamate has been banned for decades in the US. Animal experiments have shown an increased risk of bladder cancer. Although this outcome has not yet been demonstrated in humans, authorities have withdrawn the sweetener from the market because manufacturers have not yet been able to disprove the suspicion of cancer. Other researchers suspect that cyclamate increases blood pressure. The maximum daily dose is 11 mg per kilo (2.2 pounds) of body weight. For an adult weighing 70 kg (154 pounds), this means 770 mg cyclamate of intake per day. One liter (4 cups) of a "light" soft drink already contains up to 400 mg of cyclamate. A child weighing 15 kg (33 pounds) will have already reached the daily maximum with one glass. Cyclamate has also been banned in some foods. Cyclamate has the food additive designation E 952.


Saccharine is suspected of making us fat even though it contains zero calories. At Purdue University in Indiana, studies were conducted with rats fed yogurt sweetened with either sugar or saccharine. Weeks later, the rats who ate sweeteners were heavier and thicker than the rats who ate sugar. Data suggest that saccharine may lead to weight gain and obesity because it interferes with the body's metabolic processes. Other researchers report increased fat storage especially in the abdomen, increased blood pressure and the development of insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.

Saccharine has the food additive designation E 994.


Stay away from artificial sweeteners, especially children!

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