dangers of artificial sweeteners
Keto Diet

Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

Added sugars (sweeteners) are everywhere in our lives, not to mention pastries and cold drinks, other sweet treats, and even processed foods containing a lot of sugar.

Everyone knows that eating too much sugar is bad, as causing tooth decay in the mouth, acne on the face, and constant weight gain …… When you understand the 17 hazards of sugar, will you hesitate before eating sweets next time?

Sugar not only hurts the body but also makes people addicted. So it was only natural for intelligent humans to invent artificial sweeteners to replace added sugar. The most widely used artificial sweeteners known today are, for example, aspartame, sucralose, AK sugar (also known as acesulfame), saccharin, and neotame. They are the five FDA-approved substitutes for table sugar.

These artificial sweeteners, called sugar substitutes, are often thought to contain few calories in addition to providing sweetness, so they are safe to consume. But is this the case? Let’s find out what the dangers of artificial sweeteners are next, shall we?

Artificial Sweeteners Still Cause Blood Sugar Spikes

Insulin is like a shadow of blood sugar. When your blood sugar rises, insulin levels rise with it. Any food that contains carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar. When you consume a lot of carbohydrates or added sugars it can cause a spike in blood sugar and then a sudden drop.

This roller coaster of blood sugar rises and falls in turn leads to changes in the hormone insulin in the body. Studies have shown that this change activates the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) in the brain and promotes hunger pangs.

Most artificial sweeteners also cause a roller coaster response in blood sugar and insulin and force you to eat something every few hours or else you’ll be hungry (unlike when your body is truly craving nutrition).

Artificial Sweeteners Affect Your Body’s Microbiome

One of the more frightening aspects of artificial sweeteners is their potential impact on the gut microbiome. The gut microbiota lives in our digestive system and controls almost every aspect of our health.

Here’s a look at two sets of experiments:

1. Animal experiments

A 2014 paper published in the journal Nature reveals a shocking truth. The researchers who wrote the paper fed one group of mice any one of three different artificial sweeteners (saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame) while feeding another group of mice regular sugars (glucose and sucrose).

It was found that all mice fed artificial sweeteners quickly developed glucose intolerance, a precursor to diabetes, obesity, and metabolic disease. The study also showed that artificial sweeteners altered the intestinal bacteria of the mice.

To test whether the changes in gut bacteria could lead to metabolic disorders, the researchers transplanted gut bacteria from mice fed artificial sweeteners to mice that did not eat the sweeteners. Sure enough, the recipient mice also became glucose intolerant. This is further evidence of the negative effects of artificial sweeteners on intestinal flora as well as health.

2. Human experiment

Can the negative effects of artificial sweeteners in mice also occur in humans? The researchers then conducted a series of human experiments, and the results were not surprising. Higher intake of artificial sweeteners was associated with a higher waist-to-hip ratio, higher fasting blood sugar, and higher HbA1c (a marker of diabetes).

To demonstrate the pathogenic effects of artificial sweeteners in humans, researchers had seven healthy adults consume foods containing artificial sweeteners every day for a week. As a result, four of the seven developed glucose intolerance in just one week.

What’s more, when the researchers transferred the participants’ gut microbiomes to healthy mice, these mice also became glucose intolerant. This suggests that artificial sweeteners can disrupt the human gut microbiome, leading to glucose intolerance and metabolic imbalances that can be precursors to obesity and chronic disease.

Artificial Sweeteners yes or no

Artificial Sweeteners Affect Brain Function

Artificial sweeteners can have a direct negative impact on neurological and brain function. Let’s take aspartame as an example. Mechanistically, aspartame prevents precursors of important neurotransmitters (such as dopamine and serotonin) from entering the brain.

Both animal and human studies have shown that aspartame can alter the activity of key brain regions, including the fear and anxiety centers and the cerebral cortex. Specifically, excessive aspartame intake may lead to cognitive problems including learning disabilities and memory loss, as well as neurological problems such as epilepsy, migraines, irritability, headaches, depression, and insomnia.


Not all sugar substitutes are safe and harmless! Many artificial sweeteners can have negative effects on the body, including

  • Can still cause blood sugar and insulin to spike like a roller coaster and then crash quickly
  • Disrupting the balance of intestinal flora and causing glucose intolerance and metabolic disorders
  • Directly affects your nerve and brain function

Of course, not everyone can give up sweets; after all, it’s human nature to love sugar. You can still enjoy the sweetness of life by consciously avoiding foods that are harmful to your body and by sticking to a healthy diet, such as choosing relatively healthier low-carb sugar substitutes.