Empowering You to Reclaim Your Health and Live the Full Life you Deserve!

The Lowdown on Sweeteners

A question I get often is which sweeteners are safe these days.

Most of y’all that know me or follow me are unlikely to use the 4 of worst “sweeteners” – aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K) and saccharin.  But I am increasingly surprised that some still do and don’t care because they love their diet drinks OR because they don’t read ingredients thoroughly.  Maybe they see stevia as one ingredient and don’t read further to see the Acesulfame potassium or sucralose lower on the list.

Or maybe they chew gum and don’t think of the impact of that habit nor the ingredients of that habit as “it’s only gum”.

Then we have those considered safer:  Stevia, xylitol/Erythritol/Maltitol/Sorbitol, Allulose, Agave, Coconut Sugar and Monk Fruit.  All of these are considered great to use – but are they?

The following 4 Artificial sweeteners below are RECOGNIZED AS SAFE TO CONSUME BY THE FDA!  Despite the enormity of side effects and evidence pointing out otherwise.


Saccharin – Sweet’N Low

Probably one of the most “old school” sweeteners that you’ll still find sitting in the sweetener holder at most restaurants.  You know the “pink packet”?

Saccharin causes all sorts of health problems – obesity, liver and kidney problems and diabetes to name a few – also bladder cancer in the lab rats – the FDA was forced to put a warning label on only to later say it poses no risk to people.  Yeah right, FDA!  We sure do trust what you say!  Ha!


It’s also found to negatively disrupt the gut microbiome!


Sucralose – Splenda.

Super popular today – the “yellow packet”.  Tons of research showing this frequently used sweetener CAUSES diabetes.  And who uses it the most?  Yep, Diabetics!  Hmmmm…you’d almost think there’s a plan to make you unhealthier, right??!! 😉


But it can also negatively affect the gut microbiome!


But BRAND-NEW research – just published a month ago now shows sucralose damages DNA – literally BREAKS DNA STRANDS!!!  Holy Moly!  DNA damage is one of the main reasons we see all the big diseases we see!



Aspartame – NutraSweet, Equal

This is the “blue packet”.

Did you know that the FDA originally rejected aspartame in 1980 – scientists worried about brain tumors!  What the heck!?

Then it was magically approved for use in food and drinks between 1981 and 1983.  Symptoms started to show themselves in large numbers in 1984 and these claims have since been shut down by the FDA as much as possible.  There’s a sordid political history of aspartame that allowed it to be approved.  If you don’t know by now that the FDA is bought and paid for and only serving their financiers, then you clearly are NOT paying attention!


Today there are currently over 100 symptoms associated with aspartame usage – from headaches to seizures, brain cancer and multiple sclerosis. 

Did you also know that aspartame interferes with the chemical that let’s you know you’re full?  That is leptin.  It interferes with this chemical so while you drink your Diet drink with your food – you unknowingly eat more food!


Acesulfame Potassium – Sunnett, Sweet One, Acesulfame K

Known to contain the carcinogen methylene chloride – headaches, liver issues, kidney issues, mental confusion, cancer; interferes with blood sugar control so linked to obesity and diabetes.  Strong potential to negatively affect early development in babies in utero.  Yikes!


Y’all this stuff above is absolute POISON!  Yet people still ingest it!  Like it’s of no consequence!  Still sucking down “Diet foods”.  But the other disappointing fact is that unless you truly read all ingredients so many candies, gums, drinks and sweet treats have some form of artificial sweetener in them – even if it starts with stevia or cane sugar.


But given that so many are focused on sugar-free they grab this stuff thinking it’ll make them healthier when in fact it’s causing tons of health problems as well as greatly increasing their chances for obesity and disease.

Now let’s look at “Natural Sweeteners” – the FDA is MUCH harsher on the natural forms of sweeteners than artificial.  Look at what they deem safe! 👇👇 Image taken directly from fda.gov

Agave Nectar

Did you know that agave nectar is considered “low glycemic”?  Do you know why it’s considered “low glycemic”?  Because it’s super high in fructose and low in glucose.  Glycemic index is based on how rapidly sugars spike in the blood – pure glucose is rapid therefore everything is calibrated to glucose.  Fructose on the other hand does not raise blood sugar rapidly but has a more long-term result.  During the process of creating the “nectar/syrup” it destroys all of the health benefits that are in the agave plant – a very similar to the process to making High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) by the way!  Remember that we don’t like HFCS because it’s high in fructose – 50% – a potently inflammatory sugar?  Well, Agave nectar is 90% fructose!  Yep!  Not my sweetener of choice!   Fructose contributes to poor metabolic health, elevated triglycerides, heart disease, diabetes 2 and has been implicated in fatty liver disease and that list goes on!

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar has become the darling sweetener of many seeking health.  But like Agave nectar coconut sugar is also high in fructose – up to almost 50% in content.  So if you read above the level of fructose in HFCS – then you just now realized that Coconut sugar has close to the same amount of fructose as HFCS!  Dang!  Bursting bubbles again, Dr. K!


Stevia is from a plant and is 200x sweeter than sugar.  We all know that stevia after taste that’s bitter and metallic, so it’s not always preferred.  But this sweetener is not without its faults and can have effects on the digestive system, blood pressure and might even cause some hormone disruptions


But MAY have positive impact on the gut microbiome diversity


Sugar Alcohols (Xylitol, Erythritol, Sorbitol, Maltitol)

Sugar alcohols hit their greatest popularity about 10 years ago.  Then many people realized that they got bloated, gassy and loose stools after eating baked goods sweetened with things that end in “tol” – known as sugar alcohol.  There are quite a few side effects from these sweeteners on the GI System.  And important to know that while xylitol is considered fine for human consumption – it will kill a dog!!  Yikes!

Erythritol recently came under fire linking potentially linking it to stroke and heart attack risks.



Allulose is a relatively new sweetener prized in the keto world for it’s mild and sugar-like flavor.  It doesn’t appear to affect insulin or blood sugar levels and doesn’t yet appear to show any dangerous side effects.  Key word might be “Yet”.  I think this tastes more like sugar without any bitter after taste and have used it a time or two in my baking.

Monk Fruit Extract/Luo Han Guo Fruit Extract

Monk fruit is popular in the keto and low-carb world but is usually mixed with other sweeteners – predominately erythritol – see above.  It also has a bitterish taste that I don’t care for.

Not a ton of side effects with this one although it is near impossible to find it as a standalone sweetener – even when it’s labeled “pure”.



I do like local, raw honey; I think it has a lovely, floral flavor and can be somewhat beneficial to someone who has seasonal allergies – because it contains remnants of local pollen.  Many people have said – “I don’t eat sugar; I only use honey”!  Whaaaattt?  Don’t you realize that honey IS a form of sugar?!?!  Don’t fool yourself with this silliness!

But I think small amounts of local, raw honey isn’t horrible if you are fit and healthy and it rocks in healing a burn!

Raw Cane Sugar (Turbinado)

Honestly – this might be the best option out there if one is going to eat small amounts of sugar.  The key here is SMALL.  Yes, it’s still sugar, and you need to treat it as such but at least it’s not manufactured.


When it comes down to it – sugar is sugar is sugar.  There are many cons to consuming sugar and certainly cons to consuming sweet foods even when using alternative sweeteners.  The key is to learn to NOT NEED sugar.  Many eat too low of fat and find that they crave sweet foods.  Remember, that doesn’t indicate a NEED – that’s a WANT!  Often it is a trained response from your insulin levels being too high and needing a job to do – so will stimulate sugar cravings.  Once you get your insulin in check – you’ll find your cravings for sugar diminish.

Give up the reliance on sugar! 

But you don’t have to give up the sweetness of life 😊

SO many have gone down the path of trying to consume less sugar, but the obesity rates are still skyrocketing.  I’m not saying it’s not sugar contributing – but it doesn’t give one a license to eat whatever you want just because it’s “low sugar”!

The problem is people want to still eat all the sweets they want without repercussions.  The idea is to get you OFF the sweets bandwagon – get you nourished with real food instead of always trying to find out how you can eat tons of “paleo/keto/low carb” sweets without the guilt!  Yeah, yeah, y’all know who you are! 😉

Bottom line – get back to basics – eat whole, HIGH-quality food and stop relying on processed foods in any shape or form – your body will thank you!

Hope all is well in your world:)

 Dr. K


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