Sugar Substitues and Associated Risks

1. Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)

Brand names Sunett® and Sweet One®
~200x sweeter than table sugar and is often combined with other sweeteners
o ADI: is 15 (mg/kg bw/d), or about 165 packets

Flaws in the initial testing of acesuflame potassium been challenged by scientists in the Journal of the Environmental Health Perspectives, and they call for additional studies to be done to properly evaluate the safety of this this sweetener. A majority of the studies were poorly completed in the 1970s. One of the chemicals found in Ace-K is the carcinogen methylene chloride. There is evidence that long-term exposure to methylene chloride is linked to visual disturbances, headaches, depression, liver effects, nausea, mental confusion, kidney effects and cancers in humans.

However the FDA docket evaluating Ace-K use concluded the following:

"Methylene chloride, a carcinogenic chemical, is a potential impurity in ACK resulting from its use as a solvent in the initial manufacturing step of the sweetener. Data previously submitted in FAP 0A4212 show that methylene chloride could not be detected in the final product at a limit of detection (LOD) of 40 parts per billion (ppb) as discussed in the July 6, 1998. In the past, FDA has assumed that methylene chloride is present in ACK at the LOD of 40 ppb (worst-case scenario) and has evaluated its safety by performing a risk assessment for methylene chloride based on this level. No new information has been received to change FDA's previous risk assessment for methylene chloride. Moreover, FDA does not expect that methylene chloride will be present in ACK due to the following he multi-step purification process used in the manufacture of ACK and the volatility of methylene chloride."

2. Aspartame

Brand names include Nutrasweet®, Equal®, and Sugar Twin®
~ 200x sweeter than table sugar
ADI: is 50 (mg/kg bw/d), or about 165 packets per day

People who have a genetic disorder called Phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid or restrict aspartame because they have problems metabolizing phenylalanine. Labels must include a statement to inform if a product contains phenylketonurics/phenylalanine. Aspartame has also had some negative side effects in people other than those suffering from PKU including many reports of headaches, dizziness, mood variations, vomiting and/or nausea, abdominal pain and cramping, changes in vision, diarrhea, memory loss, and fatigue. As with a lot of research, a lot of the studies indicating the safety of aspartame were funded by companies with a vested interest in the product being used and profitable.

3. Neotame

Brand name Newtame®
~ 7,000 to 13,000x sweeter than table sugar
ADI: is .3 (mg/kg bw/d), or about 200 packets per day

This sweetener is chemically related to aspartame, but was modified to remove the negative issues associated with phenylalanine. Although there have been claims of over 100 scientifically based studies proving the safeness of I was unable to find more than a couple that were primarily rat/mouse/dog short-term studies looking into Neotame outcomes in very specific environments. Three studies done on humans found that participants suffered headaches, abdominal pains, diarrhea, and one had a back ache. But the participants were receiving doses above the FDA approved intake for Neotame.

4. Saccharin

Brand names include Sweet and Low®, Sweet Twin®, Sweet'N Low®, and Necta Sweet®
~200-700x sweeter than table sugar
ADI: is 15 (mg/kg bw/d), or about 250 packets per day

There has been some studies with rats that suffered from bladder cancer when consuming saccharin. Although this has not appeared in human studies, the concern is still there. If something causes cancer in rats, long-term effects on humans are a serious issue. Saccharin is also part of sulfonamides, which can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Commonly reported reactions to saccharin use in some individuals include headaches, diarrhea, skin issues and headaches. more  

View all 11 comments Below 11 comments
I have used Stevia for about 10 Years now as I am a borderline diabetic patient. The sugar industry has aggressively supports ALL usage of sugar that creates millions of diabetic patients annually around the world, has aggressively and succefully got Stevia banned as a "sugar substitute" even though it is sweeter and found far... Japan uses Stevia to meet 50% of its "sugar and sweetener" needs..... yes and they also live the longest because of many societal choices... and Stevia is one of them. In my humble opinion sugar is a fangerous drug.... that kills and must be banned.... but our Governmens eant to provide even more subsidy for this....... poison more  
good information, may put it in tabular form to show deficiencies and other cautions. more  
As far as my experience regarding is concerned , it helps in sweetening the liquid. However, it does not give the same taste as sugar. Stevia is good for diabetic patients. Ram Yadav more  
How about stevia powder that is now being wildly used in USA as a sugar substitute. I believe it has FDA approval. more  
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