The disadvantages of using sugar substitutes

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The disadvantages of using sugar substitutes
Equal & Splenda, two sugar substitutes. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Artificial sweeteners give food and drink a sweet sugary flavour, without inserting any extra calories. You can commonly find these sugar substitutes in products like muffins, cookies and diet drinks. Sugar substitutes work to fight weight gain, diabetes and tooth decay. Even though there are benefits, there are still disadvantages to consuming artificial sugar alternatives.


While many people have the misconception that sugar-free foods are low in calories, many times these foods have an even higher calorie and fat content. Many foods that contain artificial sweeteners are overly processed. They containing preservatives and conservatives that contribute to weight gain. Some studies have even associated artificial sweeteners as cancer-causing agents.


For those lovers of baking or cooking, replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners will most likely ruin your recipe. Natural sugar plays a huge role in providing delicious taste and texture. “Sugar” produced in a laboratory tends to change the flavour and shape of your baked good, especially when heated in the oven.

Fatigue and headaches

Studies have shown that a prolonged use of artificial sweeteners can lead to chronic fatigue and migraine headaches. Some scientists also claim that sweeteners will lead to weight gain. Studies show that those who consume sugar substitutes are more likely to be hungry all of the time.

Aspartame (Equal)

One of the most popular sweeteners on the market, each small blue packet contains only 4 calories. Sugar-free gum and diet drinks are known to contain sugar substitutes. Reports have suggested that aspartame can trigger painful migraines for those who suffer from chronic headaches. It has also been known to cause problems to the central nervous system and has been related to birth defects. Those who suffer from the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) must eliminate Aspartame from their diet completely.

Sucralose (Splenda)

Known as Splenda, this non-caloric sweetener is a chloride molecule made from sugar. Sucralose belongs to a family of organochloride chemicals that is difficult to be absorbed into the body. Even though it’s commonly used while baking recipes, sucralose is a toxic carcinogens when consumed in high quantities.

The disadvantages of using sugar substitutes
Splenda, non caloric sweetener. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Saccarhin (Sweet N’ Low)

Saccharin was one of the first sweeteners to hit the market. It is about 300 times sweeter than sugar (without the calories), and one of the cheapest sugar substitutes. Saccharin has been linked to bladder cancer in laboratory animals. Officials recommend that pregnant women should avoid this sugar substitute completely.


Stevia is new to the sugar substitute market. This South American herb is one of the only natural sweeteners available. Stevia is an herbal product that has been used in Latin American countries for many years. It recently hit the international diet scene, and ever since has made a lasting impact. It’s not recommended to use Stevia in baking recipes due to its bitter aftertaste.

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