Over the past several years, we have all been made aware of the dangers of artificial sweeteners. Their consequences range from seizures to cancer to Crohn’s Disease, and the FDA is in no hurry to protect the public from these chemicals, so it is very important that we as consumers protect ourselves. As the public has gotten wiser about avoiding these chemicals, food manufacturers have gotten more creative at hiding them in plain sight. While we used to only need to look out for “sugar free” products, we now have to be aware to read our labels of “healthy” foods that contain artificial sweeteners. Remember, food manufacturers know that if they can make a package appealing to you on the front of the package, you are more likely to take it at face value and not critically read the back of the package. From the very beginning of Heart In Motion, we have encouraged a whole food diet which makes label reading simple as whole foods don’t have labels…..but……we also understand that life is sometimes outside of the ideal, and that we need to learn how to read labels when the occasion arises. Read below to increase your awareness of the 5 most common artificial sweeteners and the names they are listed under. You may find that some of your favorite products contain them and that the physical ailments you are experiencing may be linked to your consumption. I have personally seen health conditions turn completely around just by removing artificial sweeteners from the diet.

  • Splenda – I am starting with splenda because SO MANY people are still being led to believe that splenda is “made from sugar” so it is therefore harmless in the body. Splenda (usually listed as sucralose), is made by replacing three select hydrogen oxygen groups on sucrose (sugar) molecules with three chlorine atoms. Splenda is made by combining sugar with chlorine so your body doesn’t absorb it! The FDA cites 110 studies done on splenda that “prove” its safety in humans when in actuality only two human studies, one containing only 36 people of which only 23 of the people actually ingested the substance. Just this alone should make you question what criteria the FDA is using to quantify “safe” for consumption. Regular consumption of splenda has been shown to decrease gut bacteria by 50% and as we know, gut bacteria is responsible for hundreds of biological processes that show up outside of the gut. Splenda (as found in the other of the 110 studies on animals) actually revealed that this substance caused anemia, male infertility, leukemia, spontaneous abortions, and enlarged and calcified kidneys. When you are reading labels for this ingredient, look for SUCRALOSE which is very close to sucrose (sugar). Read your labels carefully as this ingredient is common everywhere.
  • Aspartame – This is a sweetener that we actually know a great deal about and is the most common sweetener used in diet soda. Aspartame is comprised of 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid, and 10% methanol. It is a known neurotoxin (like msg) and in addition to causing life-altering health conditions has also been shown to cause abnormal serotonin levels that lead to depression, anxiety, and even psychotic disorders. Aspartic acid (40% of aspartame) is an excitotoxin that not only destroys nerve cells but also has been shown to increase mobility and activity of cancer cells. Unlike several of the others in this article, aspartame often hides in plain sight in sugar free foods and beverages.
  • Sodium Benzoate – This is a sneaky one that most people don’t even know to look for but can be just as dangerous as the others. Sodium Benzoate is added to energy drinks and sodas and has been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD and asthma. It is also used in products that also contain added vitamin C. When sodium benzoate is combined with vitamin c, it creates benzene which has been linked to leukemia and lymphoma.
  • MSG – We have talked at great length about msg in our articles. HERE is a link to other names msg may be listed under.
    MSG, like mercury and fluoride (also allowed in our food supply), is actually circulated throughout the body and stored in the NTS (nucleus tractus solitarus), an area in the brain that receives information from the digestive tract. This area of the brain is affected in cases of autism, and this chemical is believed to possibly play a role in the development of this condition. I have personally seen unbelievable changes in the symptoms of children with autism by just changing what they are eating. MSG has been known to stimulate the appetite by up to 40% for several days and is linked to migraine headaches, digestive issues, heart palpitations, and brain lesions. In short, MSG is in almost all restaurant food and most packaged goods.
  • Acesulfame Potassium – This additive is seen on the same label as other artificial sweeteners as it is added to disguise the aftertaste. It is important to know that many products today use a combination of artificial sweetening ingredients, so make sure to look for all of them when you are reading labels. Though this ingredient does not raise blood sugar, it does increase insulin secretions which promotes inflammation and can affect the immune system. In addition, this ingredient causes disruption in the function of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) which can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries.

As we have discussed before, there are so many factors important to health and weight loss that go far beyond calories, so be aware and careful when reading your labels. The best rule is always to eat whole foods, but when you just can’t, please be aware of the dangers hidden inside of these chemicals. They are often found in obvious places like diet sodas and sugar free foods, but they are in almost all energy bars, protein shakes, vitamin gummies, and are in many breads and cereals. Be an educated consumer for yourself and your family. So much disease and physical symptoms are avoidable.

Heart with Leaf


  • Eat whole food, and when you don't, learn to look for and avoid these ingredients.