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Old 07-12-2011, 12:46 PM   #1
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How bad are saccharin and aspartame, really?

And which one is worse?

I don't use either one that much. But when it's hot like this, I love a glass of iced tea in the afternoon. And it just isn't iced tea if it isn't sweet! Just a little sweet: I don't need it to taste like tea-flavored syrup, I just want a hint of sweetness.

I have a lot of crunchy friends who think that rapadura, honey, and other natural sweeteners are just fine (in any quantity) but that I'm going to get cancer by putting one (actually, usually just HALF of one) of these sweetener packets in my tea. Are they right? There seems to be a lot of conflicting information about this.

Oh, and yes, I've tried Stevia. It's okay, but I prefer aspartame or saccharin.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:04 PM   #2
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I think you will get about a 50/50 split in opinions on this board. Some will tell you it will kill you and some use it everyday with no problems and don't believe there will be problems.
I am in the no problem camp. I use very little and don't give it a thought when I do.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:06 PM   #3
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Moderationis probably the key. Once is a while is okay IMO, but regular ingestion.....

Saccharin has been around the longest, and long enough to have the rat-cancer study supposedly countered.... Of course I haven't read either of those studies my-self because I choose to avoid the stuff anyway...

Aspartame is worse. From what I read, it is an excitotoxin (similar to MSG) and may trigger apoptosis (i think its called) in your nerve cells....which can cause all sorts of things and especially might be a contributor to nerve related disorders like MS and ALS...

IMO stick with Stevia, Stevia Glycerite (good stuff), vegitable glyceriine, Swerve, Justlikesugar, Erythritol, Truvia, FOS, Olligosacchirides, Inulin, Polydextrose, Chicory Root, or some combination of them.

I would rather eat real sugar once in a while then aspartame/sacchrin/sucralose/ace K.

Just my opinion though, as I am sure there are others who consume the artificial sweetners regularly, and have not noticed any long term side effects....yet...
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxbane View Post
Saccharin has been around the longest
That's why I didn't even ask about sucralose. The newer it is, I suspect, the less we know about it.

Quote:
IMO stick with Stevia, Stevia Glycerite (good stuff), vegitable glyceriine, Swerve, Justlikesugar, Erythritol, Truvia, FOS, Olligosacchirides, Inulin, Polydextrose, Chicory Root, or some combination of them.
Wow, I haven't even heard of half of these! Thanks, I will see what I can find locally.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:19 PM   #5
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Better living through science!

I'm sure they are bad and I've tried to give them up, but I can only focus on one thing at a time.

I still have a lot of weight to lose. But when I get closer to my goal and switch to OWL, I'd like to find better ways of eating in general. I've even thought about going more primal/paleo when I get to my lifetime way of eating.

For now, I feel like I'm in a good place though. I'm losing weight. I'm feeling a lot better then I was. I'm never hungry or food obsessed. And my 6-month bloodwork is looking better.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:19 PM   #6
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Only problem with aspartame is that in quantity it actually hinders our bodies ability to tear down fat. Nothing else...
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:21 PM   #7
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It is a very divided board on the subject of artificial sweeteners. I have yet to see any good science that either of the 2 you mentioned are of any problem. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence however and that is why I would say your mileage may vary.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortcut View Post
I use very little and don't give it a thought when I do.
Well, that's me . . . usually. I only use it seasonally, so I don't think too much of it when I do. I feel bad when I eat sugar. I feel fine when I eat saccharin. But I also realize that just because I can't feel it doesn't mean nothing bad is happening.

But I have a friend who teases me with gagging noises and cancer warnings every time I drink my saccharin sweetened tea in her presence. It would be nice to know if I should heed her advice or tell her to knock it off, but there doesn't seem to be a clear-cut answer on this one. Regardless, I might still tell her to knock it off!
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxbane View Post


I would rather eat real sugar once in a while then aspartame/sacchrin/sucralose/ace K.

)
I agree. I am in maintenance and have homemade desserts sometimes, and the rest of the time I consume none (no AS, except in my occasional stevia sweetened protein shake).

I try to limit my consumption of anything "unnatural", especially excitotoxins. It is a personal preference and depends where you are on your journey and what you are comfortable with. I also stay away from most processed foods and anything with fillers, additives, dyes, etc. I also try to make sure that my environment is free of pesticides, plastics, and other potential endo disruptors.

I just think that our world is already so saturated with chemicals that are bad for us, why add to our body's load by ingesting even more? The science might not be there all yet but why wait for super conclusive proof that might never come (because way too many companies have a stake in the results) when there is already preliminary research showing the harmful effects.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretalyn View Post
And which one is worse?
Hi Gretalyn…

Well I'm definitely part of the 50/50 split - and come down on the ˝ that find no issues with non-sugar sweeteners.

In fact the only one I hate is Stevia - wanted to like it and I would have if it didn't taste so bad.

To my way of thinking, it's like peanuts. If you are allergic they are deadly, and if not they are great!

If you react to any sweetener then it would be advisable to not use them. If you don't, then what's the hassle?

I think my extra 110 pounds of weight (which was continuing to rise) would have done me far more harm in the long run than the sweeteners contained in diet beverages I enjoy.


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Old 07-12-2011, 01:37 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
I think my extra 110 pounds of weight (which was continuing to rise) would have done me far more harm in the long run than the sweeteners contained in diet beverages I enjoy.
Good point. You cannot just measure how bad is the [insert non-sugar sweetener here] without also factoring in how bad you'd be if you didn't have that to sweetener to fall back on instead of the real thing.

Is it better to have a diet coke every day or to live with 100+ lbs of excess weight?
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:43 PM   #12
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Well my mother is 93 and been using saccharin for I'd say at least 40 years - maybe more. She also has been drinking diet coke for at least 30 years (that has aspartame - not sure if it always did. Not sure what issues she is suppose to have, but she has had so many tests lately preparing for a surgery and no issues came up.

I regularly drink a diet coke (5x week), and use splenda when I need a treat. So far the only issue I have is with the splenda, and that is only when I consume too much in a short period of time. I end up with a headache. That pretty much only happens when I get wicked hormone cravings and go a little crazy. My DD on the other hand gets headaches a lot more easily when using splenda and I believe even aspartame, so she avoids it for the most part.
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:05 PM   #13
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I figure if you don't react to it and it helps you keep cravings at bay, why not? I react horribly to Aspartame, so I don't use it. I use stevia because I honestly like the taste, and I use splenda sparingly because I don't like the taste, and I've ordered erythritol to give it a shot.
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:12 PM   #14
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I primarily use stevia and erythritol but will on ocassionally use saccharin or Nutrasweet or even splenda if it's in something I like to use such as Walden Farms maple syrup. I use very little of any of them except stevia.

I've really gotten suspicious of Ace K here recently and really try to avoid it but it's in almost all diet drinks except Diet Coke and in a bunch of other things. I think it causes cravings and in my case, acid reflux.
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:00 PM   #15
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Thanks, everyone, for the replies. It's very interesting to read different thoughts on this. I think at this point I will use these sweeteners sparingly, but not worry too much about it. And I will experiment with some of the safer ones mentioned and see if I can find something I like.

I think you made an especially good point, Larry, that you have to figure out what is best (or at least what is "less bad") for you, and go from there. For me, it's not a weight issue so much, but it definitely is a health issue. I have a family history of diabetes, and my body reacts very badly to sugar and starch. So if the occasional dose of saccharin can give me my sweet fix, but allow me to keep living the lifestyle that I need to in order to maintain my health, then it seems worth it.

Thanks again for all the replies!

Last edited by Gretalyn; 07-12-2011 at 03:01 PM..
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxbane View Post
Moderationis probably the key. Once is a while is okay IMO, but regular ingestion.....

Saccharin has been around the longest, and long enough to have the rat-cancer study supposedly countered.... Of course I haven't read either of those studies my-self because I choose to avoid the stuff anyway...

Aspartame is worse. From what I read, it is an excitotoxin (similar to MSG) and may trigger apoptosis (i think its called) in your nerve cells....which can cause all sorts of things and especially might be a contributor to nerve related disorders like MS and ALS...

IMO stick with Stevia, Stevia Glycerite (good stuff), vegitable glyceriine, Swerve, Justlikesugar, Erythritol, Truvia, FOS, Olligosacchirides, Inulin, Polydextrose, Chicory Root, or some combination of them.

I would rather eat real sugar once in a while then aspartame/sacchrin/sucralose/ace K.

Just my opinion though, as I am sure there are others who consume the artificial sweetners regularly, and have not noticed any long term side effects....yet...
+1 except I am okay with Sucralose for now.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:25 PM   #17
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I use A combo of sweeteners. I can't stand Saccharine on it's own but since it is cheaper and no carbs, I use a few drops of it and a half pack of Splenda or Aspartame. I just can't seem to keep liquid Splenda on hand which has no carbs and I hate to put in a order just for that so I am using whatever I can find in the store which is usually saccharin, Splenda and Aspartame in packs. It takes less if you mix up the sweeteners and you get a sweeter taste more like sugar, IMHO.
We've been using Aspartame for over twenty years and as far as we know, no problems with it. I drink Diet Coke every day and it is sweetened with it.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:36 AM   #18
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i do not add sweeteners to anything.

but, of course many low carb products, solid and liquid already have them in the mix. I will take what comes. As i am already braindead, it makes no difference to me, anyway. Love & Profits: FLATFERENGHI
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:16 AM   #19
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I love chemicals! CHEMICALS CHEMICALS CHEMICALS!

Really, I probably need to take better care, but I don't. I love Diet Dr. Pepper. I love Crystal Light peach tea. I love EZ-Sweetz (sucralose) in my coffee. I am, quite possibly, DOOMED! But I'm well-hydrated and happy while I go down.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:26 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShesSuperCool View Post
I love chemicals! CHEMICALS CHEMICALS CHEMICALS!

Really, I probably need to take better care, but I don't. I love Diet Dr. Pepper. I love Crystal Light peach tea. I love EZ-Sweetz (sucralose) in my coffee. I am, quite possibly, DOOMED! But I'm well-hydrated and happy while I go down.
Cyndi, humor is what most of us miss when dealing with these diet issues! Thanks so much for making me laugh this morning!
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:11 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretalyn View Post
And which one is worse?

I don't use either one that much. But when it's hot like this, I love a glass of iced tea in the afternoon. And it just isn't iced tea if it isn't sweet! Just a little sweet: I don't need it to taste like tea-flavored syrup, I just want a hint of sweetness.
Can't help you with the aspartame debate one way or the other. But since you aren't looking for super sweet iced tea here's what I did for my Dad. After he was diagnosed as diabetic, I boiled the usual number of tea bags for his gallon of tea & added one blackberry tea bag. I didn't add the sugar he was used to & he drank the first glass without my telling him I'd changed how I made it. He loved it. It was sweet, but not loaded with sugar. Try different fruit tea bags to find the one you like best, blackberry was the one I had handy.

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