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Top 5 Unhealthiest Sugar Substitutes

Fitday Editor
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Sugar substitutes can be good for people who want to cut down on calories or avoid the glycemic spike that comes from sugar. Many sugar substitutes, however, have been implicated in causing cancer and other serious diseases including alzheimer's. Some also just make you crave more sweetness which either leads to eating more of the sweetener or eating foods with sugar in them. Finally, some sugar substitutes still cause a glycemic spike. There are risks and benefits to many foods and supplements. Some things are fine in moderation and yet harmful if consumed in excess. Use prudence and consider your own personal health goals when deciding which sweeteners to avoid. Here are the sugar substitutes that are the most unhealthy for you if consumed more than just once or twice a week in a small amount.


This is a highly controversial sweetener. Studies have shown that it causes cancer in laboratory animals. There are no conclusive studies that show that it causes cancer in human beings. Many countries in Europe still allow saccharin in foods.


The problem with aspartame is similar to the problems with most artificial sweeteners. It's not really a food. It is actually a chemical that once eaten, breaks down into methanol and then into formaldehyde. Those two chemical compounds are used in embalming. It has been implicated in many diseases including fibromyalgia, arthritis, brain cancer and attention deficit disorder.


Sucralose is made from chlorinating sugar. This means that the sugar molecules have been chemically altered. Sucralose is thought by many to be safer than apartame but not altogether safe. Many European countries still have not approved sucralose as a food additive. In laboratory animals, sucralose has been shown to create problems with pregnancy. Some studies have shown that up to 2% of sucralose is actually arsenic or contains heavy metals. There have been no long-term studies as of yet to determine the affects of continued use.

High Fructose Agave Syrup

While pure agave nectar is a healthy and natural alternative to sugar, many products claiming to be natural agave are not. If agave syrup contains fructose or high fructose corn syrup, it will still spike the blood-sugar levels and will encourage the body to store fat.

Healthy Alternatives

For people who want to stay slim and avoid the glycemic spikes associated with sugar, there are ways to still eat sweet foods. One excellent way is to buy organic, raw sugar that has not been refined and use less than the recipe calls for. Many recipes for sweet foods still taste great with less sugar. You can also substitute sugar or supplement a decreased amount of sugar with organic fruit juices, especially orange and grape juice. Sweet vegetables such as carrots or yams can add sweetness to bread and soup recipes. Finally, a good stevia product that only contains stevia and nothing else, is a totally natural, low-calorie sweetener.

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