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The (not sweet) truth about artificial sweeteners

Living Well

Nowadays, due to the search for alternatives to sugar, dozens of products claiming to be “sugar-free” have proliferated on the market, but very often they are loaded with artificial sweeteners that can be very harmful to health. What is the truth of these components?

The main advantage of these sweeteners, although they are artificial, is that they can be consumed while following a weight control diet. However, this is not entirely true because, although they have no calories, the insulin response they produce in the body has not been sufficiently studied in many cases, as well as other harms associated with their consumption, such as the destruction of the intestinal flora, damage to the metabolism, weight gain, acidification of the body and an increase in cardiovascular diseases.


Let’s take a look at the main sweeteners used on the market, one by one, and their characteristics:

– Aspartame: This sweetener has been in the spotlight since the WHO classified it as possibly carcinogenic. It is present in most products claiming to be sugar-free. It is of artificial origin and is composed of methanol, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. As the WHO warns, this sweetener is associated with the risk of type II diabetes or liver or breast cancer.

– Saccharin: It was one of the first sweeteners to be commercialised. The composition of saccharin can vary, but it is mainly obtained from the combination of toluene, a hydrocarbon, or other petroleum derivatives. Continued consumption can lead to metabolic damage and weight gain.

– Sucralose: This sweetener is obtained from the molecular modification of common sugar. Due to its origin, it is classified of natural origin, however, recent studies have associated its consumption with DNA damage, damage to the walls of the intestine and an increased risk of cancer.

– Sorbitol: Sorbitol is a polyol and is another sweetener considered to be natural, as it is produced by the hydrogenation of glucose present in fruits and vegetables. Unlike other sweeteners, sorbitol contains some calories, although fewer than sugar. However, its consumption may cause stomach pains, flatulence or diarrhoea.

– Maltitol: Also contains some calories, but has a low glycaemic index. It is obtained from the hydrogenation of maltose, which is present in starch. The effects of its consumption are similar to those of sorbitol: stomach pain, abdominal bloating and a strong laxative effect.

– Acesulfame K: This sweetener is of synthetic origin. It contains no calories, however, its effect on insulin in the body has not been fully studied and some sources claim that it produces a glycaemic response in the body and can cause metabolic and cardiovascular damage.

– Erititrol: Another sweetener in the spotlight, as its consumption has been associated with an increased risk of heart attack, cardiovascular disease, stroke and damage to the intestinal flora. It belongs to the group of polyols and is extracted from the fermentation of glucose present in starch.


As we can see, sweeteners are not without risk, so we should limit their consumption as much as possible. Of course, the harm associated with their use depends on the amount ingested and their prolonged use over time.

On the contrary, at Symbeeosis we believe that honey, in the right amount, is the healthiest and most delicious sweetener that Nature provides us. Unlike sweeteners, which have zero nutritional content, honey is considered indeed a superfood.

Loaded with vitamins, minerals and trace elements, is a wonderful source of energy to promote health, physical and intellectual performance. Why not create a habit that is sweet, natural and also healthy? Discover the Symbeeosis Organic Greek Honeys (Erica, Oak, Fir or Thyme).