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The 3 Worst Sweeteners and 4 Best Sweeteners To Have In Your Kitchen

Photo illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This is one of those things where you know perhaps you should avoid things, but a lot of sweeteners seem to be in EVERYTHING.  I guess moderation is the key, but it’s good to know what the worst sweeteners are and ones we don’t need to worry so much about.

Bad Guy #1: Aspartame

There’s conflicting evidence regarding the safety of aspartame, a common chemical sweetener used in diet soda and other low-cal or low-sugar goods, but some people report headaches or generally feeling unwell after ingesting anything containing the chemical. To make life easier for everyone, this is one instance where you may want to follow the “better safe than sorry” principle. That’s because a University of Liverpool test-tube study found that when mixed with a common food color ingredient, aspartame actually became toxic to brain cells. Making matters worse, aspartame is used in many diet sodas, and studies have found drinking diet soda may increase your risk of developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Also of concern with aspartame, researchers have found that one harmful breakdown product is formaldehyde. Sweet? We don’t think so.

Bad Guy #2: Agave

While your health food store likely stocks agave sweeteners, it may be best to keep them out of your cart. Many agave nectars consist of 70 to 80 percent fructose—that’s more than what’s found in high-fructose corn syrup! If you don’t want to give up agave, look for types that contain no more than 30 to 40 percent fructose, recommends Christine Gerbstadt, MD, PhD, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Agave is also very heavily processed in an extremely energy-intensive manner that’s similar to the way corn is converted into high-fructose corn syrup.

Bad Guy #3: Sucralose

While sucralose, better known by its brand name, Splenda, may originate with sugar, the end product is anything but natural. It’s processed using chlorine, and researchers are finding that the artificial sweetener is passing through our bodies and winding up in wastewater treatment plants, where it can’t be broken down. Tests in Norway and Sweden found sucralose in surface water released downstream from treatment discharge sites. Scientists worry it could change organisms’ feeding habits and interfere with photosynthesis, putting the entire food chain at risk. The chemically derived artificial sweetener acesulfame K (sold under the brand name Sunett) was also detected in treated wastewater and tap water.

The news isn’t all bad, some sweeteners are not to be feared.  See the good guys through this link!

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