Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer

Do artificial sweeteners cause Cancer?
What about Aspartame, Splenda, Stevia, Equal, Saccharin
- is it safe for human consumption?

The increasing use of Artificial Sweeteners or sugar substitutes does show that consumers are craving for more sweetness in food and drinks.

The link between Cancer and artificial sweeteners came about was because early studies showed that some of these sweeteners such as cyclamate and saccharin causes bladder cancer in laboratory animals.

The dangers of consuming refined sugar or table sugar has caused many consumers to substitute it with artificial sugars or sweeteners but actually they are far worse.

These Unnatural sweeteners are manufactured even sweeter than refined sugar. A small amount of these sweeteners can create sweetness equal to many times that of refined sugar thus making it more convenient for manufacturers and consumers.

These unnatural sweeteners are marketed under commercial names such as Aspartame (also known as Equal and NutraSweet), Ajinomoto, Acesulfame potassium (or ACK, Sweet One, and Sunett), Sucralose (or Splenda), Neotame, Cyclamate, Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) and Saccharin. All these are chemical sweeteners and are artificial and many of them are cancer causing compounds.

Avoid them at all cost as they are toxic and have no nutritional value. They deceive the body by satisfying the desire for sweetness in the tongue but actually produce harmful toxic side effects. They are chemical poisons. A poison is a substance that causes harm to the body.

In 2003, Forbes Magazine did a survey and found the following types of artificial-sweeteners to be widely consumed.

Below I will tell you about some of these major artificial and unnatural sweeteners and their effects on your health especially on cancer cells.


Commercially Aspartame has been known by other names such as NutraSweet, Equal, NatraSweet, Canderel, Spoonfuls, DiabetiSweet, Neotame, Aminosweet, Advantame and Ajinomoto. These are used in over 5000 products around the world, of which more than 2000 are found in Europe.

Aspartame can be found in a wide variety of food products including soft drinks and low alcohol beers, table-top sweeteners, yoghurts, dairy desserts, chewing gum, confectionery, dessert mixes and frozen desserts.

Aspartame is a very dangerous food chemical additive also because it is so commonly available and acceptable by consumers that most are blinded to the dangers.

Manufacturers will advertise them as "sugar-free" or "a healthy alternative to sugar" but their greed for more profits have been at the expense of the health of the consumers.

Do you know that when Aspartame is warmed to more than 86 degrees F (or 30 degrees C), the wood alcohol (also called methanol) in the product converts to formaldehyde (used for embalming dead bodies!) and then further into formic acid?

In the same way, the formaldehyde embalms the protein molecule in your body and damages your cells. Furthermore, the formic acid will cause acidosis of your digestive system creating an acidic body system.

One of the side effects of consuming Aspartame is the detachment of the retina in the eye when the wood alcohol attacked the sensitive protein in the retina thus causing blindness.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a limit of 7.8 milligrams of methanol per day, and yet a liter of soda drink with Aspartame contains about 56 milligrams!

Besides that Aspartame is also a neurotoxin that changes the chemical composition in the brain and cause seizures. It reduces the levels of dopamine (an important neurotransmitter) in the brain and promotes Parkinson disease.

Recent studies in Europe have found that the use of Aspartame causes an accumulation of formaldehyde in the brain resulting in damage to the central nervous system and immune system.

"The ingredients of Aspartame stimulates the neurons of the brain to death, causing brain damage of various degrees."

Dr. Russell Blaylock, neurosurgeon.

Other side effects of Aspartame are hallucinations, seizures, brain tumors, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, memory loss, and dizziness and may cause other health problems like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and cancers.

Aspartame and Cancer

The direct link between Aspartame and Cancer in human testing has been fairly uncharted but we know that when chemical toxins such as those in Aspartame are consumed, much of them will be stored in the cells of the body and the accumulated effect is damaging.

However, there are numerous indirect observations that proved that the increase use of Aspartame may be promoting cancer cells to multiply.

For example, in 1983 when Aspartame was approved for use in soda drinks, more than a million pounds of Aspartame was consumed. Less than a year after that, in January 1984, the incidence of brain cancer was higher than any other types of cancer. (Olney, J.W., Farber, N.B., Spitznagel, E., and Robbins, L.N. "Increasing Brain Tumor Rates: Is There a Link to Aspartame?" J. Neuropathol Exp Neurol 55 (1996): 1115:123).

According to the study by the US National Cancer Institute done in 1985, there was a significant 10% increase in malignant brain cancer just two years after Aspartame was introduced in the beverages market.

A study on women who consume large quantities of diet drinks with Aspartame were found to develop three specific types of brain cancer: alioblastoma, astrocytoma and primary lumphoma. Also pregnant women who consume Aspartame during their pregnancy were found to have babies with an increased risk of brain and spinal cord cancers. (Gurney, J.G., Pogoda, J.M., and Holly, E.A. "Aspartame Consumption in Relation to Childhood Brain Tumor Risk: Results from a Case-Control Study" Natl Cancer Inst 89 (1997): 1072-1074).

The US EPA has also confirmed that formaldehyde (found in Aspartame) increases the risk of breast and prostate cancer in human beings. Both of these types of cancers have been increasing at the same pace to the use of Aspartame.

Sucralose (or Splenda)

Sucralose (also commercially called Splenda) is a synthetic compound created in the manufacturer's lab in 1976.

Even though it is a dangerous chemical compound, it was approved by the US FDA in 1998 as a food sweetener and approved for use in foods such as baked goods, beverages, chewing gum, dairy desserts, fruit juices, gelatins and all processed foods.

It is about 600 times sweeter than natural sugar creating a false sense of sweetness and enticing people to be addicted to sweeter tastes.

Food manufacturers prefer Sucralose instead of Aspartame because of its longer shelf life and its resistance to high heat. Thus, it was found to be better suited for food products that use high temperatures.

This versatility has led to Sucralose in the form of "Splenda No Calorie Sweetener" being used in more than 4,000 products worldwide. These include children's food such as snacks, cereals and bottled fruit juices.

Besides the food industry, Sucralose is also used in pharmaceutical products such as vitamins, lozenges and over-the-counter remedies.

Even though Sucralose may not disrupt brain chemical balance like Aspartame, but it is still a chemical compound and not a natural sweetener. Chemically, Sucralose is more similar to DDT (pesticide) rather than sugar molecules.

Manufacturers of Splenda advertise their product as "Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar", but really it is a chlorinated artificial sweetener.

It is interesting to note that the US Sugar Association is suing the manufacturers of Splenda for false marketing strategy in calling Splenda a natural sugar. In 2005, the sugar cane and beet farmers in the Association started a website called "Truth about Splenda" at to counter the Splenda marketing campaign.

Sucralose actually began as a sugar molecule. In the manufacturing process chlorine molecules are added to the sugar molecule and alter the chemical composition of the sugar.

No naturally occurring sugar molecule has any chlorine in it. This modified inorganic sugar molecule is not natural and your body does not have the ability to digest it. This chlorine in the unstable molecular structure is very reactive and causes organ, genetic and reproductive damages.

The manufacturers of Splenda admit that when Sucralose is consumed, about fifteen percent of it is absorbed by the body. Out of this amount how much is retained and how much is passed out from the body, nobody knows.

But one thing we do know, and that is when any living creature eats chlorine regularly, they are at risk with getting cancer. The Merk Manuel and OSHA 40 SARA 120 Hazardous Waste Handbook confirm that chlorine is a carcinogen and even emergency procedures must be executed when a patient is exposed to chlorine by swallowing, inhaling or skin contact.

What are the dangers of Splenda?

The Sucralose Toxicity Information Center in US has shown health reactions to Splenda include skin rashes, panic-like agitation, dizziness, numbness, diarrhea, swelling, muscle aches, headaches, intestinal cramping, bladder problems and stomach pain.

Splenda has been found to shrink the thymus gland (your body immunity system) by as much as 40%.

The US Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, reveals that Splenda:

  • reduces the amount of friendly bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent
  • increases the pH level in your intestines, and
  • affects a glycoprotein (P-gp) in your body in such a way that health related medicine could be rejected instead of absorbed into the body.

The reduction of friendly bacteria will cause an imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria in your digestive system resulting in an already poor general public health.

Other side effects of Splenda are enlargement of liver and kidneys, reduced red blood cell count, causes pregnancies to be aborted, weight gain, migraine, disruption of sleep patterns, sexual dysfunction, increases in cancer, multiple sclerosis, lupus, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, seizures, dizziness, blurred vision, allergic reactions, increase of blood sugar and other degenerative diseases.

When Splenda was submitted for approval by the US FDA, 110 animal and human safety studies were considered. Out of these 110 studies, only 2 were studied on human safety, and even then the human study was only conducted for a four day period! None were done on a larger population base or for a longer study term.

Even when studies on Splenda were mainly conducted on animals, the results on them were shocking. They include:

  • Decreased red blood cells (anemia)
  • Decreased sperm production and vitality leading to male infertility
  • Enlarged and calcified kidneys
  • Spontaneous abortions in nearly half the rabbit population given Sucralose, compared to zero abortions in the control group
  • A 23% death rate in rabbits compared to a 6% rate in the control group

When Splenda's manufacturer advertised their product as "zero calories" to attract consumers who are weight conscious, what they didn't inform you is that naturally, Splenda is not zero calories.

It is because the body has no natural ability to digest or breakdown the Splenda (resulting in raw absorption), so they do not contribute in terms of calories. But the raw absorption is even more dangerous!

Splenda and Cancer

The following conclusions were taken from studies by Duke University.

Increase risk of Cancer

When Splenda is taken regularly, it was found to increase cancer risk. Some of the cancers include stomach, colon, pancreatic, kidney and liver cancers.


Consumers of Splenda were found to have insomnia. They have difficulty in falling asleep as well as difficulty in maintaining a restful sleep.

Weight Gain

Splenda is not a real natural sugar. It is an artificial sweetener and since the body continues to crave for glucose that is found in natural sugar, the body is never satisfied. The body continues to crave for more food.

Glucose is actually needed as a source of energy and for cellular respiration. Duke University conducted a study which was published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, found evidence that Splenda causes an increase in weight gain.


Toxicologist Judith Bellin published her studies in the New Scientist Journal, that when laboratory rats consume Splenda, they causes miscarriage in them. If you are pregnant, would you take the risk?

Digestive Problems

Duke University confirmed the direct link between Splenda and diarrhea. Splenda causes diarrhea, sometimes severe.

Acesulfame Potassium (ACK or Acesulfame K)

Acesulfame K was introduced in 1967. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar (refined sugar also called sucrose) and used in soft drinks, confections, processed foods and baked goods.

The effects of consuming Acesulfame K are similar to that of Sucralose. It increases your risk of Cancer and linked to causing kidney cancer.

Acesulfame K cannot be digested or metabolized by the body. Some of them will be retained and some will be passed out. They cannot be broken down metabolically.

In recent studies in Germany, the Water Technology Center in Karlsruhe, Germany published their findings in the Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry Journal that artificial-sweeteners, like Acesulfame K, Saccharin, Cyclamate and Sucralose, are found in German waste and surface water. That means even after the human waste water has gone through the waste water treatment system, the stubborn sweeteners refuse to breakdown!

They are now classified as pollutants that contaminate the waters in the rivers and streams. If left untreated, these pollutants are reintroduced back into our drinking tap water.

Should we as consumers then take in such pollutants into our body system either through the tap water or as an artificial sweetener?

Furthermore, the US Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reports that the chemicals in Acesulfame K cause thyroid cancer tumors in laboratory rats, rabbits and dogs.

In 2009, The government of Venezuela has ordered Coca-Cola to withdraw its Coke Zero beverage from the South American nation, citing unspecified dangers to health. (Reuters, June 10, 2009). Venezuela's Health Ministry said it banned sales of Coca-Cola Zero because the company failed to declare that the no-calorie soft drink uses an artificial sweetener allegedly harmful to health.

So what is inside Coke Zero? Coca-Cola manufacturer claims that they contain Acesulfame K and Aspartame as artificial sweeteners.


Cyclamate was treated as an alternative artificial sweetener recommended for diabetic patients. But in 1969, Cyclamate was banned by the US FDA as a food additive citing new research studies that Cyclamate causes cancer in laboratory rats.

The chemicals in Cyclamate were found to cause bladder cancer in rats when they were given a dosage equal to a person drinking 10 gallons per day for a year of a Cyclamate sweetened drink.

Other scientific studies also show that one of the chemicals in Cyclamate, called cyclohexylamine, causes rats and dogs to have testicular atrophy and reduced sperm production.

However, this product Cyclamate is still used as a sweetener blended with other sweeteners such as Saccharin, and widely consumed in the US, Britain, Australia, and more than 55 other countries.

One of the reasons why Cyclamate is more easily accepted than other sweeteners such as Saccharin is that it is easily soluble in water. It is more stable when heated, inexpensive to produce (creating more profits for manufacturers) and contains zero calories (greater appeal to weight conscious people).

Abbott Laboratories now holds the patent for Cyclamate and they have submitted a new application for approval from the US FDA, giving the reason that they want to use it to mask the bitter taste of new medicinal products.


Saccharin was discovered about 100 years ago and is one of the most studied ingredients in the food industry.

There are more than 30 human studies conducted with Saccharin and short term results show no direct link to cancer. No medium term or long term studies were made.

However when Saccharin was tested on laboratory animals in 1997, they were found to cause bladder cancer in 50% of the animals. Researchers will testify that when Saccharin is taken regularly, they do cause cancers in humans but how much can a human body tolerate this chemical sweetener, nobody knows.

Another danger of Saccharin is the risk of allergic reactions because of the chemical compound called sulfonamides found in the product.

People who are intolerant to sulfa drugs will have allergic reactions resulting in headaches, breathing difficulties, skin eruptions and diarrhea. Infants who take Saccharin introduced in their infant formula were found to have muscle dysfunction and body irritations.

Earlier the US Congress did allow Saccharin to be sold but with the condition that the products must contain a warning label saying "Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals." However this cancer warning was cancelled by President Clinton in 2000!

My suggestion is to be safe for today and stay away from Saccharin and remain safe for the future. Even though Saccharin is a less risky artificial sweetener we do not recommend it at all.

Also it had been found that when people are constantly using artificial sweeteners like Saccharin, they can become physically dependent on it forming an addictive habit.


Stevia is now the latest controversy on this artificial sweeteners and whether it is harmful or healthy for human consumption. On one hand, the Stevia plant by itself is a natural plant.

But the extract of some chemical compounds of the plant for the manufacturing process makes it an artificial sweetener, causing suspicion among health critics on the stability of the extracted compound.

Stevia is a plant that originates from the rainforest of South America and Central America. It is about 300 times sweeter than table sugar. The leaves of the Stevia plant have been used by the Guarini Indians of Paraguay for over 1500 years.

Stevia is widely used in Japan as a sweetener and an alternative to sugar, but in the US the FDA has not approved it as a food additive but only as a dietary supplement. FDA calls it an "unsafe food additive" saying that some of the product may be dangerous to blood sugar and reproductive, cardiovascular and renal systems.

In 2006, European scientists found that when male rats were fed with Stevia for 22 months, their reproductive system decline causing infertility. When female rats were fed with the product, they had fewer and smaller offsprings.

Stevia leaves by themselves are totally natural but when the plant is processed it was found that the steviol (the compound that cause the sweetness) is converted into a mutagenic compound that may promotes cancer cells to grow by altering the cells' genetic material or DNA. Further research into this has not been conclusive.

Opponents of the FDA ban on Stevia states that FDA seems to be protecting the profits of other artificial sweeteners in the market because the Stevia plant is a natural product and any layman can product it without a patent.

Nonetheless, those who are sensitive to insulin or have insulin problems are recommended to abstain from Stevia and other sweeteners because of the high level of sweetness of this product.

How to recognize Artificial Sweeteners in Your Food?

Many people may not put artificial sweeteners directly into their coffee, tea or beverages but artificial sweeteners are found in so many products that the accumulated amount adds up to quite high.

How do you recognize these artificial sweeteners? READ THE LABELS!

Don't just believe the marketing ploy or fantastic media advertisements. Educate yourself on the various harmful artificial sweeteners listed above and inform yourself of the dangers. Then stay away from the products that contain them.

How do you deal with Cravings for Artificial Sweeteners?

Addiction to sweetness is very difficult to break. This is similar to other type of addictions where a "cold turkey" kind of body response may be caused by such cravings.

Here are some suggestions on how to deal with these Cravings.

  • Eat lots of nutrient-rich foods regularly such as vegetables, nuts and grain. This will satisfy your hungry appetite for the sweetness cravings. Believe me, that once your taste buds and stomach are used to non-artificial sweetness, you will find those artificial sweeteners including refined sugar to be undesirable.
  • Eat plenty of fruits that have natural sweetness.
  • Go and get some exercise to take your mind off the temptation for artificially sweetened food.
  • Drink plenty of clean pure water. Sometimes the hungry feeling is actually a need for water. Remember, your body mainly consists of water and you do lose water every day.

Alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners

I have a personal saying that says "whenever you find something artificial, you can be certain there is a better original".

Go for original sweeteners found in natural food products. They are totally natural and they are delicious. Some of them are:

  • Agave Nectar
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Date Sugar
  • Raw Honey
  • 100% Pure Maple Syrup
  • 100% Maple Sugar
  • Molasses
  • Stevia plant leaves (not the extract)

Remember this: If you are consuming a food or a drink that is created in a manufacturer's laboratory, you can be certain that your body will not assimilate it properly thus leading to future health problems for you.

Further Reading:

Cancer treatment and Food
You are what you EAT! When you are undergoing Cancer Treatment, Are you feeding your healthy cells or cancer cells?.

Cancer Treatment and Natural Health
"Human Beings are Natural Creatures, requiring Natural Nourishment to live Natural Lives in perfect Natural Health."

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Return from "Cancer and Artificial Sweeteners" to "Cancer Treatment Tips"


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