Reader’s Request: Why I’m finished with artificial sweeteners

A little while ago, I posted about 2 changes I’ve made for my health so far this year. You may recall that one of them was a big reduction in my intake of artificial sweeteners, and shortly after I published the post, I got an email from a lovely reader asking me for a bit more information. This is what she had to say:

Your recent post that addressed your reduction in consuming artificial sweeteners hit a lightning rod with me… I’d addicted to all three things that you mentioned you were cutting out of your diet: sugar-free gum, fat-free fruit-flavored single-serving yogurts and drink crystals.  I’ll go through a pack of gum in one day… I crave/eat 3/4 fat-free yogurts a day… And I drink 2/3 liters of water with Crystal Light a day.  Seriously, it’s bad!

With that being said, I’m really healthy otherwise… My diet consists of veggies and lean proteins.  No sugar or simple carbs.  However, I continue to be bloated and my digestion isn’t what it should be… As much fiber as I consume in veggies and fruit, I should be very regular but I’m not.  I completely identify with you on your stomach sticking out like you’re 6 months pregnant!  I exercise and eat healthy, but still have this problem…  I’m 5’5″ and weigh 120lbs, so it’s not that I’m over-weight… I just have a bloating/digestion problem.  In fact, I’ve considered being tested for Candidiasis.

You’re post indicated that since you’ve cut these three things out of your diet, your digestion, bloating and overall health has improved.  Would you shed some light on why these three things that I love so much are so bad for me when on the surface they appear to be quite harmless?  I need motivation to throw these things away ASAP!

M

I’ll preface this reader’s request post by saying that although I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian, I’ve done a ton of reading over the past few months about the effects that artificial sweeteners have on our bodies. One thing that is great and incredibly frustrating at the same time about nutrition is that the second one study proves x, another study is published that proves the complete opposite. Therefore, I’m not claiming that everything you’re about to read is set in stone. Artificial sweeteners receive tons of attention in the nutrition world and the jury is still out on their exact effects.

How artificial sweeteners are made

There are many different types of sugar substitutes in the foods we eat, and this post would be enormously long if I talked about each one. Therefore I’ll just focus on 2 of the most common, sucralose and aspartame.

  • Sucralose: About 600x sweeter than sugar, this sweetener is made using a “process in which 3 hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar (sucrose) molecule are replaced with 3 chlorine atoms.” (Source).
  • Aspartame: This substitute is about 200x sweeter than sugar and is made of 2 amino acids: phenylalanine and aspartic acid. These amino acids are also found in other protein-rich food sources like meats and dairy. To produce the final product often found in soft drinks and other ‘diet foods’, the amino acids are combined with methanol. (Source).

Regardless of the process required to make these sugar substitutes and the safety of them, one thing is definitely true: they are all created through processing in a labs, and are not whole foods.

How are they digested?

Depending on the sweetener, some supposedly pass through the body undigested. Others (like aspartame) are broken down into their original forms – methanol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid, then absorbed into the bloodstream. Even though both aspartame and sucralose are FDA-approved, some studies warn that when methanol is digested, it creates formaldehyde, then formic acid. Although only small amounts are produced (and this is also the case for some other foods we ingest), it’s commonly known that formaldehyde is a toxin. Depending on whose opinions you read, some also consider it a carcinogen.

Our livers are responsible for trying to process toxins and remove them, but eventually when the liver can’t do any more or is overwhelmed by toxins, it becomes damaged. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not deliberately put toxins in my body if I can help it, even in small amounts. Of course, I realize that food, even food that is good for us like fresh produce, is one of the #1 vehicles for toxins and that sugar substitutes are not the only source, but every little bit counts, right?

(Source)

How much is too much, and what are the side effects?

The FDA has made recommendations about daily maximums for chemical sweeteners, but it’s hard to find hard evidence that excess consumption of any of them always produces x, y, or z symptoms or diseases. This makes sense, since everyone has varying levels of toxins in their bodies depending on their exposure to smoking, the environment, pesticides, etc. Having said that, the stories that I’ve read about other people that have ditched diet drinks and other chemically sweetened products sound similar to mine. The two main things that stuck out to me were:

  • Headaches – These wouldn’t happen every single time or immediately after eating an artificially sweetened food, but there was a point where I noticed myself popping Advils a lot more often than normal (which is almost never for me).
  • Bloating – Most products warn that excess consumption could “produce bloating or gas”. I’d consider my previous gum chewing an excessive one,  and indeed this was the case!

Some people claim to experience other symptoms – everything from dizziness, vision impairment, and anxiety to seizures. I can’t claim that any of this has happened to me, but the headaches and bloating were enough to make me want to kick my bad habits for good. At one point I kind of tricked myself into thinking that I had some sort of digestive problem, but really I was just in denial, thinking that the crap ‘foods’ I was eating weren’t doing anything bad to me. After spending far too many nights rolling around on my bed in agony, I finally decided that I didn’t want to put myself through it any more.

What is my ‘detox’ method?

Type ‘how to detox from artificial sweeteners’ into Google and you’ll find endless pages of solutions from vitamins and herbs to digestive enzymes and homeopathic remedies. Rather than going out and purchasing these things (which may or may not work), these are the steps I’ve taken:

  • Dramatically reducing my gum chewing. My daily max is around 3-4 pieces, as opposed to the 20+ that it used to be.
  • Eliminating drink crystals and artificially sweetened yogurts, and swapping them for water flavoured with citrus fruits, and cottage cheese or Greek yogurt.
  • Drinking TONS of water. You’d think that filling your body with fluid would bloat you up like a water balloon, but it’s so amazing how much it has helped my digestion. I can only think that it is helping me to flush all the toxins from chemical sweeteners and other sources out of my body.
  • Brushing my teeth and/or using whitening strips after meals. This is a great trick for anyone trying to prevent themselves from eating more or over-eating after finishing a meal. After brushing I never want to ruin my minty fresh mouth! Many off-the-shelf whitening strips have to be left on for at least 30 minutes, which gives your body plenty of time to recognize that it’s full.
  • Eating foods that promote detoxification. These include cruciferous veggies (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli), sea vegetables, garlic, citrus, dark leafy greens, apples, cranberries, ginger, cinnamon, parsley, and teas (herbal, oolong, pu’erh and green)

The bottom line (according to me)

To sum all of this up, my decision to drastically reduce my artificial sweeteners intake wasn’t based on cold hard scientific facts (which I’ve learned, are extremely hard to find). It was quite simple really – just like many other products you’ll find on the shelves at the grocery store, they’ve undergone a lot of processing and are therefore not whole foods. For someone who tries to eat as cleanly as possible, and who has experienced her fair share of painful bloating and headaches, it just made sense. Ever since, I haven’t experienced either symptom. I’ve never been one to crave sugar intensely, but I’ve noticed my taste buds are even more sensitive to it now.

There are lots of things that can be done to get harmful things out of our system, but I think the most important is to just stop them coming in. Google says it takes somewhere between 21 and 28 days to form a habit, and I’ve been going pretty strong since January 1st. If the reader’s email at the beginning of this post sounds like you could have written it yourself, know that if I can kick a habit that I built up over roughly 10 years, you can do it too. 🙂

Interested in learning more? These are some of the resources from WebMD that I found helpful:

Back to lighter reading tomorrow! 🙂

51 thoughts on “Reader’s Request: Why I’m finished with artificial sweeteners

  1. as you know, angela, this is a subject near and dear to my heart, too! i have not touched gum nor diet pop since january 8th, so i am over that 3-4 week window of transition, thank goodness!
    thanks so much for all the info you share in this post. despite x and y studies, anecdotal evidence of what you (and me and other readers) have felt is what to go by – you have to do what feels right to you!
    i love your suggestion of white strips – they DO make your teeth feel so clean and fresh, eh?! and i, too, have noticed that my taste buds are evolving – for example, i had raspberries the other day that were a sweet explosion – so delicious!
    it’s hard to take that first step to get away from the artificial sweeteners, but well worth it! that said, i do still get diet coke cravings!…

    1. It’s so funny that you mentioned that about the raspberries Cathy, because when I was making the chocolate chia puddings for Valentine’s day, about half of the raspberries in the container made it into my mouth during my little photo session (oops!) and I could not get over their juiciness! Good luck with those Diet Coke cravings.. I’m sure with time they’ll definitely get weaker. Have a great day! 🙂

    1. Oh wow, thank you so much for that video link Alyssa!! I’m not surprised it was one of the most controversial issues faced by the FDA. The whole thing definitely re-affirms my choice to get rid of as much fake food as I can. Have a fantastic day!

  2. Really great and informative posts. I try to limit my dealings with artificial sweetners though I dont always succeed. I started by Stevia because I’ve read that it’s better than all the rest, though more expensive. I’ts the little changes like this that make a big difference.

    1. Hi Ericka! If I need sweetness, Stevia is what I use too. Like you said, it’s a lot more expensive than the others, but I feel that’s the case with any food that is better for us, just like junk food vs. fresh produce. I’ve found that since reducing sugars in my diet, I don’t go through nearly as much Stevia because my taste buds are so much more sensitive. Good luck with your small changes – like you said, they will make a difference!

  3. I probably haven’t had artificial sweeteners since childhood (and only then, a few times). They scare the hell out of me… but so does all non-food posing as food. Great blog! Tweeting 🙂

  4. Love this post! Thank you for addressing this issue. I used to consume too much artificial sweetener as well, but have completely removed splenda from my diet and do not miss it one bit. Trident is the harder habit to kick for me. It also makes my jaw tired, aside from the bloating. I just love to keep my mouth occupied like you! Will work on the whitening strips. Teeth brushing definitely helps. Thanks Angela!

    1. Hi Betsy! Gum was probably my strongest addiction and worst habit. When I lived in Bahrain, we couldn’t get Trident so when I moved back here in 2006, I pretty much went crazy and chewed it every single day in large amounts! If you find you need to keep your mouth occupied, you could try ginger chews or ginger pastilles. I blogged about the ones that I like from The Ginger People here, and I didn’t think I really liked ginger that much but I DO love these! Ginger is a stomach-soother so you definitely don’t need to worry about the bloated feeling. If I’m looking for something to keep my mouth busy, I try to think of them as a treat because they’re about $4/box. They’ve also helped to relieve any stomach pains that I’ve experienced SO much faster than things like Tums. 🙂

  5. I just did a post last night on this very subject. I’ve been doing the Anti-Candida Diet (ACD) for over a month now which has meant no sweeteners whatsoever except stevia and yacon syrup. I have to say that I am feeling so much better! I won’t be sticking with stevia after my ACD stint is over but will revert to honey or fruit as sweetener moving forward. Those are sweeteners my body can actually do something positive with. The best defense I found that the artificial sweeteners had was that they do no harm. My philosophy moving forward will be if the food doesn’t do my body good, it shouldn’t be in my diet. Thanks for the great article!

    1. That’s great Melie! I’m definitely going to check out your post too. That’s wonderful that you’ve managed to eliminate all sweeteners except stevia and yacon. I totally agree with you that natural is best, and I love your philosophy! Amen to that!

  6. Good for you! I’m sure your body will appreciate the benefits. I was raised to avoid artifactual sweeteners like the plague, so most of them I’ve never even tasted before! I know that it’s a problem for a lot of people though, I have friends who are completely ADDICTED to diet sodas.

  7. Amen! I love your post! I got on the Splenda band wagon for about a month and I started getting dizzy, headaches and gassy. I couldn’t figure out why, then I decided to stop using splenda and symptoms went away. When I had splenda it left a hollow feeling in my stomach, which made me think I was hungry, so I ate more, meaning more weight gain. I do now and again have sugar free syrups in my coffee, but thats it! Love this post!! I’ll stick to real sugar, thank you very much!

    1. That’s amazing Jennifer! I totally agree with you and have experienced the hollow feeling, particularly when chewing gum. Like you, I felt that I was hungry and was therefore always snacking, although I’m sure less gum and more water would have easily done the trick, minus the huge belly bloat! Great to hear that you’ve stuck to your positive changes. 🙂

  8. I’m all about natural sweeteners
    when my daughter was in elementary school I got yelled at by teacher because she was giving the kids sugar free jello as a treat and my daughter (then 6) said she wasnt allowed to have it (good girl!) and teacher called me in asking why..I told her about all the thoughts on chemical artificial crap and she just stood there dumbfounded…but never again did she try to feed my daughter any nonsense! now if only a few other people around me would get it through their heads that the reason they have constant migraines, health issues is because they add tons of Splenda to their coffee & tea….

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing this story Tara, and I think it’s awesome that you had this chat with your daughter’s teacher. The more people that know these things really aren’t helping us out in any way, the better! It still amazes me that jello is served in hospitals where the goal is to help patients get better, yet it contains all of the chemical crap that you mentioned. I tell ya, if we ran the world…. 😉

  9. I gave up artificial sweeteners (aside from the occasional stick of gum) three years ago. They made me feel lousy!

    After reading about how the body synthesizes the sweeteners into formaldehyde, I now know why I felt lousy: I have a horrible allergy to formaldehyde!

    Stevia is great, but don’t get the Truvia stuff. Cargill does some nasty things to the stevia leaf to make their product (just look up their patent on the stuff – they use acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol in the process!). Sounds just as bad as aspartame!

    Now, if I want something sweet (like in my coffee), I just use raw sugar and just enough to satisfy. Whole foods are best!

    1. Congratulations Carolyn, and well done for being so in-tune with your body and recognizing the formaldehyde connection. Thanks so much for sharing the info about Truvia. I don’t think I’ve ever bought that brand but it’s interesting to hear that not all seemingly ‘natural’ products like stevia are created equal. Whole foods are best indeed! 🙂

  10. GREAT post Angela!!! I think you made some very sensible points whether they are scientifically proven or not. It just makes sense. Way to kick the habit! When I was little, my mom wouldn’t allow us to have artificial sweeteners, and now they are SO gross to me. I am thankful she started me off well.

  11. YES. SO with you on whole, real, nourishing foods. I gave up fake sweeteners last May and have never looked back. It was causing me to think I was hungry when I wasn’t (since fake sweetener tricks your body into thinking its ingesting “real” food and thus prepares itself for digestion, hence the phantom hunger) and I just don’t need those chemicals in my body. Now – my taste buds have changed entirely. I had some oatmeal the other day while on a work trip and had no food options available to me. It was a weight control oatmeal (quaker) and I was SHOCKED at how sickly sweet it tasted to me now. I used to eat that stuff DAILY and now I can barely choke it down. Totally amazing how the body/taste buds change especially if you’re like me and thought you’d never see the day!

    1. I hear ya Jess! As I mentioned in one of my comments above, I had that same hungry feeling when I chewed gum. As for the oats, isn’t it amazing how our tastebuds and sugar sensitivities change over time? Glad you’ve made such a positive switch – congratulations! 🙂

    1. Hi Claire! I’ve been trying to limit all sweeteners in general, but if I do need some, stevia or honey are my go-to choices, or natural fresh/dried/frozen fruit for smoothies and if I’m baking. If you’re interested, have a look at Carolyn’s comment above about stevia. I wasn’t aware of this, but it just goes to show that we still need to be careful. Since I’m more sensitive to sweetness now, it takes me a long time to get through a box of stevia. That’s a good thing, because it’s certainly not cheap!

  12. Excellent post! I don’t eat artificial sugars but a couple people I know are definitely addicted. This is really useful information and you presented it in a clear way that makes me happy to pass it along to them. Thanks 🙂

  13. Great post! Very, very helpful. It is surprising how a lot of people actually think that artificial sweeteners are healthier. They are not and people really need to be aware of what they are ingesting.

  14. Great post! I focused for so long on calorie counts, and used Splenda as a way to still eat sweet foods, but without the calories .. just recently I decided to eliminate it. I do get a lot of headaches, so I wonder if that was related! I also have the gum problem — but I was using it a lot to keep myself from eating! It’s getting better, but definitely something I still need to work on!

    1. Hi Jane! I also focused on calorie counts when I was losing weight, mainly because that’s the type of weight loss plan I was on. It was difficult for me to give them up because I actually did lose weight while consuming products that contained them. Like you said though, the side effects are things like headaches and bloating, and who wants that!? It just goes to show that people can be thin and look ‘healthy’ on the outside, but still have all this crap inside them that makes them feel gross, not to mention wreaks havoc on their livers and digestive systems. Congratulations on your progress so far, and keep it up!

  15. I just eliminated AF’s out of my diet about 2 weeks ago!!! I was chewing a pack of gum a day, and drinking those carbonated flavored waters from Safeway. I started getting numbness in my feet one night, and I was very dizzy and felt weak. After some googling, I discovered that artificial sweeteners can cause neurological problems so I completely cut everything out! Hopefully I’ll feel better soon :/ Great post!!!

    1. Awesome job Brianna! Keep up the hard work – I’ve gone through spells of ‘falling back in the trap’ or artificial sweeteners, but I’m sure if you keep reminding yourself how good it feels not to be dizzy, weak, etc, that will motivate you to keep trying hard. Keep me posted!

  16. Artificial sweeteners are scary stuff. I’ve definitely cut down on my consumption, but they are still some in the sports supplements I’m taking. When i finish up this batch I think I’ll look in to buying one with stevia as a sweetener instead. great post 🙂

  17. Great post, Angela! SO happy to hear that you are cutting out artificial sweeteners! Thankfully, I never used them but still having trouble transferring my boyfriend to stevia and coconut sugar.
    Chewing gum encourages mindlessness (lack of mindfulness) since it is difficult to be aware of every bite. This can be another motivator for quitting it:)
    As for bloating, have you tried food combining and digestion stimulating spices such as cinnamon, cumin, fennel, or coriander? While I was fighting with PCOS I felt bloated all the time even when I woke up. Now, it is very rare and my stomach is mostly very happy and regular:)
    Good luck!

    1. I totally agree with the mindlessness thing Nadya, great point! As far as the spices go, yes, I put a whackload of cinnamon in everything! (Well not everything, but a lot of things I eat!) Cumin and coriander are 2 I cook with a lot as well, but don’t use fennel as much so I will give it a try as well. Thanks for the tips, and have a great weekend!

  18. Hi Angela,

    I tend to have quite a sensitive tummy (I have mild IBS and artificial sweeteners are generally considered a no no for us), and I have found that I really can’t tolerate artificial sweeteners. I know everyone is different, but cutting them out has made a HUGE difference for me. Hope it helps you too!

    ~Emily~

  19. For the record aspartame has never been shown to produce cancer in any unbiased, correctly done study. But my comment will provide you with a rarely discussed, but exceedingly important explanation for many cancers.

    The fact is that aspartame is perfectly safe used as directed. However, there appears to be a defined class of people for which labeling might be insufficient. And that class of people is those with an ongoing insufficiency of the vitamin folic acid (and/or vitamin B12). Actually folate deficiency can explain all the “highly cited, but incorrect 92 symptoms attributed to aspartame toxicity”. However, the dilemma here is that the people with this insufficiency (whether direct deficiency or because of a genetic requirement for more folate or the same issues with vitamin B12) and with related issues like hyperhomocysteinemia [homocysteine is a potent excitotoxin that poses a serious human health hazard; it is detoxified by folate] or vitamin B12 deficiency are often unaware of it, so they blame their headaches from aspartame for their acute headache, for example. But really they are at risk for these bigger problems for these other personal reasons. Folate deficiency and lesser so vitamin B12 are directly connected to a large body of diseases, including breast and other types of cancers, etc. And folate insufficiency is still a real world problem both alone and because of polymorphism-associated genetic predispositions [requiring extra folate], including one directly associated with headache; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19619240).

    The connection between aspartame and folate deficiency arises because aspartame contains a methyl ester; methanol is released upon GI hydrolysis. The purpose of the vitamin folate is to recycle methanol’s oxidation products formaldehyde and formate into methyl groups. Deficiency can lead to the same “symptoms” as methanol toxicity—but only in people that are otherwise deficient in this vitamin. Untainted food consumption alone never leads to poisoning, but folate insufficiency amongst a segment of the population can have the longer term consequences mentioned in the previous paragraph. Vitamin B12 takes the folate-generated methyl groups and transfers them to homocysteine making a vital amino acid called methionine. Too little of either causes the same or similar ultimate problems.

    These facts explain everything about the whole “internet conspiracy” theory suggesting aspartame is unsafe. But you have to realize too that there is more methanol (read that as formaldehyde) in juice drinks (pectin is a polymeric methyl ester) than in aspartame drinks. And there is twice the amount of formaldehyde generated from caffeine than from the same molecular amount of aspartame. So again the problem is one of folate (B12) deficiency still being a human health problem, even after the US, Canada, and Chile required grain product folate fortification starting in 1998. That date is relevant also because all viable concern with aspartame were raised before that date. But the frank malformations and teratology in infants of folate deficient mothers is what led to forced folate fortification to combat this widespread folate deficiency. Those issues have dropped dramatically amongst the population, since that action. They have not been eliminated because of various genetic issues (polymorphisms) in up to 40% of the population that make some people require even more folic acid than others.

    But the take-home message here is that aspartame toxicity is a myth. All papers showing any issue with aspartame failed adequately to ensure folate sufficiency in either their animal work or use populations (including diabetics and others), most of whom have a documentable ongoing folate-deficiency in the first place. The 2006-2008 work by Soffritti et al is loaded with as many as five fatal, scientific errors. This list includes the use of a type of rat known to become folate deficient at one year of age; but their experiment lasted three years. And this doesn’t even mention their use of a folate deficient diet for those three years. Sill other fundamental scientific errors totally dismiss their works. FDA is aware of these issues and will not ban aspartame based on an overwhelming scientific assessment of safety. FYI, this whole folate insufficiency issue in methanol metabolism has been known for roughly four decades, because of the work of Tephly; the genetic polymorphisms aspects are relatively new, however.

    John E. Garst, Ph.D. (Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Nutrition)

  20. I know this article is old, but so glad I found it.
    I have been blown up like s balloon for the last to weeks with pain in my ribs on right hand side. Being scanned for gallbladder problems, but I realized that all these symptoms coincided with me giving up sugar in tea and coffee. I bought some sweeteners instead, candarel (aspartame). I have about 12 a day. I ran out yesterday so went back to sugar. Today I feel less bloated and the best I have felt in two weeks. I am fairly sure it was the sweeteners that caused it.

    1. Thanks so much for the comment Damian! I suspect the same thing as you with the Candarel, and I know exactly what you mean by that rib pain because I had it too. I’d wake up with it in the night and literally have to roll around in agony for up to an hour to get it to go away. Not fun! If it’s a low calorie substitute that you’re looking for, have you tried stevia? That’s what I use in the event that I want to add sweetness to something, and I’ve never felt that bloated feeling. It’s more expensive than artificial sweeteners, but that’s because it’s actually from a plant, not a manufactured chemical. It’s also much, much sweeter than sugar so you don’t need nearly as much. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better! 🙂

  21. Thank you so mu h for this
    Information. Would you suggest a certain healthy sweetener alternative? I’m thinking organic coconut sugar. Im on my 3rd week of almost no wheat or gluten. So far so
    Good but i really like my coffee. I found aime amazing recipes at www. detoxinista.com. I cant believe i can eat healthy food that tastes good as i was a huge carb. Fanatic. Ive noticed my clothes fitting better, less back pain and less nose stuffiness all from cutting down on wheat. Wild. Now I have to kick the sweeteners to the curb like aspartame. The Loose the Wheat Loose the Weight book was great too
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Gina! Congrats on the progress you’ve made so far. My usual sweetener of choice (although I don’t normally use much at all is stevia. The New Roots brand is well known for not having a metallic aftertaste, and you only need a tiny bit if you buy the concentrate powder. For baked goods, I like to sweeten with stevia and fruit purees like applesauce, pumpkin, dates, etc. One thing you could try in your coffee is a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk. It won’t make it super sweet, but it gives it that nice creaminess and you may find you don’t need any sweetener after a while. Coconut milk also contains healthy fats, so you’re getting that benefit too!

  22. Great post. I am glad I found this.

    My own diet consist almost entirely of raw veggies and lean protein. I am also very fit and run ultra marathons. HOWEVER, in the past 6 months I have had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR people ask me when my baby is due! Besides the fact that asking such a question is kind of rude, I can see why they may think that. My belly pokes out from being bloated and I really do look pregnant.

    I do consume a lot of artificial sweeteners, and just like you I am addicted to sugar free gum. At least a pack a day. Its crazy! Thankfully, I read this and I know that I am not the only one! Its now time to ween myself off all of this crap.

    1. Hi Ashley! I totally hear you on all of the above! It’s amazing how much impact the artificial sweeteners can have on our appearance, and it scares me to think about how much more damage they’re probably causing on our insides! I’ve found that my taste buds have totally changed since eliminating sugar and artificial substitutes, to the point where I don’t really crave sweet things at all now (aside from fruit, which I adore). Good luck with getting rid of the nasties in your diet, and I hope you notice a difference soon!

  23. Thank you for sharing all your research. I will eliminate sugar free gum immediately and hopefully some of my bloated stomach will disappear

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