Zero calories. That must be good. Right?

white and red coca cola box

In previous blogs, I discussed the detrimental effects of our modern food processing techniques and the addition of sugar to almost all modern processed foods.

All this was to awaken us to what is in the foods we buy and to consider healthy alternatives.  Alternatives that will nourish, satiate, and satisfy us!

And that will save us money.  Think of the potential savings in medical expenses and anti-inflammatories when you stop consuming the refined sweeteners, rancid oils and other toxic chemicals found in almost all packaged foods.

As harmful as I made packaged foods sound thus far, I have yet to touch on non-caloric sweeteners and other food additives.

Let us look at the non-caloric sweeteners today.

Zero calories.  That must be good.  Right?

Not so fast.

If you are like me, you probably never thought about what you were ingesting when consuming a product with artificial sweetener.  It never occurred to me that I might be eating methanol (a poisonous alcohol)1, tar, synthetically produced methyl anthranilate, or chlorinated sugar.

I used to drink diet coke.  Then in 1995, it became suddenly repulsive to me, for no apparent reason.  So, I ceased drinking it.  Looking back, knowing what I know now, I believe my body was telling me that diet coke was not serving it.  I am grateful that I heeded the warning.

However, I continued drinking regular soft drinks until 2000.  It finally occurred to me that soft drinks exacerbated the sensation I was trying to alleviate – feeling full and bloated. Again, I am grateful that I tuned into what my body was telling me.

At the time, I was not considering the negative effects of artificial sweeteners and regular sugar on various aspects of my health.  But now I know I averted many detrimental health effects that could have occurred had I continued in the same patterns.  How much happier my gut is and how much better I feel overall!

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A 2014 article published in the prestigious journal Nature revealed how non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) drive obesity – and diabetes-related changes in both mice and humans. 

According to the abstract, “non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are among the most widely used food additives worldwide, regularly consumed by lean and obese individuals alike.”  The study looked at three major artificial sweeteners – saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose.  It showed that consuming these NAS formulations can alter the intestinal microbiota, which in turn induces glucose intolerance. “Collectively, our results link NAS consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.”1

Interestingly, all of these artificial sweeteners were discovered accidentally, and quickly capitalized on to make a profit.

These are chemicals (including poisonous alcohol1, tar, synthetically produced methyl anthranilate, or chlorinated sugar) that our bodies do not know how to handle.  Even if we are not intentionally using them as sweeteners ourselves, they can be found in foods, beverages, toothpastes and medications.

Now you may be asking about Stevia, a plant-based sweetener that is also non-caloric.  Stevia is 30 times sweeter than sucrose (i.e. table sugar).  (Saccharin is 300 times sweeter, aspartame is 180 times sweeter, and sucralose is 600 time sweeter.) 

There are health professionals who advocate that stevia is good and others that advocate that it is detrimental.

According to Chris Kresser, stevia can help with balancing glucose levels. He also says, “stevia appears to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties, but thus far we don’t know whether these properties have practical significance in humans.”3

On the contrary, Dr. Jason Fung, author of the Obesity Code contends that artificial sweeteners, including stevia raise insulin levels higher even than table sugar.  Non-caloric sweeteners may decrease calories and sugar, but not insulin.  Yet it is insulin that drives weight gain and diabetes.4

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But the question remains.  Why do we need all this sweetness?  Regardless of whether it is the sugar sweeteners (refined sugar, agave nectar, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, etc.), the sugar alcohols (e.g., sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates) or the non-caloric sweeteners.  Why do we need these added to all our food products?

Could it be that this excessive sweetness is driving our craving for sweetness?  And this in turn develops habits of eating sweet foods and overeating?

Which in turn leads to inflammation, chronic pain, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, disrupted sleep, low energy, mood swings, anxiety, depression,…

Yes, God gave us a sweet tastebud sense.  But do we really need so much?

Have we not corrupted our senses of bitter, sour, salty and savory by consuming so much sweet?

Yes, we have!  And it is for this very reason that in my sugar detox program RESTART, you eliminate ALL sugars and sweets for three weeks.  This enables your taste buds and sugar handling mechanism to reset.  Afterward, you will not have the same cravings.

I love watching my participants have their senses awaken to the natural sweetness that exists in foods like bell peppers and carrots and granny smith apples over the course of the three weeks they go without sweets.

I am not saying that you should cut out all sweets forever.  But I am urging reducing the sweets and the added sweeteners.  This is my challenge for the week.

And when you have dessert, make your own from scratch.  Be sure it contains good quality fat – whether it be cream on fruit or in ice cream, or butter and eggs in cakes and pies.  Swap whatever sweetener called for in the recipe for mineral-rich, naturally sweet foods, such as raw unfiltered honey, dried fruit, maple syrup, dehydrated sugar cane juice (sold as Rapadura), date sugar, and molasses.

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Do you want to know a secret?  When you eat a nutrient dense diet and increase your quality fat intake (for example, put butter on your vegetables or use lard or tallow for frying), you will be more satiated and not crave the sweets as much.

Do you desire to have the energy to keep up with the lives of your children and grandchildren?  To be involved in their lives, have quality time with them and enjoy them?

Are there ways in which you would like to be more actively serving God?  Or activities you long to be a part of?   Exercise, a hobby, or just spending time with your girlfriends?

But just do not have the energy and gusto to make it happen?

Is it ridiculous to consider that cutting back on sugar and processed food might give you the stamina and drive to make these dreams a reality? Which in turn would bring you great satisfaction? 

If your answer is “no,” and you need help doing so, book your FREE 30-minute Discovery Call now.

Let us see how you can break old habits and start new one!

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Stay tuned for the other food additives.

Peace and grace,


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1 “When aspartame is digested it breaks down into the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid, plus methanol. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a known poison.” Fallon, Sally and Enig, Mary G, PhD, Nourishing Traditions, NewTrends Publishing, 2001, Washington, DC. P. 51

2 Nature. 2014 Sep 17. Epub 2014 Sep 17. PMID: 25231862


4 Fung, Jason, The Obesity Code, Greystone Books Ltd., 2016, P. 172

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Enjoy these favorite dishes. 
Simple, nutrient dense recipes that will leave you feeling well-nourished and deeply satisfied.
Plus monthly REAL food tips & inspiration right to your inbox!
Simply sign up with your name and email address!