Artificial Sweeteners have enjoyed the spotlight in recent times; they’ve gained a great reputation on the back of sugar’s downfall – resulting in many products such as Coke Zero and countless ‘sugar-free’ items being marketed.
However, it’s important to know the risks of consuming artificial sweeteners. Ultimately, these sweeteners have been reported to cause numerous side effects; most commonly headaches and sickness.
For this reason, we’ll take you through the pro’s and con’s of artificial sweeteners, before showing you the best pre workout we’ve found that doesn’t contain them.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners
- Commonly Used Artificial Sweeteners
- Best Alternatives
- Best Pre Workout Without Artificial Sweeteners
The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners
Remember: They’re Chemicals
Many people often look at the ‘zero’ or ‘low-calorie’ advertisement and forget that artificial sweeteners are chemicals. Is it really worth adding synthetic compounds into your body to cut your calories?
After looking at the potential side effects that artificial sweeteners can cause, we believe the answer to this question is ‘no‘.
The demand for 100% natural products has also seen an increase recently; these often come with lower risks of side effects and are equally as effective as synthetic products.
However, those desperate to lose weight continue to use products containing artificial sweeteners. As we’ve mentioned, they’re sold by the low calorie claims and are willing to take the risks of side effects.
Here are the side effects you can suffer from using artificial sweeteners:
Commonly Used Artificial Sweeteners
Up until now, we’ve grouped artificial sweeteners together. But in this section, we’ll give you a quick summary of the different types of these chemicals.
It’s important to know which sugar substitutes can be harmful to your health; so you can see what to look out for on ingredient lists.
Here are the most commonly used artificial sweeteners:
This low-calorie chemical found in numerous products; such as reduced calorie fruit juice, diet soda and sugar-free gum, yoghurt and candy.
Why it’s used
Simply put, aspartame is seen as a great sugar substitute due to being 200 times sweeter than sugar, and only adding 4 calories per gram to your diet.
This means you’ll need less than sugar to sweeten your drink or food, while saving yourself calories in the process.
But is it really as good as it sounds?
Aspartame is only toxic in seriously high dosages (an average person would need to consume 18 cans of soda in 1 day to be killed by this artificial sweetener). So it’s not going to kill you, which is good news.
But don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet – Aspartame has been reported to cause numerous side effects, with the most common being headaches.
Bottom line: Although you’ll save yourself calories with Aspartame, you’ll be at risk from suffering from numerous side effects.
Also known simply as ‘Ace-K’, this chemical is also 200 times sweeter than sugar. It’s was discovered by accident, by a German chemist and has since become a popular sugar substitute in numerous products.
Why it’s used
Acesulfame K has gained popularity for being equally as sweet as aspartame, but completely calorie-free. As a result, it’s often recommended to be used as part of diet programs.
Not only that, Ace-K is believed to be more stable under heat (meaning it’s more suited for baking). But again, this chemical isn’t the perfect solution to the over-use of sugar for numerous reasons.
Although Ace-K has a stable shelf life, it’s shown to degrade into acetoacetamide – which has proven to be toxic in large amounts.
But that’s not the only problem; this chemical has shown to consistently cause side effects such as headaches, nausea and diarrhea.
Bottom line: As Ace-K has shown to cause numerous side effects, it can’t cement it’s status as the best sugar substitute.
– Top 10 Pre-Workouts Here –
This is the sweetest chemical on this list; it’s believed to be between 7,000-13,000 times sweeter than sugar.
Why it’s used
Many often choose neotame, as you don’t need much to ‘sweeten’ a product. Not only that, it’s considered to be a great sugar substitute due to being zero-calorie and is cheaper than corn syrup.
Not only that, it’s one of the few chemicals on this list believed to be safe for those suffering from phenylketonuria.
Neotame sounds beneficial so far, right? Well, this E number has been reported as being the most toxic chemical on this list.
Companies and suppliers have attempted to ignore this fact, by stating you need less of neotame to ‘sweeten’ a product. But it’s never a good idea to consume something knowing that it’s potentially toxic…
Not only that, you should know that neotame is added to cattle feed in order to fatten them up; studies proved that cattle fed more regularly when neotame was added (meaning you might actually increase your calorie intake while using this chemical, which could result in increased body fat levels).
Bottom line: Although you’ll need to consume large amounts of neotame for it to be toxic, is it really worth taking the risk?
This is probably the most popular sugar substitute on this list – especially when it comes to pre workout supplements.
Why it’s used
Sucralose is believed to be 650 times sweeter than sugar, and is commonly seen in cafe’s as the main alternative to sugar.
It’s considered a ‘zero-calorie’ chemical, as most of it isn’t absorbed by your body and excreted after consumption.
However, one concern is that sucralose might accumulate in your body after consistent use (as 8-20% enters your blood).
Not only that, sucralose has been commonly been reported to cause side effects; specifically migraines.
Bottom line: You might want to reconsider grabbing sucralose in coffee shops, especially if you don’t want to suffer from migraines.
This chemical was first produced in 1879 making it one of the oldest sugar substitutes. But it’s since received some negative attention (we’ll expand on this below).
Why it’s used
Saccharin is calorie-free and is believed to be around 300-400 times sweeter than sugar.
For this reason, it’s one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners used in numerous products; such as diet soda, low calorie fruit juices, sugar-free chewing gum, mouthwash and toothpaste.
In 1977, a study determined that saccharin caused bladder cancer in rats; as a result, it was banned in Canada until 2014.
Although it’s recently been proven to not cause cancer, it’s been reported to cause numerous side effects including headache and diarrhea.
Bottom line: Ultimately, studies found some negatives things about saccharin to suggest it caused cancer. Even though this hasn’t proven to be the case, we’re still not convinced it’s the best sugar substitute available.
It probably sounds like we hate artificial sweeteners in this article, but now we’ll show you what we think is the best sugar substitute.
We mentioned at the start that 100% natural products have gained recognition recently. As a result, many have started choosing them, with natural items usually being of higher quality – well, this is no different in the food and supplements industry.
Here’s what we believe is the best alternative to sugar (and artificial sweeteners):
Monk Fruit Extract
Also known as ‘lo han guo’ and ‘siraitia grosvenorii’, this is a fruit native to Asia (specifically, southern China and northern Thailand).
It gained its name as it was first recorded by Chinese monks in the 13th century. Since then, monk fruit extract has gained attention as a great alternative to sugar.
Why its used
The sweetness of this fruit is a result of monk fruit containing a group of triterpene glycosides (which can be extracted in a powder). Simply put, this is exactly how monk fruit is optimized as a sugar alternative.
If you still think artificial sweeteners are the only ‘zero-calorie’ option, then you’re wrong; monk fruit extract is also free from calories, meaning it’s a perfect sugar replacement in your diet.
No side effects
We’ll admit that artificial sweeteners can be attractive due to being ‘zero-calorie’. But they’ve all been reported to cause numerous side effects (especially migraines and diarrhea).
This is where monk fruit extract shines; as it’s 100% natural, it hasn’t shown to cause any negative side effects – which is why it’s never been banned in any countries either.
What about Stevia?
You’re probably reading this section, expecting stevia to have been one of our recommendations. However, this ‘plant-based’ sweetener is made through a chemical process; simply put, a chemical procedure is necessary to extract the purified extracts from the stevia leaf.
You’re probably surprised to hear that stevia isn’t as natural as it’s advertised. Well, unfortunately, our role as bearers of bad news isn’t over yet.
Stevia has been reported to cause numerous side effects; such as headache, nausea, bloating and other problems for the digestive system.
Bottom line: Stevia is made through a chemical process and can cause many side effects (meaning it’s not a good alternative to sugar).
Best Pre-Workout Without Artificial Sweeteners
We mentioned that monk fruit extract was the best sugar substitute. Well, when it comes to gym supplements, the product that sweeteners are most commonly used in are pre-workout supplements.
For this reason, we searched for pre-workouts without artificial sweeteners (or stevia) – hopeful of finding one with 100% natural ingredients inside.
Ultimately, this is when we noticed the lack of these products on the market – almost every pre-workout contained stevia, sucralose or aspartme!
However, eventually we did find a couple, most noticeably – 4 Gauge by Roar Ambition.
This is the only pre-workout we’ve found that doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners or stevia. For this reason, we didn’t have many options when choosing 4 gauge – but we’re glad we did
Here at SpotMeBro, we always like giving a personal review of our favorite supplements. So we’ll give you a short analysis of this pre-workout below.
Our Favorite Benefits
- Clean energy boosts – never feel too tired and feel more motivated to make gains, without the jitters, crashes or itchy skin.
- Faster muscle gains and fat loss – raise the intensity of your workouts and make changes to your body, quicker than before.
- Blast through your personal records – break through a plateau or experience that ‘kick’ you need to smash heavy ass weights!
- Lift bigger weights, train for longer – enhanced strength & stamina to power you towards your fitness goals.
- No artificial sweeteners or colors (only one on the market)
- Contains the best sugar substitute – Monk Fruit Extract
- One of the best tasting pre-workouts we’ve tried!
- No jittery feelings, crashes or itchy skin
- You can only buy from its website: www.4Gauge.com
- Premium price – better products are almost always more expensive
- Only 1 flavor available- Fruit Blast
We ordered 4 Gauge straight from its website after reading great reviews; it arrived in less than a week, so no problems with the customer service, which we’re always relieved to see.
After a few sets with 4 Gauge, we could feel the blood rushing to our biceps. The pump was insane; looking bigger and more vascular always boosts your self confidence and motivation.
But after suffering jitters and itchy skin with other pre-workouts – our favorite advantage was the clean energy boosts that didn’t make us feel sh*t halfway through the session!
Although we saw the premium price of 4 Gauge ($45 per bottle), we realized that its all-natural ingredient list would cost more than most pre-workouts on the market to produce. And we decided it was worth paying more for a product that actually works, than a cheaper supplement that caused side effects…
Ultimately, we were glad it tasted great for a pre-workout, and it’s the best product we’ve tried this year.
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Read Our Full
– 4 Gauge Review Here –
After researching the negative side effects that artificial sweeteners can cause, we had to write an article about it. In fact, at one point, we thought these chemicals could be a great replacement for sugar too – so we’re glad we found out the truth.
Once you know that artificial sweeteners are potentially harmful, it’s easy to see why you’d want to look for supplements containing only 100% natural ingredients. Well, we hope that you’ve you’ve found what you were looking for in this article.