Equal Sweetener: What are the Pros and Cons?

Authored or posted by | Updated on | Published on January 24, 2009
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Equal Artificial Sweetener

Flickr Commons: Image provided by Bukowsky18

Equal, also known as aspartame, NutraSweet and Spoonful, is one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners in the United States. Found in more than 6,000 products nationwide, Equal is now a part of American’s daily lives. Some popular food products that contain this sweetener are soft drinks, cereal, candy, chewing gum, pudding, ice cream, energy drinks, jello, syrup, cookies and even baby food.

The pros and cons of Equal sweetener

Equal is popular for food companies because it is cost efficient and their profit margins are extremely high. This sugar substitute is popular for consumers due to the belief that it has little calories and may be tooth-friendly. Even though it does have pros, the cons far exceed the pros. Certain researchers have concluded that Equal can cause brain damage similar to monosodium glutamate (MSG). They believe Equal is a neurotoxin because their studies showed that it can destroy nerve endings in brain cells.

Equal side effects

Ever since Equal sweetener has been approved, thousands of complaints has been sent to the FDA, but not much has been done about them. A lot of these complaints involve serious side effects, such as headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness, temporary blindness, mood changes and shakes. When your body produces side effects from consuming something, it is your body’s way of telling you to avoid it.

Even though the FDA confirmed that Equal is safe, independent researchers claimed that this sugar substitute is a hazard to health due to the fact that their studies have linked it to cancer, obesity, diabetes, headaches, blindness, brain tumors, seizures, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders.

So, which one should you believe? The FDA or independent researchers? My advise is to trust independent researchers just as much as the FDA or more, because independent researchers are not influenced by money from food and drug companies. The FDA is usually run by leaders who have strong ties with the pharmaceutical industry. In other words, there is a strong conflict of interest.

How Equal destroys brain cells

When Equal (aspartame) is in the body, it releases a byproduct called aspartate, which is a excitatory amino acid. These types of amino acids are considered normal by the body and are allowed to pass the blood-brain barrier. The danger about Equal is that the chemical structure of its amino acid is missing very important molecules. These important molecules are found in natural food for many purposes. One of them is to prevent food from breaking down into toxic chemicals. Equal does not have these molecules; therefore, it is broken down rather quickly, causing a spike in aspartate.

High levels of aspartate can overstimulate and starve brain cells, causing them to die prematurely. In other words, Equal is basically making us dumber and dumber every time we consume it.

Tips for reducing Equal consumption

  • Avoid diet soft drinks and drinks with low calories.
  • Avoid junk food with low calories and sugar free.
  • If the nutrition label of a food product contains aspartame, Equal, NutraSweet or Spoonful, avoid it.
  • Avoid other artificial sweeteners and stop using artificial sweetener to sweeten your coffee and drinks.
  • Eat whole food, such as organic fruits and vegetables instead of processed food.
  • Drink water and natural juice instead of soft drinks.
  • Avoid energy drinks, many of them contain artificial sweeteners.
  • Avoid food that has sugar substitutes.

Recommended natural sweetener

One of the best and healthiest natural sweeteners is stevia (stevia rebaudiana). Stevia is a natural herb that has a very sweet flavor. In its natural state, stevia is about 15 times sweeter than table sugar. However, the extracted form of stevia can be 300 times sweeter than sugar. For best results, consume organic stevia. Visit this online store for some great selections of organic stevia.

The danger of Aspartame, Sucralose (Nutrasweet & Splenda)


  • Blaylock, Russell L. Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Health Press. Santa Fe, NM, 1996.
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Category: Toxins

Comments (19)

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  1. nutra sweet? yea right…Its a money scam to help people kill themselves, and rot their brains. My mom was addicted to diet cokes…she developed dementia at 50 and is totally unable to live alone…she is now 69 and has lost most of her functions mentally. She can barely finish a complete thought…thanks to Monsonto, FDA and good old American Greed over what is right or good. Meanwhile, Insurance pays 1% of her real costs to keep her alive. FDA, and ADA getting lots of money to stay quiet?

    • PL Chang says:

      Yes, I agree that NutraSweet is dangerous. Many of these artificial sweeteners are not tested enough. Also, most of these tests are sponsored by the companies that created artificial sweeteners. The real test subjects are the consumers which is why they are the ones suffering from the effects of artificial sweetener.

  2. josephine says:

    After 8 years of drinking diet coke and using Eqales, I have without any dought made the connection between diet coke, artificial sweeteners and skin rash. I started getting skin rash on my palms them on my body, over time I would stop drinking diet coke and the rash would go then I would start drink diet coke again and the rash would come back. The rash on my palms would get so bad I could not hold my tennis raquet they would be red itchie and scally. Hope this helps someone sooner than 8 years

  3. Confused man! says:


    The above website says artificial sweeteners are not even truly artificial and that they are fine even for pregnant women! So, obviously now I am confused. Who do I believe???

    • PL Chang says:

      It all depends on how you define “artificial.” To me, when it comes to nutrients, any nutrients that have been chemically altered or processed are artificial.

      For example, refined sugar is not all “natural.” The true natural sugar found in organic plant-based food is unprocessed and accompanied by certain natural substances that are needed for our bodies to safely break it down into blood sugar.

      When we eat a fruit, we are not just ingesting sugar and water, but also synergistic components, such as mineral activators, enzymes and co-vitamin helpers, and fiber. These components have specific roles to play for helping our bodies to safely and effectively utilize nutrients.

      Aspartame is an artificial sweetener. It is created in lab. A great portion of aspartame is made with the help of genetically modified bacteria. It is actually the feces of the genetically modified bacteria. Visit the link below for more info.

      Sucralose (Splenda) is also an artificial sweetener. It is created in lab and is a chlorinated compound. Sucralose was accidentally discovered while trying to create a new insecticide. In other words, it is basically an insecticide.

      The only alternative sweetener I would recommend is stevia. However, purchase stevia that is as close to its natural state as possible.

      If you want to learn more about the toxic effects of artificial sweetener, I recommend reading EXCITOTOXINS: The Taste That Kills by Russell Blaylock, M.D. He is one of the top leading neurosurgeon in the world.

      • Traey says:

        May I interject a possible new concern for the artificial sweeteners?

        My son is diabetic. We switched to using Nutrasweet, and later Equal.

        My issue now is both my son and I have difficulty with body healing. Every time we get even a slight scratch, it takes longer to heal, it becomes very abnormally dark scars that do not fade.

        With my son being diabetic, I would have believed his scarring to be relative to his condition but, I am not diabetic, the commonality for the scarring of both of us is the sweeteners.

        I had decided to use sweetener with my son to show support and thought it might help me stay healthy.

        I am very disparaged by this damage to our bodies that has no explainable or medically obvious cause.

        What should I do?

        • Joanne Hudack says:

          I have been using equal sugar for yrs, and Now that I’m older (52) my legs have a rash so I scratch and scratch and now my legs are full of Scars dark scars ,And also my arms starting to do the same I haven’t been to a skin specialist cause I hate going to the doctors, but now that im reading all these testaments I’m worried….

  4. mike the undecided says:

    Not sure what to make of this article. While claims to the alleged dangers of “Equal” may be true, few references are cited. Who are the “independent researchers”? How were the studies conducted? What were the results? Where they peer reviewed and replicated for scientific accuracy? Wikipedia says this: “Aspartame has been found to be safe for human consumption by more than ninety countries worldwide,[13][14] with FDA officials describing aspartame as “one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved” and its safety as “clear cut”.[4] The weight of existing scientific evidence indicates that aspartame is safe as a non-nutritive sweetener.[8]” So what’s the truth? I don’t know so I usually use honey. Incidentally, many people have allergic reactions to stevia due to it being related to ragweed.

    • PL Chang says:

      Read my comment to “Confused Man” above.

      Why would you trust the FDA? It is an agency run by corrupt leaders.

      As described at naturalnews.com

      According to Byron J. Richards, author of “Fight For Your Health: Exposing The FDA’S Betrayal of America,” the FDA is in a position to change the health and wellbeing of all Americans, but are set to steer that change in the wrong direction, “straight over a cliff.”

      The root of this problem, Richards says, is the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry — also known as “Big Pharma” — in the FDA decision-making process.

      “The top two positions at the FDA are now headed by Big Pharma representatives,” Richards says. “The Bush-appointed new FDA leadership is intent on removing any brakes being applied to the drug approval process, quite happy to turn ill Americans into human guinea pigs.”

      The foods and drugs approved by the FDA have killed millions of Americans every decade. Most Americans are not aware of this because the mainstream media refuses to cover them. Trusting the FDA is like trusting a crook with the key to your safe.

      Read EXCITOTOXINS: The Taste That Kills by Russell Blaylock, M.D. and you will know how dangerous aspartame is. His book shows all the evidence needed to prove that aspartame is a hazardous excitotoxin. He is one of the top leading neurosurgeon in the world.

      Want visual evidence that aspartame is dangerous? Watch the short video below.

      Food: The Ultimate Secret Exposed – Part 1/2

    • Jon Bege says:

      No different than when they removed saccharine from diet sodas, etc back in the 80’s because it caused cancer. It was later revealed that the amount of saccharin used in the testing was equivelant to a human ingesting aproximately 100 diet sodas per day for 20+ years. Who does that???

      As with everything, moderation is the key. It doesn’t matter if you are comsuming carbs, fats, or artificial sweetners, if you do so in moderation and in a well balanced way, it should have little or no affect on your overall health.

      As far as I’m concerned, there is a greater risk of harmful side affects from driving in rush hour traffic with my window down for “fresh air”…

      • MahaYoga Dasi says:

        ……I’m just looking for a way to safely sweeten my grandsons baby cereal. 🙁

      • Ricardo Cruz says:

        We think moderation is the key but it is not. It’s like an alcoholic if after they find out they are alcoholics they only start doing it in moderation what will the outcome be? The same thing with consuming chemicals that are in the process of mostly all processed foods including all kinds of sweeteners, it tricks the brain into thinking you need more so then you start consuming other processed foods because the body is asking for it, just like the alcohol. Avoiding the process foods is the key not moderation, stick with natures type of foods not man processed.

  5. David Joògenvïelnelgn says:

    Yes, Equal = Skin rash.

  6. Steve Russell says:

    I have been drinking 8-10 cups of coffee since age 20, I’m 74 now, there have been at least 2 packets of Equal in every single cup since it hit the market, which was 30-40 years ago, yet here I am peckin’ away writing this note without a hint of cancer. That said, I have to believe that operating a motor vehicle in the USA is far more dangerous than consuming 255,500 packets of Equal in a span of 35 years.

  7. skeptic says:

    Why aren’t there any sources? RED FLAG.

    It’s a lot of talk and just talk and not provide any sources to show this to be true, then endorse another brand. RED FLAG.

    Let’s post this article on a .com website instead of a credible one like a .org or .edu (except wikipedia) RED FLAG

  8. Ron Walker says:

    Has anyone died from using these artificial sweeteners ? I have read some of these comments skeptic comment and I agree, a lot of talk not providing any sources to show the true.