Artificial Sweetener Side Effects and Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/13/23 •  8 min read

What are artificial sweetener side effects and benefits? Are artificial sweeteners vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are artificial sweetener pros and cons: all the info on artificial sweeteners that every ethical consumer wants to know…

artificial sweeteners side effects and benefits

Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on artificial sweetener benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about artificial sweetener benefits and side effects. This will include artificial sweetener benefits for your health and potential risks, artificial sweetener water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if artificial sweeteners are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if artificial sweeteners are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about artificial sweetener benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Artificial Sweetener Benefits And Side Effects


Energy: artificial sweetener side effects may include depression, disrupted sleep, headaches, increased appetite, poor blood sugar control

Longevity: artificial sweetener side effects may include developing diabetes, metabolic syndrome, possibly cause cancer, weakened immune system

Appearance: artificial sweetener benefits include decrease the likelihood of tooth decay (when compared to real sugar) | artificial sweetener side effects may include obesity, weight gain

Artificial sweeteners are…


Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: low, 0.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sugar and sweeteners, a car driving equivalent of .25 miles or .5 kilometers, UK market data, artificial sweeteners have a relatively low carbon footprint

Destruction: unknown

Artificial sweeteners may be…


Kills: none, artificial sweeteners do not require any animals to die

Harms: none, artificial sweeteners do not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: many artificial sweeteners involve lab animal testing

Artificial sweeteners are typically…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborer exploitation is common, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Artificial sweeteners are…

Are artificial sweeteners alkaline or acidic?

Are artificial sweeteners alkaline or acidic?

Artificial sweeteners are acidic.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

Are artificial sweeteners gluten free?

Are artificial sweeteners gluten free?

Yes, artificial sweeteners are gluten free. Artificial sweeteners do not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

Are artificial sweeteners a common food allergen?

Are artificial sweeteners a common food allergen?

No, artificial sweeteners are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to artificial sweeteners but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

Are artificial sweeteners low FODMAP?

Are artificial sweeteners low FODMAP?

Yes, artificial sweeteners are low-fodmap and fit into a low fodmap diet unless it ends in -ol, in which case the artificial sweetener is high fodmap.

A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.

See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Food

Are artificial sweeteners vegan?

Are artificial sweeteners vegan?

Yes, artificial sweeteners are vegan. Artificial sweeteners may come from plant extracts or processed by chemical synthesis and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, many artificial sweeteners involve animal testing.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

Are artificial sweeteners sustainable?

Are artificial sweeteners sustainable?

No, artificial sweetener production is relatively unsustainable due to sweetener residue pollution which negatively impacts the ecosystem, particularly aquatic life (first algae, then water fleas then larger sea animals).

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’ 

Do artificial sweeteners have human rights issues?

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

At this time there are no major concerns with artificial sweeteners production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade

This post was all about artificial sweetener benefits and side effects.


Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer – National Cancer Institute

High-Intensity Sweeteners | FDA – US Food and Drug

Artificial sweeteners as a sugar substitute: Are they really safe?

Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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