Artificial Sweeteners and Their Impact on Kidney Damage

Artificial Sweeteners and Their Impact on Kidney Damage

Artificial Sweeteners and Their Impact on Kidney Damage

A recent study found that artificial sweeteners may be linked to reduced kidney function and potentially even kidney disease. These sweeteners have been considered safe for more than five decades, but emerging evidence suggests that we should consider alternatives to the classic artificial sweeteners that are found in many products that are on the market today.

What are Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are a type of sugar substitute that was designed to provide a way for people to sweeten foods and drinks without causing their blood glucose levels to increase. These sweeteners have become very popular, especially among people with diabetes.

Apart from affecting blood glucose, companies are turning to artificial sweeteners because they help to reduce the calorie content in foods and drinks. This has made these sugar substitutes a popular choice not only for those with diabetes but also for people who are trying to watch their calorie intake and lose weight.

Artificial sweeteners were first introduced in the 1950s. The popularity of these sugar substitutes, however, really began taking off by the year 2000. In fact, between the years 1999 and 2000, there was a 54% increase in the usage of artificial sweeteners.

Can I Use Artificial Sweeteners If I Have Diabetes?

The short answer is yes. Artificial sweeteners are often considered an ideal choice for people who have diabetes.

This disease affects how your body uses sugar. In some cases, the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin. There are also cases where cells in the body become resistant to insulin, making it harder for this hormone to make sugar enter cells, which is then used as a source of energy.

Eating too much sugar as a diabetic can be very dangerous. It causes the body’s blood sugar levels to rise and this can result in long-term complications.

By turning to artificial sweeteners, you’re able to add a sweet taste to drinks and foods but without risking your blood glucose levels rising.

The most popular artificial sweeteners that diabetics usually turn to include saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium.

While these do help to reduce the sugar content of foods and drinks, studies are now starting to suggest that artificial sweeteners may be linked to kidney damage, especially with long-term usage.

The thing to keep in mind here is the fact that diabetes can already have a big impact on your kidneys. This is due to the damage that high blood glucose levels cause to blood vessels.

Options For Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

As more evidence emerges surrounding the use of artificial sweeteners and their link to chronic kidney disease, it’s important to consider what alternatives are available.

Luckily, there are still options that offer a sugar substitute without the calories and without causing damage to the kidneys.

Stevia is one particular alternative to artificial sweeteners that have been gaining more recognition. It’s a natural, plant-derived sugar substitute that has a similar taste to real sugar.

In fact, stevia may actually be good for your kidneys. In one study, researchers wanted to see how stevia would affect the function of kidneys in patients who had already been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

The researchers found that a daily 250mg dose of stevia provided improvements in the following metrics:

  • Serum creatine
  • Serum uric acid
  • Fasting blood sugar
  • Postprandial blood sugar
  • Microalbumin

It became clear that stevia is a good natural substance for people who have kidney disease. Since stevia doesn’t seem to cause blood sugar levels to increase, it also means this natural plant extract can be a good alternative to artificial sweeteners for people who have diabetes. There is some evidence that suggests stevia may rather help to improve blood glucose regulation.


While artificial sweeteners have been deemed safe by the FDA, studies now suggest that they may lead to long-term complications, including kidney damage. Fortunately, there are alternatives for people with diabetes, such as stevia, which may actually offer several health benefits in addition to providing a sweet taste.