Weird Reaction To Sugar Substitutes Bubble Up Online

Some folks don’t go near sugar substitutes because they are turned off by the sweet, yet bitter residue many of the products leave as an aftertaste. At the same time, sugar substitutes and the products they are found in are selling like hot cakes in the stores, so they are used by many people every day.

While you don’t usually hear of a reaction from using a sugar substitute, one woman found out the hard way that they don’t always agree with everyone. According to SELF Magazine, one woman wrote how she typically avoids any “light” versions of ice cream because they really tend not to “taste all that great, but once her friends started raving about ice cream made with a sugar substitute, she thought she’d give it a try.

Her friends on Instagram gave Halo Top such great reviews that she gravitated toward the Halo Top brand the next time she had a hankering for ice cream and opted to try the peanut butter cup flavor. She claims the taste didn’t disappoint her, as it was a good as everyone had said it was.

While eating the product, she describes “something weird” happening. After just a couple of bites of the Halo Top, her throat started to hurt and then she broke into an episode of coughing. At first, she dismissed this as possibly coming down with a cold, but it continued after each bite of the product.

Before she put two and two together, the next time she craved some ice cream she opted for the mint chip flavor from Halo Top and the same thing happened. This is when she went online to see if anyone else out there had experienced the same thing. Low and behold a few people on Reddit had the same symptoms after eating Halo Top ice cream and still others have complained about similar symptoms when eating products made with artificial sweeteners.


Some people have also complained about this type of reaction after putting Stevia in their coffee, reported SELF. As far as the reaction goes for the woman who tried the peanut butter cup flavored Halo Top, she’s eaten peanuts and peanut butter all her life and she’s never had a problem. The same goes for dairy products and the chocolate chip mint, so she didn’t think the reaction she had to the Halo Top had to do with the other ingredients.

Livestrong wrote that some people do have a reaction to sugar-free products, such as products containing aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and sugar alcohols. In some cases, there’s not enough documented evidence to say that a side effect does exist, but people have reported reactions none the less.


Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and it doesn’t leave a bitter after taste like its competitors, aspartame and saccharine. According to Livestrong, people have reported allergic rhinitis, digestive problems, and anxiety after eating a product containing this sugar substitute. Allergic rhinitis is the type of reaction you get when you breathe in a pollen you’re allergic to, such as an itchy and runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes, according to Medline Plus.

Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than sugar and was once banned because of concerns that it was a carcinogen, but that was a short-lived ban back in the 1970s, which was lifted when the claims were unfounded. Reactions to saccharin that have been reported include, “skin reactions, numbness, nausea, diarrhea and difficulty breathing among children.” Research suggests that if you are allergic to sulfa drugs, avoiding saccharin is recommended, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.”


Aspartame is 160 to 250 time sweeter than sugar and the FDA has received reports of indigestion and other ill effects since it was first introduced to the market. These symptoms include “headaches, hives, rashes, the appearance of nodules on the skin and sporadic asthma,” according to Livestrong. While individual doctors have confirmed these symptoms, it’s never officially been identified in studies. The research was done by the National Institutes of Health doesn’t flag aspartame as an allergen.

Sugar Alcohols include erythritol, isomalt, lactitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. None are as sweet as sugar and very few reactions to these substances have been reported, according to Livestrong, “intolerance — the inability to comfortably digest and absorb a food — is more common” when it comes to complaints about this product.


An article that was published at the beginning of August from Time Magazine said “Halo Top uses the zero-calorie sweetener Stevia. For added sweetness, it also uses organic cane sugar — which is still sugar— and erythritol, which is a type of sugar alcohol.” This product recently “dethroned” the top-selling Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs and is now the “best-selling pint of ice cream” in the nation.

[Featured Image by Alexander Prokopenko/Shutterstock]