Drinking diet sodas that were sweetened with aspartame took the guilt out of it, and it tasted quite similar to the unhealthy version. But at what cost?
Lately, the sales of diet soda have dropped drastically- in particular, Diet Coke made by Coca-Cola- as the arguments and the controversy over the safety of aspartame reaches new heights.
Experts have begun to question as to whether or not aspartame is really a good alternative to sugar, with many of them now warning people against the possible harmful effects it could cause.
The safety of aspartame is in question, with studies connecting the artificial sweetener to vision problems and headaches, which are both among the ten reasons to avoid aspartame consumption at all costs...
1. Eye Problems
According to several controlled studies, there have been quite a few cases of eye pain, blurred vision, and dry eyes that have reportedly been linked to the consumption of aspartame.
As a matter of fact, even the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has discovered a connection between aspartame ingestion and eye problems which include decreased vision.
Aspartame is comprised of phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. It's been claimed that methanol is potentially toxic to your retina and optic nerve, and it can cause several forms of eye problems.
There is also cause for concern when it comes to foods and drinks that contain aspartame, which have been stored for extended periods of time or been exposed to heat, as the breakdown of the ingredients in aspartame might become toxic to your eyes.
2. Headaches and Migraines
The majority of people who suffer with headaches and migraines have certain triggers, and many of these triggers are found in their diet. And just as chocolate, red wine, cheese and other common foods and drinks can trigger a headache, the Mayo Clinic identifies aspartame as another possible trigger for migraines.
Comparable to caffeine and alcohol, it may not take a lot of aspartame to bring on regular headaches or migraines, and many doctors have begun recommending that you cut diet foods and drinks out of your diet because of this reason.
If you suffer with any type of headaches, avoiding aspartame might help. For example, products that bring on low blood sugar episodes right after they've been consumed (i.e., diet soda) have been associated with migraines and also frequently contain the artificial sweetener.
3. Diabetic Problems
Even though artificial sweeteners are a conventional substitute for people with diabetes, there's enough controversy surrounding aspartame that it might not be a good idea to ingest it if you're diabetic.
Some studies even suggest that aspartame could decrease insulin sensitivity. And a study conducted by the American Diabetes Association raises concerns that diabetics who eat meals that contain aspartame right before they exercise could see a drop in their glucose levels.
According to research conducted by the American Diabetes Association, artificial sweeteners do have an influence on the body's responses to sugar (glucose).
What this means is that a diet that's high in artificial sweeteners can have an effect on a person's risk for diabetes, even if the product doesn't contain any calories from sugar.
Because of studies such as this one, many diabetes specialists consider aspartame an unsafe alternative to sugar, and recommend that people with diabetes avoid it.
4. Weight Loss Prevention
When you're doing your best to lose weight, it's not uncommon to search for foods that are low in carbohydrates and sugar, and there are lots of options to choose from. However, items low in sugar are usually sweetened with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, which don't necessarily help you to lose weight.
As a matter of fact, processed diet foods might just prevent weight loss- it's thought that your body actually expects the carbs based on how the food tastes. When it doesn't get those carbs, this causes hunger pangs and binge eating.
Rather than filling the sugar gap with diet items, eat fresh foods and drink water flavored with lemon, lime or cucumbers. This gives you the carbonation you crave minus the sugar.
5. Intensifies Mood Disorders
Studies show that aspartame has harmful side effects on people suffering with depression. Aspartame actually enhances mood disorders, and one study in particular was even halted prematurely because the effects were so grave.
If you suffer from or have a history of depression, you should make your doctor aware of your diet, along with any diet foods containing aspartame.
The upside is, there's been no connection found where aspartame actually caused depression, however if you have a history of depression, you should choose another type of artificial sweetener or perhaps not use them at all.
For example, several studies published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health indicate that aspartame effects neurobehavioral.
One NIH study found that a group of healthy adults who ingested a diet high in aspartame for eight days in a row suffered from an increase in irritable moods and higher rates of depression when compared to those who ingested a low-aspartame diet.
6. Joint Pain and Inflammation
Several reports of joint pain and inflammation have been described after the consumption of aspartame.
It's thought that lots of people are actually allergic to it- your body does its best to protect itself from the chemical compounds present in the sweetener, which then result in an allergic reaction. Your soft tissues could become inflamed, which in turn causes pain and discomfort.
A simple allergen test can be conducted to find out whether or not you're allergic to aspartame. The only way to treat it is to eliminate it all together from your diet. If you're susceptible to joint pain and inflammation, don't ingest aspartame.
According to research collected from Arizona State University, 551 patients who ingested moderate to large amounts of aspartame experienced regular joint pain that was so bad they needed painkillers.
7. Stomach Cramps
In the early 1980's, when aspartame first appeared on the market, the FDA got lots of complaints about side effects and reactions to it. One common complaint, particularly in the first year after the diet products hit the shelves, was stomach cramps.
Now, many people suffering with abdominal pain and stomach cramps say that once they stop using artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, their symptoms go away. And from the looks of it, there aren't any long lasting effects once the change in diet is in place.
Research gathered by the University of Iowa found that diets high in aspartame had a biphasic effect on appetite, which means that high levels of aspartame caused a short term drop in hunger which was followed by a sharp rise in hunger which increased as the concentration of the sweetener increased. Researchers labeled this 'sweetness' increased hunger.
8. Increased Risk of Seizures
According to LiveStrong.com, the number one food item that the FDA receives complaints about is aspartame. It's thought that as much as 30 percent of people have a sensitivity to aspartame.
Amazingly, there have been over a thousand cases of complaints from pilots about aspartame, with seizures topping that list of complaints.
It's quite possible that the methanol present in aspartame and found in diet soda causes a worse toxic reaction when ingested at high altitudes, like when you're on a plane.
Another theory is that pilots consume more diet sodas during their flights, which increases the possible side effects such as seizures.
9. Hearing Problems
The FDA has compiled a list of about 90 symptoms that have been documented which are related to aspartame consumption. A few of those symptoms include hearing loss, ringing of the ears and buzzing of the ears, as well as intolerance to noises.
Tinnitus is a debilitating ringing of the ears and it's also been an issue that's commonly reported by people who consume diet soda. The hearing loss related to tinnitus can be permanent.
Several scientific studies, which include studies done by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), report that aspartame adversely impacts vestibular and cochlear functioning, which can start with tinnitus (a chronic ringing of the ears) and over time develops into high frequency hearing loss.
The good news is that it appears as though most of the other hearing issues related to the consumption of aspartame can be fixed simply by avoiding it.
10. Controversial Studies Concerning Cancer
Supposedly, aspartame has been linked to certain forms of cancer. Even though it's been approved for use by the FDA and because its use in food is controlled, concerns continue to grow about how your body absorbs aspartame.
Different from other popular artificial sweeteners in that, with aspartame your body metabolizes it when ingested, changing its compounds.
And even though government agencies insist that their studies don't show a link between aspartame consumption and cancer, it's maintained that non-government funded studies do show a connection, especially with brain tumors.
Although 2 studies that were published by a group of Italian researchers (and cited by the American Cancer Association) connect high levels of aspartame consumption to an increased risk of certain blood-related cancers (i.e., lymphomas and leukemias) in rats, the FDA maintains that important data is missing.
So, the bottom line is, if you're using ASPARTAME (Nutra-Sweet, Equal, Spoonful, Etc.) or products that contain aspartame and you suffer with fibromyalgia symptoms, muscle spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, or joint pain. Or you experience unexplainable depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss you could very well have ASPARTAME poisoning!
Now, the question is, if you have any of these symptoms, can they be reversed. The answer... YES! YES! YES!
All you have to do is stop drinking those diet sodas and watch for aspartame on food labels.
That's an easy enough fix! What do you think about aspartame and the products that contain it?
Do you believe that aspartame consumption is related to all of these symptoms?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and please make sure to 'SHARE' this thought-provoking information with family and friends on Facebook!