Aspartame is a sweetener, often believed to be healthier than refined sugar. It’s more commonly called by its brand names, such as Canderel, NutraSweet, and even AminoSweet. These brands promote it as a great alternative to adding sugar to your tea, coffee and even baking because it doesn’t have the extra calories.
In fact, many diet sodas will include aspartame. It’s different to avoid it in some cases, and you will need to be active about it.
But just why do you need to avoid the ingredient actively. If it has no calories, surely it must be better than sugary foods. Surely it helps to avoid weight gain, which means you have a healthier lifestyle because you don’t have all the side effects of that.
Even the FDA recommends it in the United States. This is the body that determines whether something is good or bad for a person. It is easy to understand how we’ve all come to the conclusion that it’s good for us. What we don’t realize is that it’s one of the most complained about ingredients. In fact, it’s so bad that when all the other food additive complaints are combined, aspartame is more than all of them on its own! Yes, it really is that bad.
Just how bad for you is it and what does it do? Well, here’s a look at the terrifying effects that aspartame has on the body. Here is your look at why and how you should avoid it on a daily basis.
Not Everyone Reports Their Complaints
I want to cover the fact that the reactions to aspartame may be higher. The FDA admits that not everyone who suffers health problems from aspartame—or any ingredient—will report it to them. Around 1% both, and that 1% has led to 10,000 reports against the additive on its own.
And this only looks into the FDA and the United States. When we consider the world as a whole, the complaints are much higher. The problems on are a wide scale and need to be taken seriously.
Why isn’t anyone doing anything? Well, officials may need more reports. They need to know exactly how people suffer and make sure that it is definitely due to the aspartame. It also doesn’t help that we don’t know exactly that it is the aspartame that has caused the illnesses. Many of the symptoms mimic so many other health problems. Doctors are misdiagnosing because they just don’t have all the information or know what to look out for.
Research is showing that aspartame is causing some major problems and does have long term health effects. Because of it, more people are being made aware of the issues. In the end, it’s up to us to protect our own bodies and not the government. It’s up to use to take active steps to completely avoid it, rather than hope that businesses and governments will do it for us.
This is why we need to know about the health risks of having aspartame on a regular basis and how to completely avoid it.
Aspartame and Mimicked Health Conditions
I’ve mentioned that aspartame symptoms mimic many other health conditions. Just what are they that you should look out for?
Multiple sclerosis is one of the most commonly mimicked conditions. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even lupus are all mimicked. Doctors have misdiagnosed people with lymphoma, Lyme disease, and even fibromyalgia. With many of these conditions, it’s so important to get the treatment right away, so doctors tend to act on what they know.
There is some research out there that the use of aspartame could be linked to some neurological pains and effects, including headaches and depression. Anxiety and other mental illnesses have been linked to the use of the sweetener. Many of these have been linked to so many other conditions, though. How do you know why your headache, depression, anxiety, etc. are problems? How can your doctor work out the exact reason when many of them won’t even know the exact ingredients in your food and drink?
Aspartame isn’t just in soft drinks, either. It’s used in chewing gum, desserts, and even supplements! Your doctor wouldn’t necessarily know that you’re using the sweetener, so ends up diagnosing you with another health condition instead.
And then there are the problems with the sweetener leading to these other health conditions. They can speed up the process of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In some cases, the conditions can be triggered!
So, what are all the scary health problems linked to the use of aspartame?
Damaging Effect on the Brain
The jury is still out on the full problems, but there are links to damages to your brain. Scientists have noted that infants rats suffer severe brain development problems when they have high levels of one ingredient in aspartame: phenylalanine.
This isn’t even just one ingredient, but the main ingredient in the sweetener. In fact, it makes up 50% of aspartame. There are some good things about it because the amino acid is in our brains. However, the brain produces it in safe amounts. By adding more to our bodies, there is the risk of getting too much.
Pregnant women are advised to talk to their doctor if they have extra levels of phenylalanine, because of the risk of the baby’s brain development. Breastfeeding women should also talk to their doctor, since the amino acid can be passed through the milk supply. This means using aspartame on a regular basis or discuss the level of use with your doctor.
And if that isn’t scary enough for you, the aspartic acid within the ingredient affects the brains of adults. It can cause severe side effects and chronic neurological disorders.
Like the phenylalanine, this is naturally made within the brain but only within safe levels. When you end up taking too much in, your cells become extremely overactive, and they die. You are left with damaged and dead cells that can redevelop or grow back in abnormal ways.
What does this mean? Your brain is opened to the side effects of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and even cancer. Even all the antioxidants that you intake on a daily basis aren’t enough to help counter all the effects of the aspartic acid.
Aspartame = the Cancer Causing Sweetener
The aspartic acid doesn’t just cause the cells to die. The excitotoxins breakdown into toxins methanol and formaldehyde, and you know that both of these are extremely danger to take into your body on a daily basis. It’s not surprising when you find out about this that aspartame is a major reason people get cancer.
This statement isn’t just to scare you into stop using the sweetener. It were truth and was shown by Victoria Inness-Brown, who conducted her own private study on rats. They were given the equivalent of an 8-oz diet soda amount of aspartame for almost three years. In the end,37% of the female rats had tumors of various sizes.
Menthol has also been linked to poisoning cases. It’s used in antifreeze, which has been used by people to poison others. Why are we willingly putting it into our bodies?
It’s the Reason We’re Gaining Weight
I know what you’re thinking right now. This is an ingredient used in diet sodas. How could it possibly be the reason for us gaining weight? It’s supposed to help us lose weight, right? It’s got fewer calories than sugar!
Well, yes, aspartame is promoted as a sweetener to help with weight loss, but research shows that it does the opposite. It’s the reason many people are gaining weight. This is especially the case if you drink it instead of consuming water and other healthier alternatives.
There are a few reasons for this to happen, and one of those is our belief that we need to have more sugar in our lives. Aspartame—and in fact, any artificial sweetener—has been linked to sugar cravings. We start to think that we need more sweet things to get us through the day. We want to have food because it’s sweet—and of course, we think it’s fine to have because there aren’t as many calories.
Sweet food is more a modern thing, as the cavemen focused on a raw food diet and got sweet stuff from the trees and plants. There’s no need for anything artificially sweet, and we can opt for natural (and healthier) sugars through the use of fruits.
On top of all this, we end up consuming far more calories than we should. The diet sodas may not have many, but we tend to consume them in larger amounts. We also ready for the sweeter foods like chocolates, sweets, and cookies. Our calorie consumption soon goes up, and we end up gaining weight through that.
If we avoid the aspartame—and many other artificial sweeteners—we can avoid this sugar dependency and cut the cravings. This is great for our waistlines while offering us many other health benefits.
We Don’t Become Diabetics
That sugar dependency doesn’t just lead to weight gain. We end up running the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Our bodies just aren’t designed to handle the amount of sugar that we have on a regular basis.
Not just that, but the use of artificial sweeteners has led to blood sugar levels being higher. There’s no need to eat more sugar to calm your sugar cravings to run the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
So researchers don’t exactly say that the aspartame is the problem, but it is certainly strongly linked to the problem. Really, when you consider all the other problems, it’s better just to avoid it completely.
You Can Become Addicted
Have you ever felt that need to consume more diet pop? You start getting intense headaches when you don’t get your fill and feel the shakes and other withdrawal symptoms. Many people joke that they have an addiction, but this is actually true.
Like sugar, aspartame, and other artificial sweeteners are addictive. The pleasure receptors in your brain are ignited when you drink more diet pop, chew gun, or consume anything with aspartame in it. As you like the feeling of the pleasure receptors igniting, you start taking more in, and it starts to become a need.
It’s just like any drug, really. Think about how people become addicted and reliant on drugs and alcohol. This is the exact same thing with aspartame. The difference is people have a joke or consider it funny when they say they are addicted. They don’t realize they’re suffering from a real condition.
If you’re already at this point, before you can even think about avoiding aspartame, you need to admit to yourself that you have an addiction: a problem. If you don’t admit it, you won’t realize just how serious the problem has become. You’ll also find it harder to cut out the artificial sweetener completely.
Addictions to aspartame are much more serious than addictions to sugar. And they are much more common. The aspartame not having calories is a bad thing. The calories will usually counteract the pleasure receptors, so you don’t feel as happy as you would with something without calories. You’re more likely to take in far more, and it is far more addictive at the same time. You end up in a lose-lose situation.
But the Studies Show It’s Safe!
Have you noticed that some studies show that aspartame is 100% safe? Sure, there are plenty that shows this. So then how do we end up with studies that show that it definitely isn’t safe?
It’s worth looking at the funding for the studies. Those that show there are no problems have been funding by the aspartame and artificial sweetener industry. Meanwhile, those that are funded by independent or other sources tend to show that there are dangers.
When you look at this, it tends to make sense. Why would anyone within the business want to share that their product is dangerous? Why would they want the studies to come out with the full truth? There is a bias, which is why you need to look at the studies that have been done privately or independently; those that you know you can trust the information the best.
This isn’t just a problem with aspartame. It’s a problem with research studies in general. There are even times that researchers can fabricate results just to get to a particular answer that the person funding wants.
But doesn’t that mean you can’t trust the independently funded studies? What if they have a hidden agenda to find the problems? Well, that could certainly be the case. This is where your own feelings, experiences, and thoughts will need to come in. The problem is that the problems are long-term issues, so do you really want to risk them just for the sake of not experiencing anything right now?
So Just What Can You Do to Avoid the Aspartame Problem?
Honestly, the best thing to do is to avoid the sweetener altogether. In fact, try to avoid as many artificial sweeteners as possible. They all tend to be as bad as each other for various things.
The good news is that other artificial sweeteners don’t show as dangerous effects as aspartame. You could switch to them if you want, but you will still need to deal with the addiction to the sweeteners.
Many companies are making this easy for you. While Pepsi isn’t admitting that there is a health problem with aspartame, it has stated that the American recipe for the diet versions of the soda will not include aspartame. Instead, it is switching to sucralose. So far, studies have been positive about this sweetener when it comes to many health problems. The company states that this is due to customers being worried more than due to the potential health risks. It is possible that you could help get your favourite brand of soda to switch the use of aspartame for sucralose in the diet versions.
There is also the look at getting away from artificial sweeteners altogether. Brands are considering natural flavour enhancers or natural sweeteners such as Stevia.
The natural sweetener Stevia is highly recommended for those that still want a sweet taste without the calories but none of the health risks at the same time. Since it’s natural, there are no harmful toxins include in the ingredients and the chemicals and amino acids don’t break down into harmful toxins at the same time. Your brain is protected from so many of the side effects of many other artificial sweeteners.
However, if you do have diabetes or you’re at a risk of developing it, you should avoid all types of sweeteners. This includes the natural options. There are still addiction problems, and they will lead to the blood sugar levels increasing. If you want something sweet, stick to naturally sweet fruit in moderation.
What About Switching to Natural Sweet Products?
You may think that fruit juices or honey are great options for your sweet craving. These aren’t as good as they sound, but they don’t lead to all the health problems of aspartame.
It’s a balancing act. There’s no point saying don’t eat anything sweet. It’s all about getting things in moderation.
Honey is a great natural sweetener, but it has a large amount of fructose. Anything that ends in “ose” is sugar, so you get a large amount of sugar in your honey. However, there are so many other health benefits that you need to consider.
Not only does honey have plenty of vitamin C, but it is also full of antioxidants. All of these together will help to boost the immune system and protect your body from the likes of cancer and dementia by fighting the free radicals.
You only want up to 25g of anything with fructose in a day. Try adding it to your porridge on a morning to start your day with something sweet and limiting it for the rest of the day.
Could You Cut Out Sugar and Sweeteners Altogether?
What about the option of getting rid of anything sweet from your day? Well, getting rid of the artificial sweeteners and refined sugars? Could you do something like this for the good of your health?
This is a difficult ask for anyone. You don’t need to do it, but you could actually help to reduce your cravings and improve your life. The question is whether you really want to forgo everything. That is something only you can decide for yourself.
When it comes to drinking soft drinks, you could certainly avoid all that. It’s even worth avoiding store-bought fruit juices and natural sweeteners for drinks. Instead, opt for plain water to hydrate yourself throughout the day. If you don’t like the bland taste of water, you can also add some fresh fruit to it. This will give it a natural taste that is full of health benefits for you.
Lemon water is one of the most powerful additions to a morning routine. Just a few slices of lemon to your glass of water will help to cleanse your system and kick start it for a day of hard work. You can also drink it throughout the day, as the water becomes more alkaline to help ease digestive problems and avoid tooth decay.
What Are You Going to Do?
Now it’s up to you. Aspartame is full of hidden dangers to the health. It’s been linked to headaches, chronic pain and various long-term, debilitating health conditions. The problem is that it’s found in so many foods and drinks available for everyday consumption.
It’s time to get rid of it and make some changes for the sake of your health. Reduce the risks and start focusing on other artificial sweeteners and natural alternatives. There are plenty out there, as long as you’re willing to take a stand for the rights of your health.