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Is Aspartame Bad For You?

Published 6/10/13

What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is comprised of methanol, phenylalanine and aspartic acid and is used as a calorie free artificial sweetener. Since hitting the market in the early 1980’s, aspartame is most commonly used to sweeten diet sodas. It is also found in popular sweeteners such as Equal, Equal Measure, Spoonful, and NutraTaste. Even though aspartame sounds like a good thing from a surface point of view, it has been the topic of many debates regarding its links to increasing the risks of diabetes, fibromyalgia and some types of cancer.

Cancer

When aspartame breaks down, it releases a substance called Diketopiperazines (DKP). As your stomach attempts to digest this DKP, a chemical byproduct is released that induces the growth of brain tumors.

Diabetics Be Aware

Heavy consumption of aspartame is extremely harmful for diabetics. The aspartame makes it hard for your body to control sugar levels and will agitate diabetes-related conditions such as cataracts, neuropathy, retinopathy, and gastroparesis. If that doesn’t give you enough reason to stay away from aspartame if you have diabetes, you should also be aware that the aspartame sweetener has been known to cause convulsions that can be mistaken as insulin reactions.

Don’t Turn to Diet Sodas for Weight Loss

Even though calorie-free aspartame is found in diet soda and many other diet products, it has actually been found to increase your hunger and in turn impede the weight loss process. Aspartame not only contains phenylalanine and aspartic acid, which can spike insulin levels and force your body to expend glucose from your blood stream and store it as fat, but it also prevents the production of serotonin and prevents your brain from being able to tell your body when you are full. When your body consumes something sweet with true sugar, your brain sends out signals that your body is satisfied. But when the food or beverage you consume does not contain any real sugar or glucose, your body resets itself and once again triggers a feeling of being hungry.

Don’t Let This Scare You Too Much

Everything you’ve read about aspartame has been negative, but don’t get too scared. These claims about aspartame all revolve around HEAVY consumption of the calorie-free sweetener. If you have a diet soda here and there, aspartame will not have any major negative impact on your body. But if you have several diet sodas throughout the day, it is highly recommended that you limit your diet soda intake and try to find another means to satisfy your craving for a sweet beverage. 

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