Aspartame goes by many names and many have been given to attempt to conceal or ‘dress up’ this harmful artificial sweetener. NutraSweet, Splender, Spoonfull and many other names have been given to aspartame to push it into our homes. The sweetener was actually discovered by accident in 1965 after James Schlatter, a chemist was creating and testing anti-ulcer drugs in his laboratory.

Since that discovery, aspartame has been classified as a dry food and certified for use in carbonated beverages such as diet cola and diet lemonade. Whilst aspartame seems pretty harmless, it’s actually accounted for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA in the United States. Many of these adverse reactions have included headaches, nausea, problems with vision, dizziness, muscle spasms, weight gain, irritability, insomnia, hearing loss, palpitations, anxiety attacked, loss of taste, joint pain, and vertigo to name a few. Many nutritionists and doctors have been advising patients to avoid aspartame like the plague and when you look at this list of reactions it is easy to see why.

The problems arise because the body doesn’t know what to do with aspartame. It has no means to metabolise it (burn it off) and that means the aspartame hangs around the body causing an endless list of problems.

Many people take foods and beverages loaded with aspartame because they are trying to lose weight. Gram for gram, aspartame contains much less calories than sugar and this is what makes it so popular for dieters. However, the trade-off can be high with many people experiencing mild to serious side effects as a result of taking on board too much aspartame. This aspartame is effectively poisoning the body causing high levels of toxins and many different ailments and symptoms.

The problem isn’t likely to go away any time soon. Manufacturers are onto too much of a good thing and because research is not conclusive, aspartame is still legal to use in many diet and sugar-free products. However, knowing the kinds of products that contain aspartame can help you to avoid this dangerous chemical and to live an aspartame-free lifestyle.

Diet Beverages

If you drink a sugar-free or low sugar drink then it will almost certainly contain aspartame. Check the label and you will probably see it listed there in the ingredients. Even though aspartame has been used as a sugar substitute it can still have a damaging effect on your teeth and gums not to mention the other symptoms listed above that it can cause. According to research carried out by the Columbia University, diet soft drinks containing aspartame still contain high levels of tooth-dissolving acid.

Sugar Free Yogurt

Did you know your sugar-free yogurt could be causing you harm? Many of these products contain high levels of aspartame and need to be avoided if you want to avoid this chemical altogether. A much healthier way to eat your yogurt is to mix fresh fruit with natural low-fat yogurt. In many cases you will find that this method contains less calories and tastes much better

Meal Replacements

Those meal replacement shakes and suchlike are loaded with aspartame and you can almost taste the bitterness in every sip. Whilst meal replacements can assist you in losing weight, they should only ever be used in the short-term and ideally they are best avoided totally. A much more sensible way to lose weight is to reduce your calories and increase your activity levels.

Healthy Alternatives to Aspartame

Of course, we all have a sweet tooth now and again so it’s good to know there are many safe alternatives to aspartame. Some of these alternatives include succanat, honey, maple syrup, rice and barley syrups, fructose and the herbal sweeteners Xylitol and Stevia. You can find many of these ingredients in the supermarket or your local health food store and each is completely safe and offers a much more pleasant flavour and experience.

Whilst you might be trying to lose weight, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of putting certain substances in your body. Eating a piece of fruit or yogurt with honey is a much safer approach than loading your body with harmful chemicals.

Further Reading

If you would like to find out more about the dangers of aspartame you can read some interesting studies here. The research is quite damning and certainly puts aspartame in the spotlight as one chemical your body could do without!