Aspartame... Dangers and Side Effects

Amanda Lucero, ARNP-C

 

Today many people are opting to use artificial sweeteners rather than regular table sugar. These artificial sweeteners can be found in anything from diet sodas, low-calorie or zero calorie drinks, yogurts, low-calorie snacks and even protein drinks.  If you look at the ingredients there even artificial sweeteners found in some vitamins.  There are several artificial sweeteners on the market today. One of the most common is aspartame.

The most common reason why people ingest artificial sweeteners is to reduce calories for weight loss. Most people believe that it is better to eat or drink diet products than regular sugary products. The fact is both are harmful to one's health. Both artificial sweeteners and sugar are addicting and influence the way the brain and body function.  There is data to support the fact that artificial sweeteners can actually contribute to weight gain. In some studies people who drink regular soda actually weighed less at the end of the study than those drinking diet sodas.

 

The side effects of aspartame are many. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) they include but are not limited to: memory loss, dizziness, visual impairments, disorientation, ear buzzing, altered liver enzymes, tunnel vision, loss of equilibrium, severe muscle aches, numbness of the extremities, inflammation of the pancreas, episodes of high blood pressure, eye hemorrhages, abdominal cramps, hives, attention deficit disorder and headaches.  According to multiple websites there have been many commercial pilots complaining of aspartame related problems including seizures and loss of consciousness. Ingesting artificial sweeteners can also increase a hormone called insulin. This continuous rise in insulin can lead to insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes.

 

The main reason for writing this short article is the obesity epidemic in the United States both in adults and children. The side effects of aspartame are significant and these products obviously have not combated the obesity problem and can actually be contributing to it all the while causing other problems. If these side effects are significant to the brain and body of an adult what do you think it will do to the brain and body of a growing child? 

 

I would highly recommend that no one ingest artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, and that no one gives these chemicals to children.  One should eat a wholesome diet full of lean protein fruits and vegetables and sugar should be consumed in moderation.   

 

Read labels. Know what you're putting in your body. Be happy and healthy!

 

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