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Dear Aspartame - We Are No Longer Friends

By Edited Jul 12, 2015 5 14
Side Affects of Aspartame
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kennyvaughan/

Artificial sweeteners have been in my life ever since I can remember. My grandma, a type two diabetic, had a bountiful selection of sweets and treats at her house, including sodas, all which were filled with sugar free substitutes like aspartame. They were thought of as the healthy alternative to sugary foods, but today are thought of as much worse than the original culprit. I'm not one to demonize particular foods, since I'm a big believer in moderation, but the side affects I began to experience was enough to convince me I needed to give up aspartame once and for all. 

For my new years resolution, I vowed to give up artificial sweeteners.  Long story short, that plan fell through right away.  However, after reading Skinny Bitch I decided it was time to part with aspartame in particular.  If you haven’t read this book yet, you should.  My boyfriend is reading Skinny Bastard, their book geared towards men, which he says is both hilarious and informative, just like the original.

Just in case the information in this book doesn’t convince you 100%….

Brief History of Aspartame

  • Made in 1965, but not approved till 1980. Hmm… I'm not familiar with approval processes such as these, but that seems slightly suspicious. 
  • Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” by James and Phyllis Balch, lists aspartame under the category of “chemical poison.” (Mercola)

Side Affects of Aspartame

  • headaches, migraines (some severe)
  • severe depression
  • atypical facial pain
  • anxiety
  • paresthesia or numbness of the limbs
  • itching without a rash
  • menstrual changes
  • excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling, and bloating
  • etc.,etc., (it only gets worse)

I must admit I used to be a HUGE consumer of diet soda.  I could easily guzzle 2-3 a day, not thinking anything of it.  Now that I have dramatically cut my diet soda intake I no longer get weekly migraines and have realized just how sluggish the junk made me feel. 

Now when I have a diet soda on the very rare occasion, I can literally taste the chemicals. It's amazing how our taste buds adapt and change once we move from chemical laden foods to whole foods. 

These days, you can instead find me sipping on a Zevia or another stevia sweetened soda. Sure, those aren't perfect either, but it's a much better option than your standard diet soda. It's also a tad more expensive, so it keeps the amount I drink in check. 

Added sugar is dangerous, especially in the form of liquid beverages, since there is no way to tell just how much sugar is in it. If we added our own sugar to unsweetened beverages like tea and coffee, we can then be in control. Considering that sugar only has 15 calories per teaspoon, it really isn't going to make or break your health, but artificial sweeteners just might. The problem is, we don't yet know the long-term effects of these sugar substitutes. Our safest bet is to cut back on the processed 'food' that contains sugar and artificial sweeteners to begin with, and hope these chemicals will soon be a thing of the past. 


When did you decide to give up diet soda? What do you drink now? 



Jul 8, 2014 4:22am
Good piece. I also gave up diet soda some time ago. I knew aspartame was not good, but had no idea though that it was linked to some of those symptoms.
Jul 9, 2014 5:32pm
Thank you! And congrats on kicking aspartame to the curb.
Jul 15, 2014 1:25pm
I have never liked aspartame or any other artificial sweetener. I prefer no sweetening instead.
Jul 15, 2014 7:31pm
I'm envious! I wish I preferred unsweetened drinks.
Jul 16, 2014 1:07pm
Thanks for the article. My husband drinks diet soda every day, is a type 1 diabetic and gets headaches. He has been thinking about giving up the diet drinks. I'll tell him about this and he may start enjoying life a bit more.
Jul 16, 2014 5:58pm
The headaches are what got me too. Best of luck to him!
Jul 17, 2014 5:17am
I bought the Zevia (the root beer one) and tried it last night. It was pretty good. Can you tell me which flavors are best? I was thinking about trying the cream soda next. What do you think?
Jul 17, 2014 7:14am
That's awesome! Though I've only tried a few, the root beer and grape are my favorite. I once tried the flavor similar to Mountain Dew, and it tasted like bathroom cleaner. Ick! Orange is next on my list to try. :)
Jul 17, 2014 11:54am
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll try the grape and the cream soda next.
Aug 4, 2014 4:42am
You're covering familiar territory for me, there. Especially the bit about being able to taste the chemicals. My wife making our own sourdough from scratch. Now, I can't stand the smell of normal bread - all I smell are the chemical preservatives.
Aug 4, 2014 8:26am
Thanks graffy76! I'm glad you can relate :)
Aug 4, 2014 4:42am
You're covering familiar territory for me, there. Especially the bit about being able to taste the chemicals. My wife making our own sourdough from scratch. Now, I can't stand the smell of normal bread - all I smell are the chemical preservatives.
Aug 5, 2014 7:14pm
I drink a significant amount of zero-calorie cola admittedly, but to be honest experience none of the effects outlined above. I play a lot of sport, eat quite well, and despite working a desk job am in good shape. Maybe I'm an isolated case, but I have nothing bad to say about aspartame at this stage, at least until we know for sure about its effects (or lack of).
Aug 5, 2014 7:52pm
Thanks for your comment spotila! You might be one of the lucky ones :)
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  1. WebMD "Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?." WebMD. 6/07/2014 <Web >

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