What is aspartame doing to your body?

Aspartame is a very sweet chemical used as an artificial sweetener. It is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol.

Aspartame is currently being consumed by over 200 million people in over 6,000 products! This includes chewing gum, soft drinks, lollies, gelatins, pre mixed ‘box’ cakes and puddings, ready-made frozen desserts and pies, yogurts, protein bars, juices and kid’s lunchbox ‘fillers’.

So if aspartame is in everything why should we avoid it?

Aspartate makes up 40% of aspartame. It acts as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate in the brain allows an influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which can damage cells.

There are plenty of reported adverse reactions when consuming aspartame with over 90 different documented symptoms including headaches, migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision and hearing problems/loss, anxiety, slurred speech, memory loss and joint pain.

Researchers have reported that some chronic illnesses such as brain tumours, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia and diabetes can be triggered or worsened by ingestion of aspartame.

Some researchers also believe that artificial sweeteners promote weight gain and that aspartame worsens insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar.

Next time you’re shopping make sure to check out the ingredients list for aspartame. It also goes by the names Equal and NutraSweet. Other artificial sweeteners to look out for include sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe), saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin) and sorbitol.

If you are concerned about using synthetic artifical sweeteners, you can swap them for stevia or xylitol. Stevia is a sweetener extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana while xylitol is a sugar alcohol naturally found in low concentrations in the fibres of many fruits and vegetables such as berries, oats, and mushrooms.