Aspartame Side Effects You Should Know About
More about aspartame side effectsAspartame is a non-nutritive artificial sweetener that has been in use in the U.S. since 1981. It is sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal. Controversy has surrounded the consumption of aspartame as it has been blamed for numerous medical complications. Here is a look at some of the reported aspartame side effects.
Aspartame has been linked to illnesses like multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, brain tumors, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, birth defects, and lymphoma. It is thought to worsen or trigger the development of those diseases. Other aspartame side effects include headache, mood alteration, nausea, dizziness, changes in vision, seizures, memory loss, fatigue, shooting pains, spasms, leg numbness, tinnitus, depression, anxiety, joint pain, and slurred speech. Interestingly enough, weight loss has not been shown to be one of the aspartame side effects. In fact, studies have shown that switching to drinks sweetened with zero calorie aspartame actually resulted in weight gain instead.
Even though there have been few clinical studies done to confirm these aspartame side effects, the reports are frightening. Many people have sought other sweeteners as a result of the debate surrounding aspartame. Fortunately there are several choices available today.
Sucralose, or Splenda, has become a very popular artificial sweetener today, especially among diabetics since it can withstand being used in recipes and baking. It was approved for use in 1991 and has since found its way into many foods sold on the market. It is claimed to be 600 times sweeter than sugar. While there are more reported aspartame side effects, sucralose has its concerns too. The main apprehension is with its manner of manufacture that makes chlorine part of the ingredients. Chlorine is a known carcinogen. There are also no long term clinical studies on sucralose so the full effects of ingesting it on a steady basis are not yet known. Other side effects reported with sucralose include moodiness, hives, gastrointestinal problems, wheezing, depression, chest pains and irregular heartbeat.
Xylitol is a well-liked sugar substitute that has been used in Europe for many years and has quickly gained popularity in the United States. It is used by diabetics because it converts more slowly to blood sugar even though it does contain nearly ten calories per teaspoon. Xylitol is also used as a medication to fight tooth decay and ear infections. It doesn’t come close to the number of aspartame side effects. It is thought to be a fairly safe substance to consume although it can cause gastrointestinal disturbances like diarrhea and gas. Xylitol can be fatal to dogs.
Maltodextrin is a sweetening agent that is often added to candy and beverages. It is also a component in Splenda along with sucralose where it is used as a bulking agent. It is derived from starches but because it is so highly processed, it is considered gluten-free even if it is made from wheat. Maltodextrin converts quickly to blood glucose and is not recommended as a sugar substitute for diabetics. In fact, its side effects are comparable to sugar in that consuming too much leads to weight gain. It may also pose problems to those allergic to the starch it was derived from such as wheat, potatoes, or corn.
Stevia has become a very popular sweetener in the U.S. but it has been used in South America for hundreds of years. Stevia is used as a zero calorie sweetener and flavor enhancer that is recommended for use by diabetics. Stevia has been granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status but it has various reported side effects although they are few in number and severity when compared with aspartame side effects. These include dizziness, numbness, nausea and bloating. Stevia should be used in caution by people allergic to ragweed and by diabetics since it may cause blood sugar levels to drop too low.
If you are concerned about aspartame side effects, you can choose from a number of other sugar substitutes on the market today or resort to natural sweeteners like agave or honey. There is no need to expose yourself or your family to dangers when less risky choices are available.