Growing up, the two soda options in my refrigerator were my mom’s diet cola or my dad’s clear lemon-lime soda. I’ve always associated my dad’s lemon-lime soda with being sick, and drinking it when it seemed my stomach couldn’t handle even water. So that option was not an option. We weren’t supposed to eat or drink much sugar, so mom’s diet cola was the way to go; a solid solution, right? Drink the cola but don’t deal with the consequences of sugar. Well, the diet cola didn’t contain sugar, but it did contain aspartame. Now, a parent myself, I’ve had to get my facts straight. Aspartame is far from an innocent substitute for sugar, and will not be stocking the shelves of our refrigerator.
Aspartame is by far and away the most controversial and written about ingredient, of the ones I’ve spilled on this site. There are a ton of opinions about aspartame, and a lot of them are on the internet. It’s a highly emotional debate, from both sides. There are claims from aspartame showing no links to neurological effects or cancer, all the way to aspartame being effective ant poisoning – it’s alleged origin, according to some.
I’ll dispell conclusions of studies – not opinions, not funded by the manufacturer, to you.
What it is and what it does
Aspartame is a man-made chemical sweetener- an excitotoxin similar to MSG, added to food. It is a low calorie substitute made up of methanol and two amino acids. As stated on this site’s MSG page: aspartame and other excitotoxins are designed in a lab to excite your taste buds with enhanced flavor. These exciting excitotoxins cause excitotoxicity (the damaging and killing of nerve cells, and may be involved in stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease/ALS and Parkinson’s Disease.)
Research on aspartame and it’s effects can be found at Holistic Healing. Studies have shown that ingesting aspartame causes painful Fibromyalgia symptoms, memory loss and formaldehyde accumulation in the body. Is formaldehyde a problem? According to the U.S. Department of Labor OSHA, “The 11th Report on Carcinogens classifies it [formaldehyde] as ‘reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen…’”Environmental Health Perspectives published this study identifying aspartame as a multipotential carcinogenic compound and calling for urgent reexamination of preset guidelines on the use and consumption of aspartame.
What it’s typically in
Packets of artificial sweetener, diet sodas, sugarfree gums, “light” drink mixes, yogurts, products especially marked “sugar free or fat free”
Whether you’re convinced that aspartame is dangerous or safe, the bottom line is that it is a man-made chemical that affects your body. It’s defined as a food additive and not as a drug, but for how much longer? Studies sponsored by the aspartame industry continuously claim no problems with aspartame, while independent studies routinely identify problems with it.