Aspartame: What You Should Know

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Aspartame also goes by the names Equal, NutraSweet, Spoonful, Equal Measure, AminoSweet, Benevia, NutraTaste, and Canderel and is found in many “diet” sodas, teas, juices, “sugar-free” and “low sugar” products. Aspartame is an ingredient in nearly 6,000 products world-wide! Aspartame is so widely used that you shouldn’t be surprised to find it in many of the products that may be in your kitchen right now. What may surprise you however, is what aspartame is doing to your health.

The safety of aspartame’s usage has been questioned for decades, yet it is still widely used. Despite the data showing aspartame leading to brain tumors in animal studies along with many studies lacking information about the long-term effects of aspartame, the chemical has been permitted in our food supply for decades. As the desire for diet, low calorie and low sugar alternatives has increased, aspartame has found a way into many of the foods, drinks and ingredients we use and choose every day. 

Dr. Russel Blaylock, neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, explains aspartame has negative affects on protein synthesis, brain operation, DNA (our genetic make up) and many organs. Although aspartame is toxic and has negative effects on all organ systems, most symptoms submitted to the Food and Drug Administration are neurological, having detrimental affects on our brain and nervous system.

When the body attempts to break down this chemical, headaches, mental confusion, dizziness, convulsions and seizures can result. Brain neurons fire excessively and cell death is likely. Other reported symptoms include mood changes, change in vision, disturbed sleeping patterns or insomnia, change in heart rate, hallucinations, abdominal cramps and pain, memory loss, rashes, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness, diarrhea, hives and joint pain. Still thinking that low calorie or low sugar snack or beverage is worth it? The facts are simple: “Whenever your body tries to process an unrecognizable substance, the stage is set for health problems.” (4)

Not only is aspartame sabotaging our health, we’ve been misled to believe that “reduced calorie,” “sugar-free,” and “diet” products loaded with aspartame can be a part of a healthy diet, which is far from the truth. Aspartame can LEAD to weight gain as it stimulates the body to release insulin and leptin, while driving down serotonin levels. The hormones insulin and leptin signal your body to store fat, while the neurotransmitter serotonin helps regulate mood, appetite and sleep. Low levels of serotonin can lead to food cravings, binge eating and ultimately, weight gain. Artificially and intensely sweetened foods also alter our taste buds-making it difficult to detect the natural sweetness in healthier options.

What can you do to limit or stop using aspartame? Take the time to read labels on processed foods and question anything in a bag, box, packet or carton that seems “too good to be true.” Food products that have been manufactured, manipulated and altered from their natural state… usually aren’t.

Through marketing and advertisements showing healthy, beautiful people enjoying amazing lifestyles, we’re fed the message that these products will give us those things too. The reality is that the desire to lose or maintain weight is instead replaced by the reality of a list of unpleasant symptoms along with a greater risk for disease years to come.

So what’s your best choice? Choosing unprocessed, natural, whole, real food. It’s your healthiest step toward a healthy body and lifestyle.


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March 2023