by A. Grano on March 30th, 2012 at 7:00 am
Many dieters often turn to sugar substitutes when trying to lose weight, often switching to sugar-free diet sodas and chewing gum to avoid snacking and eating more calorie-laden foods. However, aspartame is found in many of these products, and can cause many undesirable side effects, and is involved in 75% of reported complaints received by the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) of the US Food and Drug Administration.
Reported health risks
FDA health complaints resulting from aspartame include abdominal pain, hives, migraines, and dizziness. Aspartame poisoning, while rare, is often mistaken for other ailments because symptoms are misattributed to other conditions.
Aspartame creates an addictive “need” for more sweetness, as some experts say that artificial sweeteners lead to craving sweeter-tasting food that offers no nutritional benefits.
The three components of aspartame: phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol, when absorbed into the body in free form, change the ratio of amino acids in the blood. This in turn lowers or blocks levels of hormones like dopamine and tyrosine, vital for bodily functions.
Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that excessive aspartame intake may even lead to death of nerve cells and subsequently, mental disorders.
A University of Parkinson‘s at Florida study found the majority of subjects who ingested aspartame experienced more than double the migraines than subjects who did not.
A weight watcher’s friend or foe?
A study from the University of Texas Health Center San Antonio reported that an overwhelming 70% of subjects who drank diet sodas actually gained weight versus those that did not. Participants that consumed 2 or more diet sodas on a regular basis also had a higher waist circumference and blood sugar levels.
Further, researchers from the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine and at Columbia University Medical Center found that regular consumption of diet sodas increases the risk of vascular disease.
Everything in moderation
Given these reported studies and the risks, you’ll likely want to consider lowering your consumption of foods and snacks containing aspartame. Indulging in a little bit of real sugar may be more satisfying and be less harmful in the long-run.
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