An artificial sweetener used in over 7000 foods and drinks, Aspartame can be found under brand names such as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. In the EU, it is also known by its E number (E951).
Common uses of Aspartame include diet soft drinks, some vitamins, and many sugar-free chewing gums. It is also one of the sugar substitutes used by diabetics.
However, over the years, Aspartame has been the subject of controversy due to its perceived health risks.
There are questions regarding both possible conflicts of interest in the initial approval process of the American FDA and European FSA, and also potential side effects from its regular use.
It has been reported that Aspartame accounts for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA in the USA. Among the many symptoms reported as being caused by this artificial sweetener are:
- Breathing difficulties
- Depression/Anxiety attacks
- Hearing loss/Tinnitus
- Joint pain
- Memory loss
- Muscle spasms
- Slurred speech
- Tachycardia/ Heart palpitations
- Vision problems
- Weight gain
In addition, there are a number of chronic diseases which can be either triggered or worsened by consuming this product. These include:
- Birth defects
- Brain tumors
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Mental retardation
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson's disease
And what of its weight loss properties? Unfortunately it does not appear to encourage weight loss. Indeed, some doctors have reported that when patients who are heavy users of this product (for example, those consuming 6 to eight diet drinks per day) stop using them, they actually begin to lose weight.
The bottom line is that you should carefully consider how much of this product you use. This is particularly important for children, pregnant women, and anyone with any of the diseases mentioned above.