It has become a well known joke in today’s society- “I’ll have a large fry, Big Mac, ice cream sundae…and a diet coke.” Whether people drink diet sodas to cut down on calories and sugar or because they simply prefer the taste over regular sodas, they are not doing themselves any favors. Aspartame, the chemical that makes diet soda sweet and diet food not taste like cardboard, excited masses of people when it was created in 1965. Less carbs, sugar, and calories with the addition of a simple chemical? It seemed too good to be true! As it turns out, it was just that.
Over 85 percent of the complaints reported to the FDA regarding adverse reactions to food are related to the consumption of aspartame. 85 PERCENT! The FDA also has listed 95 different symptoms that people have experienced due to aspartame. To name a few, headaches, seizures, nausea, numbness, depression, rashes, tachycardia, breathing difficulty, loss of taste, slurred speech, anxiety attacks, and weight gain.
What’s even more disturbing than the symptoms listed above are the chronic illnesses that may be caused or made worse by long-term ingestion of aspartame. The FDA lists the following: Brain tumors, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, Mental Retardation, Lymphoma, birth defects, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes and Arthirits. Are you ready to put down that Diet Coke yet?
I stopped consuming aspartame in all forms (NutraSweet, Equal) a few years ago when I noticed my chest, arms, and torso would break out in itchy, red bumps after consuming even tiny amounts. Four sips of a diet coke would have me covered in hives and quickly regretting my sugar-free drink choice. I started doing research into the side effects of aspartame and swore I’d never ingest it again. It has been harder than I thought it would be! Did you know that diet sodas and diet food aren’t the only products with aspartame as a common ingredient? Other products to watch out for are yogurt, chewing gum, chips, drink powder, cereals, gelatin desserts, coffee drinks, multivitamins, and breath mints.
If you are currently using diet sodas to aid in your weight loss, I suggest you read the extensive research about how diet drinks actually inhibit it. The USA Today posted an article recently that is worth reading. “One large study found that people who drank artificially sweetened soda were more likely to experience weight gain than those who drank non-diet soda. Others found those who drank diet soda had twice the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, often a precursor to cardiovascular disease, than those who abstained.”
Are you ready to take the pledge? Are you ready to quit aspartame for good? I did it 3 years ago and I could not be happier, or healthier. The key is all about finding replacement foods/drinks so you don’t feel deprived. Take baby steps if you are a current diet soda addict. Switch to regular soda, ya know, the one with 39 grams of pure, natural sugar and 140 calories per can. Next, switch to tea. Iced tea is a great way to still get your caffeine fix and cut out the chemicals and sugar. If you need to add sugar to your tea, use the raw, natural brown sugar. If it is the fizzy, satisfying feel of drinking sodas that you love, try naturally flavored seltzer water. Seltzer water has been my saving grace since quitting soda completely. Make sure you buy one with no sugar, no sodium, no carbs…the nutrition label should be 0’s all the way down.
Let us know if you plan on taking the no aspartame pledge! Track your health/moods if you decide to quit that way you can see your progress and be an inspiration to others who may still be aspartame addicts.
By Courtney Perry