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Darbio16's avatar

Is Aspartame Dangerous?

Asked by Darbio16 (767points) September 7th, 2009

The web is loaded with articles speaking about the dangers of aspartame. The only people that ever seem to support the use of aspartame are the companies that produce it and the FDA. Is it really dangerous? Has anyone here ever had an adverse reaction to aspartame?

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35 Answers

DominicX's avatar

I read that it is safe at the current levels it is used in. I sure hope it’s not dangerous, I don’t want to give up Yoplait Light. (But seriously, that’s pretty much the only thing I eat that has aspartame in it and no, I’ve had an adverse reaction to it).

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Artificial sweeteners have a bad track record so it’s wise to be wary.
Sugar in large quantities isn’t good for you either, but it’s better than the alternative. If caloric intake is an issue for you, drink water instead of diet sodas.

Supacase's avatar

Around 1998–99 I would to drink a huge Diet Coke every morning and then several later throughout the day. I developed symptoms similar to those of MS and became very worried. My mom convinced me to give up Diet Coke due to the aspartame for 6 weeks and my symptoms disappeared. I’m a believer in it being a concern.

That said, I’ve been drinking diet drinks again for a while with no ill effect. Who knows.

evegrimm's avatar

I’ve never had an adverse reaction to aspertame. (I can’t think of anyone who has, either, besides @Supacase.)

I would point out, however, that although there are no calories in non-caloric sweeteners, your body still thinks there is. Which can be problematic. (I’m not sure about the biology of it, but I think it makes your blood sugar go up? Anyone know what I’m talking about?)

ragingloli's avatar

i don’t know. but i DO know that it tastes like crap. sugar for me please.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@evegrimm I have a diabetic friend who drinks diet Coke like water. I’ve never pressed him on the topic but it doesn’t seem like much of an issue for him in terms of his blood sugar levels.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Stick to natural!
When thirsty, drink water! It’s 0 cal, diet, sugar free, dye free, helps liver function, easily absorbed by the body, cleanses the body, and is good for the skin.
Why should anyone possibly want to drink anything else???
—unless it’s a 12–15 yr single malt scotch… Which I take with a splash of water too :) for medicinal purposes… You know.—

drdoombot's avatar

I’ve never had an adverse reaction, but I stay away from it. In the human body, aspartame turns into formaldehyde, a preserving agent commonly used in embalming fluid. I know that the amounts are minuscule, but it doesn’t sit well with me. The fact that other people have adverse reactions is enough to keep me away from it.

When faced with the choice of having a bottle of diet soda or just a few sips of regular soda, I’ll take the latter. High Fructose Corn Syrup ain’t great either, which is why my soft drink of choice is homemade iced tea with just a pinch of regular white sugar.

Darbio16's avatar

Yikes! Formaldehyde? What is going on here with the FDA. Thanks for the answers so far everyone.

mass_pike4's avatar

i have done a lot of research on this topic as well, and have the same question because there is evidence supporting both sides. I do know that aspartame is 1000 x sweeter than regular cane sugar. I can’t imagine how that goes over easy in the body. Most products that contain aspartame list the ingredient towards the bottom, so there is not a lot in it, but still. It is not natural. Nearly all chewing gums and certain mints contain aspartame. I have found myself that I get stomach cramps and pain when I chew more than usual amounts of gum that contain it such as trident or wrigleys.

Darbio16's avatar

I discovered an alternative to sugar and all artificial sweeteners.

Its Called Stevia.

It’s very safe too.

Darbio16's avatar

I have also located a semi extensive article dealing with the creation of aspartame and a time line of events covering it’s use.

Check out M.E. # 6— Aspartame and MSG

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Drinking diet soft drinks can cause you to gain weight.

drdoombot's avatar

@Darbio16 I purchased some Stevia years ago. Although it might be safe, it certainly does not taste like real sugar. Flavor-wise, it’s just as bad as aspartame, leaving an unpleasant aftertaste. I only tried it in tea and coffee though; it might work better in baked goods.

Instead of trying to find a replacement for sugar, I think the best strategy is to learn how to limit your consumption of it. I used to put 3 teaspoons of sugar into 8 oz. of tea. Now I put 1 teaspoon into 16 oz. You can ween yourself off of excessive sugar if you try. Now when I drink any commercial beverage, it’s way too sweet for me.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have gotten the idea it’s more a long term effect, but I’m not interested in being the guinea pig to find out. I try to keep sugar and any substitutes out of my diet.

dalepetrie's avatar

Here’s an interesting article about how Aspertame became legal (believe it or not, it was all Donald Rumsfeld’s doing) I’m not kidding.

mattbrowne's avatar

Most likely it’s relative dangers are very low. Lack of exercise is far more dangerous. Let alone smoking. Even anxiety can do more damage to the human body than aspartame.

Don’t use aspartame when you’re hungry and you want to lose weight.

cwilbur's avatar

Aspartame gives me headaches, so I avoid it. Sucralose has an aftertaste, but I can only taste it in hot beverages, so I use real sugar or honey in those.

@Darbio16: formaldehyde is produced as part of your normal metabolism even if you aren’t eating anything with aspartame in it, and it is one of the products of aspartame metabolism. Of course the anti-aspartame crowd jumps all over that factoid because formaldehyde is scary.

Jenniehowell's avatar

I’ve read that it is bad – that it over time will cause basically the same symptoms as gulf war syndrome – that other countries have banned it’s use.

I don’t like the taste of it myself so between what I read & the taste I pretty much stay away from it 90% of the time.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Jenniehowell – I’ve read that sleeping with virgins will cure AIDS. Many people in South Africa follow this advice.

Just because we read something, doesn’t mean it’s true. Linking aspartame to gulf war syndrome is extremely far-fetched. In fact if anxious people who have used aspartame, say for the last 10 years take this statement at face value they might indeed become dizzy, a symptom also present in gulf war syndrome. Reason for the symptom? Aspartame? Most likely not. Anxiety based on dubious advice. Most likely, yes.

From Wikipedia: Based on government research reviews and recommendations from advisory bodies such as the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, aspartame has been found to be safe for human consumption by more than ninety countries worldwide.

This is not to say that the substance is completely risk-free. The question is whether the risk is acceptable, like crossing a street or driving a car.

Jenniehowell's avatar

@mattbrowne LOL point taken – hence the reason I mention reading it as opposed to knowing or having researched it in depth for myself. I like splenda over aspartame as far as taste & I’ve read both bad & good about it as well – LOL
thanks for the comment it made me smile.

DominicX's avatar

So…is it bad that I eat like 2 IceBreakers Sours a day? They have no sugar, but they have aspartame. :\

Shuttle128's avatar

I have adverse reactions to aspartame every time I consume it: I wrinkle my nose in disgust. Can’t stand the taste, I don’t drink diet sodas and I don’t chew gum.

Personally, I don’t understand how anyone can eat or drink enough of it to be concerned about it.

Pazza's avatar

My kids only have natural sugar.

The formaldehyde route is not an option.

I always make my kids spit and rinse after brushing aswell.

footnote: floride was first used by Hitler in the concentration camps…..

Futomara's avatar

I had insomnia for years. Sleeping pills didn’t work. Nothing worked. Then I read that artificial sweeteners cause many side effects, insomnia being one. I stopped using artificial sweeteners and within a few days, was starting to sleep. After a few weeks, my sleep cycle returned to a normal, regular state.

I probably consumed 6–8 cups of artificially sweetened beverages a day.

Think about this. How safe is any chemical cocktail? We have become so desensitized to the fact that we are putting unnatural things in our bodies.

And if a corporation makes a claim, or a government agency, can you really trust them to care more about your health than their profit margins or backroom deals?

YARNLADY's avatar

@Pazza Hitler also drank water, and it is a known fact that water can kill. So are you advocating that we stop drinking water?

Pazza's avatar

I’m advocating that we don’t put flouride in our childrens drinking water!..........
Maybe Hitler drank blood aswell, or maybe he’s a reptilian from the fifth dimension.

oh, and waters only toxic cause you can drink quicker than you can piss
though I would be more concerned about being full of wind

borderline_blonde's avatar

Aspartame gives me headaches… and I don’t even wanna talk about what I went through when I was ingesting sucralose (brand name: Splenda) regularly. I now avoid artificial sweeteners completely.

Draconess25's avatar

@drdoombot Use honey instead.

When I was about 10, I started drinking diet soda because I thought it was “healthier”. After about 3 days, my throat & stomach started to clench up. I’ve never had any problems like that with regular soda, & I stopped drinking diet immediately.

Then again, margarine gives me stomach cramps, & being around microwave ovens makes me extremely dizzy (I’ve nearly blacked out). Same with HDTVs & fluorescent lighting.

Ron_C's avatar

@dalepetrie good information. I thought it was dangerous and our family quit using it years ago. Anything associated with Rumsfeld should be suspect. I think he is a truly evil and dangerous person. We haven’t heard about him, I worry when I can’t see my enemies.

Aster's avatar

Donald Rumsfeld is the key to aspartame being sold. Yes.
I know someone who is addicted to diet drinks. He got kidney cancer. Everytime you’d see him he’d be drinking a diet drink.

MeinTeil's avatar

It’s been known to cause brain scabs.

Ron_C's avatar

@Aster then I guess that there is an thing called karma. It is time for him and Cheney to go, there is no telling how much misery those two brought into this world.

reijinni's avatar

Not sure of the affects that it has, but it is present in most powdered drink mixes.

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