If you think you are making a healthier option because you chose to have diet soda over a regular soda drink, its time to think again. Crafty advertising may have given the term “sugar free” an impression of healthy alternative, but the truth of the matter is that chemical sweeteners are far from healthy.
Despite the dismissive stand of aspartame producers that aspartame is safe for human consumption, various studies over the years have shown that aspartame is actually linked to headaches, migraines, dizziness, tumors and even cancer. The U.S. FDA made public 92 symptoms attributed to aspartame from submitted complaints. Despite its questionable effect, aspartame was approved for use in 1981 and still continues to be so today. Ironically, aspartame was never tested in humans before its approval. Its use in over 6,000 products and by 250 million people has made the public its unwitting guinea pig in a grand experiment 40 years in the making.
Key to health: Low-Sugar, not sugar-free
Stocking up on diet foods is the best way to gain weight. Latest research on aspartame has revealed that it actually increases the risk of weight gain. Being 200 times sweeter than sugar, aspartame appears to be the perfect answer to dieting since it contains only a few calories while still having the sweet taste of sugar. Unfortunately, phenylalanine and aspartic acid, major components of aspartame, trigger the release of insulin and leptins. The latter are hormones that stimulate storage of body fat.
Moreover, large doses of phenylalanine lower serotonin levels and lead to food cravings. Since both real and artificial sweeteners stimulate the taste buds, they affect the same taste and pleasure pathways in the brain. Artificial sweeteners, however, merely activate but do not satiate the pleasure-related region of the brain, proving to be an inferior system in preventing sugar cravings. In the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, researcher Qing Yang – a faculty at the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology – published findings that revealed artificial sweeteners more likely to cause weight gain than weight loss.
This is over and above the fact that aspartameis also highly addictive. The phenylalanine and methanol components increase the dopamine levels in the brain and cause a certain high. This further creates an addiction that is only made worse by the release of methyl alcohol or methanol, which is considered a narcotic. Keeping this in mind, it’s time we reconsider the “health benefits” aspartame is supposed to give.
Products containing aspartame
The following are well-known products that use aspartame:
- Diet sodas
- Chewing gum
- Cooking sauces
- Tabletop sweeteners
- Drink powders
- Flavoured water
- Sugar-free products
The above mentioned popular products are just a few of many that contain aspartame. Despite the rising reports of aspartame’s toxicity, a re-investigation by the FDA as well as of key regulatory bodies worldwide doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon. We can only protect ourselves by making a conscious choice to check the label of every product we buy at the grocery store.
If you have complaints regarding aspartame, don’t be shy in making your complaint known. The last thing you want to be is a face in a crowd lining up before a government office that doesn’t have your interest at heart.