on craigs list i go on the rants and raves board and right now this is the subject everyone is talking about .. and I've been reading through a lot of the "research" these people have done .. what are your thoughts on this?? this one i just looked at says .. If you are using aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc.) and you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, joint pain, depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss - you probably have aspartame disease!" .. Since i started to really be serious about my diet (5 weeks yesterday and down 9lbs) I have most of these symptoms .. is it really coming from the aspartame though or is it just have changing my life style and adjusting to my new life?? I guess the only way to know for sure is to stop using it .. but that would mean going back to regular sugar and i dont know that i want to do that .. I'm not trying to start a debate I'm just curious as to your thoughts on this .. last week i was so dizzy for 3 days and had an awful headache, ringing in my hears i went out and spent 35$ on a carbon monoxide detector cuz i was convinced i was dying lol i have had all of those symptoms except for the numbness in my legs **knock on wood**
02-18-2010, 12:31 PM
You don't have to go back to regular sugar. There are many alternatives to experiment with: Agave syrup, xlitol (my favorite), sucralose, stevia, combinations of two mentioned (for example Truvia is a combination of stevia and something else I can't remember). These can be found just about anywhere from the health food store (xylitol) to the local walmart (they have their own brand of sucralose).
Try switching out your aspartame for something else and see if you feel better. If you don't feel better soon (2 weeks?) then go to the doctor and find out what's going on.
02-18-2010, 12:33 PM
I've done some research on this too, (I'm a Diet Coke addict) and it seems aspartame disease can be blamed for everything.
IMO, I think its a chemical and any chemical you put in your body is a risk. I've been trying to limit my exposure to it, but I also think its addictive in a way.
So, I'm about where you are. I know it's bad, but I'm not able to get rid of it quite yet, it's a goal if that makes sense.
02-18-2010, 12:34 PM
IMHO, I think a lot of it is scare tactics. I think aspartame is safe. If you are having weird symptoms, I'd go to your doctor and get his or her opinion on it first. It could he lots of things.
02-18-2010, 12:34 PM
Splenda is supposed to not have those effects. Give it a try and see what you think.
02-18-2010, 12:46 PM
I think you'd have to be using TONS of the stuff for it to have that level of a reaction. Personally, I think a little bit in moderation is fine (but I think that about just about everything, really)
02-18-2010, 02:24 PM
several years ago, I was drinking between 6-10 diet pepsi's a day. I started to suffer from insomnia causing me to be tired during the day which led to drinking MORE caffeinated beverages. At my all time high, I drank probably a 12 pack several times a week. I ended up with crushing migraines.I went to my Dr. for the insomnia and migraines. I ended up tracking what I ate for a week and reported back to her. She was stunned by the quantity of Diet Pepsi I drank...I went cold turkey off of it and was in **** for about a week with even worse migraines. I started taking a medicine for insomnia about the same time. I can't say for sure if it was the Aspartame or the insomnia that caused the headaches. Once I got my sleep pattern back on track AND quit the Diet Pepsi addiciton, I began to feel normal again.
To this day I do NOT buy 6 or 12 packs of diet Pepsi for fear I will over do it. I instead drink one or two Diet pops a day vs. the ton I drank before.
02-18-2010, 02:45 PM
I know everyone is different, but I wanted to share with you my experience (sorry I know it's lengthy):
I started "my new healthy lifestyle" at the beginning of January. One of the major differences to my approach this time around was getting the chemicals out of my diet. In the past, I have relied heavily on packaged snacks (aka 100 calorie packs, sugar free pudding, bars, etc.) and diet sodas along with "healthy" whole foods. I would be so "on edge," jittery, hungry, dizzy, etc. that I would only last a few weeks with every attempt. I just figured this was "how you lost weight" and you have to deal with those discomforts. My husband had always (kindly) encouraged me to give up those highly processed and "fake" foods but I could NEVER imagine giving those up...i.e. "If I have to be on a diet...I am absolutely NOT giving up my chocolate pudding and diet soda...the few things I have left to enjoy!" I had read a lot about how our body is designed to run on whole foods, and it really made sense to me and prompted me to try something different this time around. I really didn't have anything to lose (well, other than 100+ pounds haha). I can honestly say that it has really changed my life cutting out the chemicals (i.e. I try my best to cut out anything I can't pronounce, and absolutely no artificial sugar, msg, or high fructose corn syrup...which surprisingly enough is in a lot of "diet foods" which I didn't know before). I am able to stay full all day even late at night after hours of not eating (probably in part because of the increase of fiber with whole foods), have yet to experience a "real" craving or binge, and best of all I don't feel jittery, dizzy, or "on edge" AT ALL. These feelings are what always prompted me to eventually give up. I would say "I cannot do this forever!" and get so depressed and discouraged. Now, the best part of all is that I really haven't given up my sweets! For example, I make whole wheat macaroons with agave syrup that I LOVE and they honestly taste much better than those packaged snacks that I used to "love." I make a batch, preportion them (100 cal. packs) and freeze them. I pull them out and pack them in my lunch every morning and they are a fantastic treat. I've noticed that the things I used to eat because they "didn't have real sugar" left me wanting more and more and more and more. Even though some foods I eat now have a few more calories, I tend to eat a lot less of them because I am satisfied. I can tell my taste buds are changing because I am starting to "crave" fruits and veggies and don't really think twice about walking past my beloved sugar-free pudding and diet soda. I know that everyone is different and for some people the convenience and "sweet taste" of aspartame helps people stay on track. I have just found that it really was at least in part a culprit of my binges.
Just thought I would share in case it would help with your decision. Just do what is right for you. Maybe try it out for a few weeks and see how you feel. Perhaps a doctor could help you with that decision. Good luck and best of wishes!
02-18-2010, 04:27 PM
When I moved out west a few years ago I felt physically and mentally "off." I wasn't able to think straight and often had a "fuzzy" head. I also had overactive bladder (no insurance and lots of fear so I did my best to put up with it); whenever I had to go, I had to go now and it would only be a teeny little bit. Much of it I blamed on the stress of moving and a few personal issues I'd just gone through, and as my symptoms got progressively worse I felt pretty helpless. I thought it was possibly allergies or my contacts prescription messing with my head, but allergy meds and a new pair of glasses didn't help.
I finally reached the point where the migraines took over my life. I'd spend a week at a time in bed, unable to handle any light or sound and had absolutely no appetite. No music, no TV, no reading; it was all I could do to lay there with a pillow over my head, wondering what was wrong and praying that the pain would go away.
Thankfully, we finally made a connection to what I'd been drinking: diet soda and diet tea. Heh, and since I had no appetite and found the coldness soothing I was eating diet popsicles. One day I was feeling better than usual and was able to sit up. When DB got home from work, he brought me a bottle diet green tea. Halfway through drinking it, my migraine immediately returned. I looked at the label and something clicked; I hadn't started using such diet products until I moved.
It's been said that aspartame can easily break down into formaldehyde, and once I really gave it some thought I remembered how my dad had to read shampoo labels back in the 80's. A lot of them contained formaldehyde which would give him severe migraines. Coincidence?
I obviously can't guarantee it will effect everyone the way it did me, but I consider aspartame to be poison and won't touch the stuff ever again. I'm guessing since I was ingesting a lot of it back then that it had probably built up in my system. It took over a month before the headaches and "fuzzy" feeling in my head completely faded, and a few more months before the unforeseen and added benefit of having my bladder go back to normal. It was as if my body knew it needed to expel something extra quickly.
I didn't change anything else about my diet since before the headaches and such had started so I'm 100% sure it was the aspartame. To this day, if I have get a fuzzy/overwhelmingly confused feeling, a headache, or find I can't hold my pee, I check whatever I've ingested only to see aspartame written on the label. I do my best to check labels ahead of time but sometimes it slips through unexpectedly, like in lip balms, medications, even non-diet food and drinks (which I learned the hard way).
Like I've said, I can't guarantee it'll affect everyone like it did me, but there has to be a reason my body reacted the way it did. And with all the other complaints I've read about this stuff I simply can't believe they still have it on the market.
02-18-2010, 04:44 PM
Sweeteners give me migraines and they're the only trigger. I've always felt they were not a good thing to have in my body. I use honey and sugar both in moderation.
When I started this in November I was relying on Lean Cuisines and protein bars because they were already counted out for me. But I felt exhausted and constipated all the time. Since switching to an almost all natural diet...no problems and my energy is through the roof.
It's such a personal decision and I know so many people have success using sweeteners. But I don't allow my children to have sweeteners, and goodness, it's in everything! Even fiber tablets!
02-18-2010, 05:03 PM
There's a lot of misinformation, distorted information, and plain ol' lies amongst the arguments against artificial sweetners.
For example, the breakdown of aspartame into formaldehyde is a completely natural digestive byproduct. Many foods, especially fruits and other wholesome foods) also breaks down into formaldehyde - in fact in much higher concentrations than a person would be ingesting in aspartame. If I remember correctly from my graduatae and undergraduate human developmental biology/embryonology classes, a banana breaks down into several times as much formaldehyde as a can of diet Coke.
I'm not saying these sweeteners are good for you, or that some folks don't have reactions to them. Food and food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities are very common (and probably more common than we think, because so many go undiagnosed).
That being said, if you're suspecting that an additive (or for that matter a food, even a wholesome, entirely natural food) is causing you odd and troublesome symptoms, that eliminate it from your diet and see what happens. Then add it back in. Then (assuming the reaction isn't a life threatening allergic reaction, such as anaphylactic shock) repeat the experiment several times (you want to repeat the test to make sure coincidence isn't to blame).
I recently discovered that I'm allergic or intolerant to wheat. Eating wheat in trace amounts doesn't seem to trigger symptoms (but I'm trying to avoid it anyway), but as little as one slice of bread and within 24 hours my arthritis and fibro pain is flaring, my hand joints are swelling, and the skin around my nose and mouth is red and inflamed. The more wheat I ate, the more severe the symptoms (and ironically the longer I went without wheat, the more severe the symptoms when I retested the theory). I'm now fully convinced that I need to avoid wheat.
I read an article recently that suggested that obesity can lower the allergy/sensitivity threshold (meaning it's possible that my wheat reaction could improve or disappear when I've lost more weight. Maybe I'll re-experiment when I get down to goal, but for now avoiding wheat entirely makes more sense).
The same holds true for all foods, and food ingredients whether natural, processed, or entirely artificial. If it makes you sick, don't eat it.