I 100% abstain from Aspartame. Aspartame is a highly debated topic. The powers at the FDA keep debunking everything, trust not your government, as I know without, how it effects me. When I abstain 100% from all Aspartame my joint pain and NSAID (Advil or Aleve) use is reduced by 70-80%. If I consume so much as one piece of Aspartame laden sugarless gum (without my knowledge that it contains Aspartame) I am in agony within in an hour or two driving myself insane trying to figure how why I am suddenly in so much pain. Being a longtime Diet Coke addict it really took a lot for me to get it through my thick skull and give Aspartame up entirely. Diet Coke-Splenda is not even sold in Canada, which means I drink a lot more tea and water since our recent move. Splenda pop in Canada is still limited but I will take what I can get. I am really hoping the growth and production of Stevia picks up in North America and makes Stevia products the forerunner of the artificially sweetened products but until this happens I will stick to Splenda and Cyclamates (banned in the USA in the 1970s but still sold in Canada which banned Saccharine at about the same time. This is another debate entirely)
In his book Dr Atkins' New Diet Revolution, Dr Atkins speaks of another unique phenomenon to Aspartame. The premise is that when consuming Aspartame your body will be fooled into thinking that it has consumed real sugar and produce insulin and other hormones to balance it's self. This results in rebound hunger and low blood sugar levels causing one to crave carbohydrates. I found my personal cravings for carbohydrates to be greatly reduced by just kicking the Diet Coke habit.
100% abstinence from Aspartame is a personal decision and one not to be taken lightly as it involves reading every ingredient on every label of everything you consume. This is truly the only way for you to know for sure if Aspartame personally effects you. I know for me it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.