Aspartame is an extremely controversial sweetener with many claims and theories floating around the web on why aspartame side effects are seemingly worse than its benefits. The non-nutritive sweetener has long been criticized for causing numerous complaints among consumers, including over 80% of the complaints to the FDA when the sweetener first appeared on the market in 1998.
With wide ranging side effects associated with consuming aspartame such as headaches, vomiting, cramps and fatigue to more serious claims such as lupus, cancer and multiple sclerosis, aspartame has been shown to cause various reactions in different people. The FDA continues to claim the safety of aspartame, while there has been some evidence in recent studies to show that some of these side effects are related to consumption of the sweetener. Listed below are the 4 largest complaints surrounding the safety of aspartame.
One study t has been done that confirms that people who consume aspartame can be susceptible to aspartame-related headaches. The study blindly gave a placebo to one group and aspartame to another, and showed that the group of 200 migraine sufferers given the aspartame had more severe and frequent headaches after ingesting aspartame. For this reason, those people suffering from migraines are often advised to avoid aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.
One study was actually cut short due to the severe reactions observed among the first 13 patients studied. This research showed that people who are affected by mood disorders should avoid consuming products with aspartame.
In one FDA trial, it was shown that 12 of 320 rats used developed a malignant brain tumor after ingesting aspartame. Since that study, there have been numerous other studies to both defend and refute that finding. Another comprehensive study done between the years of 1991 and 2004 examined the relationships between all low calorie sweeteners and a variety of different cancers, and found no evidence to support a connection in increased cancer risk.
4. Increased Appetite
One study found that diet drinks and other artificially sweetened foods did not decrease, but rather increased the overall caloric intake for the individuals involved in the study. In some cases, patients expressed an increased hunger after eating products made with aspartame, making it not the best solution for those people trying to cut calories and lose weight.
While you may be tempted to opt for the artificially made low calorie sweeteners, it may be better to just reach for sugar occasionally and satisfy your sweet tooth with healthy alternatives like fresh fruit. Learning to eat in moderation and with a good balance of foods from all the food groups is the most important thing if you are trying to improve your health and food habits.