Aspartame is a non-calorie artificial sweetener comprised of methanol, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It is used in diet sodas and thousands of other products worldwide. Since it appeared on the US market in the 1980s, aspartame and the possible health risks from the substance have been a topic of much debate. Research has linked the sweetener to diabetes, fibromyalgia and certain forms of cancer. Here are some of the dangers of excessive aspartame consumption.
Studies have found a dangerous connection between aspartame consumption and the development of brain tumors. When aspartame breaks down it produces a substance called DKP. As your stomach digests DKP, it produces a chemical that induces the growth of brain tumors.
Aspartame consumption is extremely harmful to people with diabetes. It makes it more difficult to control sugar levels and aggravate diabetes-related conditions such as retinopathy, cataracts, neuropathy and gastroparesis. The sweetener also has been known to cause convulsions often mistaken for insulin reactions.
Emotional and mood disorders have been linked to aspartame. Studies suggest that people with certain emotional problems are more sensitive to aspartame. High levels of aspartame cause changes in the serotonin levels which can lead to behavioral problems, depression and other emotional disorders. In some cases, the side effects were so dangerous that doctors were forced to put an end to the studies.
Hinders Weight Loss
Aspartame can be found in diet sodas and most other diet products. However, research indicates that the sweetener increases your hunger and can actually impede your weight loss. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid can cause spikes in insulin levels and force your body to remove the glucose from your blood stream and store it as fat. Aspartame also inhibits the production of serotonin and prevents your brain from signalling to your body that you are full. This can lead to food cravings and make it more difficult for you to lose weight.
Aspartame is an excitotoxin or a substance that has the potential to damage or kill cells in the nervous system. The blood-brain barrier is a structure that stops harmful substances from penetrating the brain. The barrier doesn't completely form until a child is one year old, therefore, before a child is born, its nervous system is vulnerable to any dangerous excitotoxins that the mother may consume. Too much exposure to phenylalanine or aspartic acid may cause irreversible brain damage and other serious birth defects.
Methanol, one of Aspartame's components, can damage the retinas and the optic nerves. Aspartame consumption has been connected to eye pain, blurred vision and, in some cases, blindness.
Brain Damage and Seizures
Aspartame can change the chemistry of the brain. Formaldehyde, a product of methanol, gathers in certain areas of the brain causing degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and ALS. Aspartame consumption can also trigger seizures in both epileptics and other individuals without a history of epilepsy.
Aspartame may contain fewer calories than sugar, however, the toxic sweetener has the potential to cause serious damage to the nervous system and in the worst case scenarios can be fatal.