Is Aspartame Bad for You?

Often denoted as E951 and originally sold under the brand name NutraSweet, aspartame is an artificial sweetener serving as a sugar substitute since 1980. It stimulates your taste buds in the same way as sugar, so is commonly used in a variety of beverages, foods, sweets, desserts, chewing gums, breakfast cereals, and weight-control products. You may also use it as a tabletop sweetener. While it is quite popular, many people still wonder if they should use it.

Is Aspartame Bad for You?

No. Although many sources say that aspartame is bad for health, there is no scientific evidence to testify those claims. Let's learn more about the truth of aspartame. 

Does Aspartame Cause Cancer?

As per certain animal studies, it is found that aspartame may cause cancer. These studies are not that reliable considering they did not use appropriate methods for testing. Also, other scientists believe these studies should not be associated with humans. However, there was a weak connection established between cancer and the use of aspartame in one observational study in humans. The bottom line is that while there have been several studies conducted on the issue, none offers conclusive evidence to suggest that the use of aspartame may directly lead to cancer.

Does Aspartame Cause Weight Gain?

Most people opt for aspartame, considering it is a low-calorie substitute to sugar. They believe this will help them lose weight by limiting their sugar intake. Some experts say that aspartame may do the opposite and cause weight gain. While no study confirms it, it is important to point out that its use may not help in weight loss either. It does somehow prevent future weight gain though.

Does Aspartame Cause Seizures?

An important concern that makes people ask "is aspartame bad for you" is that it may cause seizures. This is not true though because several small studies have investigated the connection between the use of aspartame and seizures, but found nothing. Only one small study in children shows that there may be a change in brain activity linked to seizures in children with absence seizures.

Does Aspartame Cause Mental Problems?

As per a scientific review, aspartame might lead to mental problems and affect mood, behavior, and mental function. This review is not reliable though because it used low-quality references. Only one study shows that depression symptoms may become severe if you use aspartame.

Does Aspartame Cause Headache?

Most of the studies performed to identify a link between aspartame and headaches have found nothing. One study shows that the use of aspartame may have something to do with how often someone gets headaches. It tells nothing about how severe the headaches can be or how long they may last. It suggests that there is not enough evidence to confirm that aspartame increases the frequency of headaches.

Possible Side Effects of Aspartame

You already know a bit about "is aspartame bad for you", it is still important to consider its side effects if it is consumed in large quantity. Opponents of aspartame believe that it can cause several ailments, including seizures, headaches, weight gain, dizziness, attention deficit disorder, depression, lupus, birth defects, and Alzheimer's disease. While more research is still needed to confirm if aspartame can cause these issues, you may still have to avoid using aspartame if you have certain health conditions. For instance:

  • Do not use aspartame if you have phenylketonuria, a condition that makes it difficult for you to process phenylalanine which is an essential amino acid found in eggs, fish, meat, and dairy sources. Using aspartame in this condition can be extremely dangerous.
  • Do not use aspartame if you have Tardive dyskinesia (TD). You develop this condition if you are taking schizophrenia medications. Aspartame may make your symptoms worse and lead to uncontrolled muscle movements.

How to Avoid Aspartame If You Want to

After you have the answer to your question "is aspartame bad for you" and learn the possible side effects of aspartame,you may also be wondering what you can do to avoid it. You can try certain things in this regard. For instance:

  • Know what is included in your reduced calorie fruit juice, diet soda, sugarless candy, yogurt, and baked goods. Avoid if anything includes aspartame. It is often labeled as containing phenylaline.
  • Use other sweeteners in place of aspartame. This will help cut the use of aspartame in your food.
  • Consider switching to natural sweeteners. Instead of using aspartame or sugar for that matter, you can add maple syrup, honey, fruit juice, agave nectar or molasses to your beverages. This will ensure you do not have to deal with any negative effects associated with artificial sweeteners. Just be sure to consume natural sweeteners in moderation, or else you will again notice certain side effects.
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