How Safe is Aspartame

Category: Health 411

Diet soda is falling out of favor due to the growing unpopularity of artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose (Splenda)

Aspartame May Lead to Glucose Intolerance and Diabetes

Many people who are overweight or obese also struggle with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, and consequently choose artificial sweeteners over sugar, believing the former to be a healthier choice.?Yet, studies have found that artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, may lead to weight gain?and glucose intolerance by altering gut microbiota.?Unbeknownst to many, aspartame has been found to increase hunger ratings compared to glucose or water and is associated with heightened motivation to eat (even more so than other artificial sweeteners like saccharin or acesulfame potassium).

For a substance often used in ?diet? products, the fact that aspartame may actually increase weight gain is incredibly misleading.

A recent study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism also found that consuming aspartame may be associated with greater glucose intolerance, particularly for people who are obese.

?This study provides evidence that consumption of aspartame may be associated with greater diabetes risk in individuals with higher adiposity. Aspartame is reported to be associated with changes in gut microbiota that are associated with impairments in insulin resistance in lean and obese rodents.

?Regular consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks is associated with disorders of the metabolic syndrome, including abdominal obesity, insulin resistance and/or impaired glucose tolerance, dyslipidemia and high blood pressure.

In particular, daily diet soda consumption (primarily sweetened with N-a-L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester, aspartame ? ), is reported to increase the relative risk of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome by 67 percent and 36 percent respectively.?

Yet, it?s not only aspartame that?s linked to health problems, so if you?re thinking that sticking with products that are sweetened with Splenda, you?re being misled. Like aspartame, Splenda affects your body?s insulin response.

When study participants drank a Splenda-sweetened beverage, their insulin levels rose about 20 percent higher than when they consumed only water prior to taking a glucose-challenge test.

Aspartame May Cause Brain Damage and Other Health Effects

Ninety-two percent of independently funded studies found aspartame may cause adverse effects, including depression and headaches. A study also found the administration of aspartame to rats resulted in detectable methanol even after 24 hours, which might be responsible for inducing oxidative stress in the brain.

Aspartame is made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. But the phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, which provides the majority of the sweetness.

That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol.

Diet Soda May Make You Want to Eat More Junk Food

Diet soda is a scam of the worst kind, because those who drink it typically believe they?re doing their body a favor by cutting out some calories.

But research shows diet soda drinkers may later ?compensate? for the calories they didn?t consume in their soda by eating more high-sugar, high-sodium and high-in-unhealthy-fats foods later in the day. They may also feel compelled to eat more junk food because the diet beverage didn?t satisfy their craving or desire for calories.

Obese adults were affected the most and had the highest incremental daily calorie intake from unhealthy foods associated with diet beverages, which again shows that the people most likely to consume artificial sweeteners are also among those most likely to be harmed by them.

Are You Ready to Ditch Aspartame and Other Artificial Sweeteners?

Your best, most cost-effective, choice of beverage is filtered tap water. I strongly recommend using a high-quality water filtration system unless you can verify the purity of your water. Seltzer or mineral water is another option, especially if you?re missing the fizz of soda.

Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime is one way to add some flavor and variety, and many soda drinkers find it easier to ditch soda when replacing it with some sparkling water. Unsweetened tea and coffee can also be healthy and can add some variety to your beverage choices without ruining your health.


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