Why is aspartame bad?
According to research, adverse effects of aspartame only occur at very high concentrations not generally achieved by daily consumption. Consuming large amounts of aspartame is bad because it may cause the following
- Headaches and migraines: Glutamate is a byproduct of aspartame that may trigger headaches or worsen migraine symptoms.
- Increased body mass index (BMI) or weight gain: Many recent studies have reported that consuming artificial sweeteners disrupts the metabolic response within the body. One of the reasons for this is because artificial sweeteners provide a sweet taste. In some cases, it is hundreds of times sweeter than regular sugar and this sweetness does not match the energy or calories that foods provide. When sweetness is matched by calories, the body is satisfied. When the sweet flavor is not followed by the right amount of calories, the brain does not get the same message. This can cause the brain to signal that it needs more, which interferes with metabolism.
- Diabetes: One of the side effects of aspartame is that it can actually cause a person to develop diabetes. Because it can affect a person’s metabolism, it can also affect the way that the body gets rid of sugars. This can damage the pancreas, which then causes issues with the production of insulin. Because aspartame interferes with metabolism, it can trigger metabolic syndrome.
- Phenylketonuria: Individuals with a metabolic disease called phenylketonuria cannot process aspartame, so levels build up in them and may cause complications.
- Cancer: There are claims stating that aspartame has carcinogenic potential. There are direct links that consuming aspartame can increase the likelihood of a person developing certain types of cancer. However, the evidence to prove it conclusively is missing.
- Heart disease: Consuming foods and beverages that contain aspartame can increase your risk of heart disease. If an individual is overweight, pre-diabetic, diabetic or at risk of heart-related diseases genetically, it is a good idea to stay away from foods and drinks that contain aspartame because these can dramatically increase the risk of heart-related diseases and other health issues.
- Memory loss (Alzheimer’s disease and dementia): Drinking diet soda and consuming diet foods that contain aspartame can increase the risk of dementia by up to three times. Drinking aspartame-laden drinks seems to be the worst culprit because the body breaks them down into methanol, which is converted into formaldehyde. This is quite dangerous for the entire body, but especially for the brain. When the brain cannot distinguish between the sweetness of these drinks and sugar and expects calories to follow, it can cause many different types of issues.
- Some people may be sensitive to aspartame and experience symptoms like hives, rashes and trouble in breathing.
- Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Swelling caused by lupus can affect many different body systems including the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
- Mood irritability
- Erectile dysfunction (ED), impotency
- Multiple sclerosis, generalized body pain
- Abdominal bloating
What is aspartame used for?
The purpose of aspartame in food is to reduce the amount of sugar and calories. We may find it in many common foods including
- Carbonated soft drinks
- Powdered drinks
- Instant coffee and tea beverages
- Fruit juice
- Tabletop sweeteners
- Dairy products
- Frozen desserts, puddings
- Chewing gum
- Breath mints
However, it cannot be used in cooking or baking because aspartame is not stable and will hydrolyze (break down) into amino acids when heated to temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The function of aspartame is to act as a sugar substitute. It is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. Moreover, the calories in aspartame are negligible because it is so sweet that just 1 gram of the sweetener contains approximately just 17 calories.
What is the acceptable aspartame limit?
The acceptable daily intake of aspartame is 50 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day. This new study suggests that this number may be too high and should be more in the area of 20 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight. Acceptable daily intake is 50 mg for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ruled that aspartame is safe for human consumption and set an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 40 mg of aspartame per 2.2 pounds of body weight. The EFSA’s ADI for aspartame is 10 mg lower than the amount the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers safe.
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