What is it?
Aspartame is a very sweet chemical used as an artificial sweetener.
It is made up of three chemicals: Aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. It is the technical name for products such as Equal and Nutrasweet.
Where do they stick it?
According to aspartame.org, aspartame is currently being consumed by over 200 million people in over 6,000 products.
This includes chewing gum, soft drinks, lollies, gelatins, pre mixed ‘box’ cakes and puddings, readymade frozen desserts and pies, yogurts, protein bars and of course sweeteners.
However, it is also in pharmaceuticals and your children’s juice and lunch box fillers to allow ‘sugar free’ to be slapped on the packaging.
If it’s in everything, what’s so bad about it and why should we avoid it?
Aspartate makes up 40% of aspartame. It acts as neurotransmitters in the brain, by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate in the brain allows an influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells.
Reported adverse reactions are varied and many, with over 90 different documented symptoms, including headaches, migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision and hearing problems/loss, anxiety, slurred speech, memory loss, joint pain and more.
Researchers have reported that the following chronic illnesses such as brain tumours, MS, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia and diabetes can be triggered or worsened by ingestion of aspartame.
We know that artificial sweeteners promote weight gain and research also shows that aspartame worsens insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar.
So, I recommend not eating it.
Get yourself some nice natural chewing gum from the health food shop if you feel you need it. Xylitol is a natural sweetener which, as it turn out, is really great for gum health too!
Most of your natural chewies are sweetened with xylitol, so not only are you avoiding aspartame, but you're also having something that is good for you teeth!