10 Side Effects of Consuming Aspartame Need To Be Aware
Aspartame or food additive that has E951 code is an artificial sweetener that was originally claimed to have more positive than negative effects. This material was originally produced in the United States to replace sucrose and added to certain foods with sugar free.
Furthermore, Britain follows the United States to produce aspartame and spread it around the world. That’s why almost all diet soda products contain aspartame.
Aspartame has a sweetness level of up to 200 times compared to sucrose. Food producers like it because it can save money. In Indonesia aspartame is better known by its trademark, namely NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame consists of 2 kinds of amino acids, namely:
- Aspartic acid – is a non-essential natural amino acid produced by the human body and some plants such as sugar cane, grains, and nuts. In the human body, aspartic acid serves to make hormones and support the work of the brain.
- Phenylalanine – is an amino acid that is not produced naturally by the human body. It is derived from mammalian milk, and some plants such as nuts and seeds. Phenylalanine serves to make proteins, brain chemicals, and hormones.
Until now experts are still debating the positive and negative effects of aspartame. Below we will discuss some of the side effects of consuming aspartame.
1. Containing Methanol
In human digestion, aspartame is broken down into 3 forms, namely aspartame acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Methanol is a harmful chemical substance which is usually present in alcohol.
Aspartame can cause acute poisoning that occurs 24 hours after consuming aspartame-containing foods. Poisoning may also occur after taking aspartame regularly for a period of time. Symptoms of aspartame poisoning are headache, nausea, vomiting, ringing ears, memory loss, and irritability. Symptoms may be similar to food allergies. But there is no need for excessive worry. You can learn several home remedies for food allergies.
3. Health Disorders in Some Organs
Aspartame can cause health problems in some organs. Generally, disorders occur in the heart, eyes, and ears. Consumption of aspartame in excessive amounts can cause chest tightness and irregular breath. It also causes heart beatings, high blood pressure and tachycardia. In the eyes, the adverse effects of aspartame are visual impairment, blurred eyes at certain times and can cause blindness. In the ears, the adverse effects of aspartame are hearing loss, tinnitus, and ear buzzing.
Although the research of American Association for Cancer Research in 2006 has proven that aspartame-containing soda does not cause or increase the risk of cancer, you should remain vigilant. The study refers to the consumption of aspartame in very small quantities in accordance with the recommended limits. Therefore avoid to consume aspartame in excess or regularly.
5. Neurological Disorders
One of the side effects of consuming aspartame is that it can cause a person to experience neurological disorders such as dizziness, confusion, memory loss, tremor and even epilepsy symptoms. This may be due to the methanol content in aspartame.
There are some people who are genetically unable to digest phenylallanin. They have a history of phenylketonuria which can not consume any type of artificial sweetener. Undigested phenylallanin can lead to hardening of the brain and disruption of brain function. It should be noted that most people do not realize if they have phenylketonuria. If you are in any doubt you should not take aspartame regularly.
7. Mental Disorders
Several studies have shown that aspartame consumption can cause adverse effects on behavior and mood. However aspartame does not cause depression directly. However, if a person has a history of depression, aspartame may trigger the onset of depression. Depression can also be caused by stress that comes from everyday life. Fortunately there are some tips on stress relievers.
8. Insomnia, Headache, Seizures
Although much research on aspartame has been done, no data has been completely valid. For a healthy person, aspartame does not have much effect on the body. But for someone who has or is sensitive to insomnia, headache, and seizures, aspartame can be a trigger especially if it is mixed in coffee as a substitute for sugar. In a 1992 study, food safety authorities in Europe said aspartame positively impacted seizures on person consumed it even though that person had no previous seizure history.
Previously aspartame was made to keep people from diabetes because of excessive consumption of sugar. As old saying goes too much of something is bad enough. There are lots of dangers of excessive sugar consumption. But this is only half the truth. Diabetes is not only influenced by sugar consumption but also by insulin resistance in the body. Therefore, aspartame consumption still allows a person to become diabetic.
10. Side Effects for Pregnant Women
Most food and beverage products containing aspartame also contain caffeine. This means that consuming aspartame is also likely to consume caffeine. Pregnant women are advised not to consume caffeine because it affects blood pressure and the fetus. The most feared is that aspartame can affect the function of fetus’ brain.
Pregnant women do not need to maintain their weight and limit their intake of food unless the doctor requires it. It would be better for pregnant women to consume natural foods rich in nutrients. Aspartame should be avoided as much as possible. In fact there are many things to watch out for during pregnancy. But if you are not ready with all the consequences of pregnancy, you can try various ways how to prevent pregnancy without side effects.
Whether or not aspartame really has bad effects is still debated. Consumption of products containing artificial chemicals can indeed cause concern. Therefore, if you really need to consume aspartame, you should comply with FDA recommendations that only allow 50 mg per day.
You should pay attention to it by reading the ingredients of each packaged food and drink. If you want to replace sugar in your food or drink, it would be better to use a natural sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, fruit juice, and so on. Besides, the natural lifestyle is healthier for us. So in order to avoid the side effects of consuming aspartame, it is a wise move if you use a natural sweetener.