Commentary

Which Is Junk: The Aspartame, or the Science?


 

MAYBE IT'S US …

Every time the “fasten seat belt” sign comes on, the ride gets very bumpy—so from now on, I’m going to ignore it. Aspartame “tricks our brain,” does it? What about agency? Or are we just passive leaves in the air blown about by gusts of aspartame?

Robert Pearlman, PA
Providence, RI

FAST TRACK FROM SWEET TO SOUR

Thank you for shedding light on the dangers of aspartame! My personal experience with it has not been good: One night, after drinking a large quantity of artificially sweetened powdered iced tea, I began to feel numb and experienced strange nerve sensations. I quickly learned that it is a migraine trigger for me. I now avoid aspartame and all other artificial sweeteners.

As a clinical dietitian (and NP), I’ve realized that fake food just doesn’t cut it for the body. Another issue in the dietary realm is that of folic acid. Yes, fortification has done wonders for preventing neural tube defects. But did you know that the folic acid put in our grains is a chemical that our bodies have to methylate to folinic acid, and that more than half of us do not do that well? This means excess synthetic folic acid is floating around in our bodies and brains, attributing to seizures, ADD, ADHD, migraines, miscarriages, etc.

I try to avoid eating foods with added folic acid. Talk about difficult! It means eating a lot of organic grains, whole grains, and natural vitamins with natural methylfolate to prevent anemia. Our bodies are designed to eat natural foods; the more processed something is, the more likely it is to be harmful to us.

Caroline Conneen, C-FNP, RD, IBCLC
Fredericksburg, VA

FAKE FOOD, NOT OUR FRIEND

My husband was habitually drinking flavored seltzer sweetened with aspartame when he became anxious, irritable, and developed insomnia. As soon as he stopped consuming it, the adverse effects dissipated. Since then, he has been astute about reading labels, and we do not support the use of any artificial sweeteners.

I believe aspartame should be taken off the market. The Internet is full of articles that report adverse effects from it. It seems more people are trying to avoid it. As an FNP and PMHNP, I educate my clients about aspartame and how it can exacerbate preexisting problems and contribute to insomnia, mood disorders, and panic/anxiety disorders.

I appreciate your scientific information about aspartame. We need to talk more about this chemical food additive; it is not our friend.

SUCRALOSE, ASPARTAME … ARE THE EFFECTS ONE AND THE SAME?

I have had negative thoughts concerning artificial sweeteners, including sucralose, which seems to be commonly used these days. I do not like the way I feel after ingesting these substances; it’s hard to describe—I just don’t feel right. I wonder if one answer lies in genomics and an individual’s inability to metabolize it? And to think of the byproducts you describe. Thank you for bringing this topic to light.

Anna Simon, CRNP
Allentown, PA

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