Are Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners really worth the potential health risks?

After writing a recent article entitled, “Green Tea Helped Me Kick My Diet Coke Addiction,” it got me thinking about writing on the dangers and many health risks of the use of artificial sweeteners, also known as sugar substitutes. I was particularly interested in researching and writing about Aspartame, since that was the artificial sweetener used in my once beloved Diet Coke.

Aspartame is just the technical name, the consumer happy friendly names are Equal, Spoonful, and the ever so amusing marketing name Nutrasweet.  The clever idea of using the “Nutra” is suggesting that it is nutritious or even good for you, simply brilliant marketing I must admit. Please don’t be fooled by new products that have recently been released such as Splenda (Sucralose), unfortunately this product has not been on the market long enough to have adequate research and testing done and the long terms effects are not known at this time, but the immediate effects and research don’t look promising. Then there is the old favorite for so many, Sweet N’ Low, which there are endless mounds of paperwork on Saccharin and it’s health dangers.  All those cute colored little packets are just plain deadly.

Considering that people still smoke cigarettes when the deadly facts of smoking are well documented and clearly out there on the table, there’s no wonder the marketing geniuses know that people will turn a blind eye and that they will convince themselves the product is safe and good for them.

Recent Science and Medical research over the past few years has opened the door and has proven without a shadow of a doubt that Aspartame could very well be one the most dangerous substances (for the lack of a better word) that is being added to food today. Yikes!  Aspartame is listed as the third ingredient in Diet Coke, but not to single out Diet Coke, Aspartame can commonly be found in such things as sugar-free chewing gum, cereals, breath mints, shake mixes, frozen deserts, juice beverages, even multivitamins and milk drinks and the list goes on.

Authors of the book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James and Phyllis Baich list Aspartame under chemical poison, since it is made up of three chemicals- Aspartic acid (makes up 40% of Aspartame), Phenylalanine (which makes up 50% of Apartame) and Methanol (which makes up 10% of Aspartame and is used in making paint thinners, and when it’s metabolized in your body it turns into formaldehyde and formic acid) All these chemicals are linked to neurological disorders, among a host of other things.

I was recently on a message board for health and fitness professionals and was so disturbed to read that a personal trainer was saying that the first thing he does is take his clients off of sugar and instructs them to use artificial sweeteners instead. Wow! I feel sorry for his clients that they are actually paying money for such bad and unqualified advice. As an experienced and certified personal trainer, I thought it would have been a smarter and safer approach to have his clients to just back off and seriously limit their sugar intake altogether, especially if their concern was weight control. The trainer on the blog recommending his client to use artificial sweeteners may actually being sabotaging his clients weight-loss efforts.

One recently published study introduced evidence that artificial sweeteners play tricks on your body by interfering with the body’s natural ability to count calories (as well as process), thus making people more likely to drink more and eat more sweet things that are very high in calories.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated Aspartame accounted for more then seventy-five percent of the adverse reaction to food and beverages reported. Hundreds of well documented symptoms reported to the FDA which were a direct link to Aspartame just to name a few were: severe headaches, migraines, seizures, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, memory loss, anxiety attacks, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, weight gain (funny since it’s a main ingredient in diet food products), vision problems and joint pain.

If that wasn’t enough, doctors, health practitioners, science and medical researchers studying the negative effects of Aspartame have hard evidence that the ingestion of this harmful chemical can promote, prompt or worsen Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Brain Tumors, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, Lymphoma, Birth Defects and CFS- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Unfortunately, even though hard evidence suggests that Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are dangerous, there will be people that swear the information is not true.

After all, Big Tobacco is still denying that nicotine causes lung cancer.

Are Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners really worth the potential health risks?

I guess that’s for you to decide.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask a trainer!
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About the fitness underground

Los Angeles based Co-Founders of The Fitness Underground, Texas and Markus have drawn off their years of experience as certified personal trainers, an elite yoga instructor, a professional athlete and accomplished mixed martial artist, to create a new and innovative approach to health, fitness and well-being that not only enhances the body, but also enriches the mind. With a loyal following in the Los Angeles area, their powerful message of good health, clean living and the importance of exercise is changing people’s lives and in some cases, saving lives. It’s their strong belief that good health is the greatest gift we are given in life, one that we should always be mindful of, be incredibly grateful for and never take for granted. Life is too short not to listen to their powerful message. Start moving in a healthier direction today.
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