Did you know that aspartame is a toxic artificial sweetener? And did you know it’s not healthier or safer than regular sugar? Did you also know that aspartame is 20 times sweeter than regular sugar? Aspartame was discovered by accident in 1965 by James Schlatter when he was trying to make ulcer drugs. It is also known by the names NutraSweet or Equal. Aspartame is made up of two amino acids – aspartate (40%) and phenylalanine(50%) both linked to methanol (10%). It is found in many products worldwide especially in diet drinks, sugar-free and other artificially sweetened products. RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU Did you know that there are side effects of aspartame that can be extremely dangerous to your health? Let’s take a look… Here are 4 side effects of aspartame you need to be aware of.. 1) Increases the risk of brain tumour An increased risk of brain tumour has been found to be one of the side effects of aspartame. Aspartame can over stimulate your brain cells causing it to become exhausted and eventually die, it is regarded as an excitotoxin. A study published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology found that compared to other environmental factors, aspartame was linked to an increased incidence and degree of malignancy of brain tumours. The aspartame molecule was found to have mutagenic properties. 2) Contributes to weight gain Do you chose artificial sweeteners like aspartame over sugar to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight? Did you know that weight gain is one of the side effects of aspartame? A San Antonio Heart Study published in the Obesity Journal examined the relationship between artificially sweetened drinks and long-term weight gain for over a period of 7-8 years. The study found that artificial sweeteners like aspartame was causing the obesity epidemic rather than fighting it. side effects of aspartame_1 Aspartame also quickly increases your insulin and leptin levels. High levels of leptin will lead to uncontrolled eating and weight gain at the same time high insulin level will increase fat storage, increase your craving for carbohydrates and lead to weight gain. High insulin and leptin levels are two of the driving forces behind weight gain and obesity. 3) Contributes to depression and mood disorders Mood disorders including depression has been found to be one of the side effects of aspartame. A study published in the Research in Nursing & Health journal examined healthy adults who consumed a high-aspartame diet and those who consumed a low-aspartame diet for a period of 8 days. The adults who consumed a high-aspartame diet showed more signs of depression, more irritable mood and performed badly on orientation tests. 4) Increases your risk of having a stroke An increased risk of having a stroke has been found to be one of the side effects of aspartame. Diet drinks often contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. The daily consumption of diet drinks has been linked to a higher risk of a stroke. A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine examined the diet and regular drinks of over 2000 people. The study found that those who drank diet drinks on a daily basis had a 43% higher risk of having a stroke compared to those who didn’t. The Bottom Line… There is a lot of evidence showing that the side effects of aspartame can be very dangerous to your health. It is better to use natural sweeteners like stevia. If you are overweight or have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it is advisable to stay away from all types of sweeteners including the artificial and natural ones. Connect here with WatchFit Expert Awele Anne Anyia References Olney J W, Farber N B, Spitznagel E, Robins L N (1996) Increasing brain tumour rates: is there a link to aspartame? Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 55: 1115-11123. PUBMED Fowler SP, Williams K, Resendez R G, Hunt K J, Hazuda H P, Stern M P (2008) Fueling the obesity epidemic? Artificially sweetened beverage use and long-term weight gain. Obesity, 16: 1894-18900. Lindseth G N, Coolahan S E, Petros T V, Lindseth P D (20140 Neurobehavioral effects of aspartame consumption. Research in Nursing & Health, 37:185-193. PUBMED. Gardener H, Rundek T, Markert M, Wright C B, Elkind M S V, Sacco R L (2012) Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 27: 1120-1126.

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