In 1974 the US Food and Drug Administration approved the artificial sweetener, aspartame after a highly contested campaign to keep it out of our food and drinks. It is to this day controversial as critics alleged the approval process was not followed properly and was a conflict of interest (explained below). There are claims of numerous health risks caused by aspartame such as lupus, shooting pains, seizures, headaches, depression, anxiety, brain tumors, vision problems, weight gain, insomnia, tinnitus, memory loss and more. There have been research projects that examined and dismiss these claims, but far more substantiate them. In fact, in researching this article myself, I found very few articles disclaiming the harmful effects and hundreds warning us why we should not have this product in our bodies. For information disclaiming harmful effects, David Hattan who is the Director of the Division of Health Effects Evaluation in the FDA, has contested that aspartame was well tested and a safe product.
Aspartame (the technical name) is more commonly known by brand names such as NutraSweet, Equal and Spoonful. NutraSweet is a subsidiary company of Monsanto who is also controversial in GMOs. (hence the conflict of interest) In reported to the FDA aspartame accounts for 75 percent of adverse reactions to food additives causing sometimes very serious effects.
Aspartame is made of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. In a book written by James and Phyllis Balch called "The Prescription for Nutritional Healing" they list aspartame as a "chemical Poison". Without getting too technical, these chemicals are excitotoxins and they "excite" or stimulate neural cells literally to death. It slowly destroys neurons, up to 75 percent in the brain before symptoms of chronic illness are noticed such as MS, ALS, memory loss, hormonal problems, hearing loss, epilepsy, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, hypoglycemia, and AIDS.
Aspartame is especially harmful to children and pregnant women. Because a child's brain is not fully developed, it is very susceptible to the harmful chemicals. The chemicals have also been shown to cause birth defects.
It is believed that with the numerous cases of aspartame poisonings brought before congressional hearings, there has been nothing done to remove this product because the drug and chemical lobbies have very deep pockets. There are now over 5,000 products containing aspartame. Advertised as a diet product, research shows it makes you crave carbohydrates which in turn, makes you fat.
It is important that you read labels especially of any product that is sweet and claims to have few calories. Even sugarless gum contains it. The many tutorials I read while doing this research has convinced me to eliminate this from my diet. Also if you have any of the health problems I named, consider your choice for sugar-free to be a culprit.