As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to use aspartame in my coffee. As well, whenever I could, I opted for the "sugar free" variety of everything. After all, reducing sugar was the goal and aspartame was "safe" so it was a win win situation. Right?
I wish I knew then what I know now, without having had to learn it first- hand at the expense of my health. Very expensive lesson (and I'm not talking expensive as in monetary value here).
My own personal experience using this FDA "approved" substance together with the many other "approved-today-oops-dangerous-after-all-tomorrow" things, have left me extremely skeptical, especially of all sweeteners. I hear sweetener "A" has been tested and is safe or Sweetener XYZ is a natural substance and therefore safe and my radar goes off. To me, it's just not worth the risk of consuming it only to find out later on it's caused me another health issue. There are so many "things" in our foods these days, sometimes lurking under another, unrecognizable name, that I try to eat a whole foods only diet (well as whole as one can get these days).
When I started to look further into the whole aspartame thing, I was shocked at the sheer number of products we consume which contain aspartame or other artificial sweetener.
Items like (but not limited to):
- diet soda
- flavoured waters
- drink powders
- anything marked "sugar-free" It has to get its sweetness from somewhere and if it isn't from sugar, it's more often than not, something artificial.
- sugar-free candies
- chewable vitamins (children's vitamins!)
- chewing gum (sugar free)
- some over-the-counter medicines (like cough drops, cough syrups)
- some prescription medicines (I was shocked to see my husband's migraine medication contained it, especially when headaches are a known side-effect of aspartame)
- frozen desserts
- some yogurt
- some puddings
- some condiments and sauces
The list goes of products goes on and on (One list indicated it's in as many as SIX THOUSAND different products!). The take away thought here is, we MUST become label readers. Better yet, buying things that don't require a label are even better.
Even though the FDA itself lists 92 known side effects of aspartame ingestion, it's still on the market today.
Sweet Misery A Poisoned World (found here) is an EXCELLENT, must-see, documentary about aspartame. It provides an in-depth look into many aspects of Aspartame, starting from its very beginnings. Many experts, such as Drs., Specialists and Attorneys as well as a former FDA Investigator are interviewed. Each one of them gives an amazing, many times shocking, account of all that went into getting Aspartame approved and on the market. It's quite disturbing actually. There's also interviews with aspartame victims and what they went through. Together, they all uncover so much and it was a real, eye-opener for me.
Yes, it was an expensive lesson for me to learn and it is my hope to keep as many people as possible from going through it too.
Balance.....despite the chaos!