Recognizing Aspartame Side Effects and Symptoms

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Aspartame is an artificial sweetener safety-approved by regulatory agencies in over 100 countries, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. Other endorsements of the safety of aspartame come from The American Medical Association, the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association. Aspartame has undergone hundreds of studies, and passed consistently. However, side effects do occur in some people who ingest aspartame.

  • Pay attention. By recognizing aspartame side effects early on, reactions are usually easily resolved. Avoiding aspartame ingestion prevents further issues, and no permanent damage occurs inside the body. Some side effects of aspartame are so mild that people don't realize a reaction occurs. These include gastrointestinal issues such as loose stools or excess gas, irritability, fatigue or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Because reactions increase over time, it is important to recognize these symptoms early on.

  • Determine usage levels. Most of the issues with aspartame arise at high levels of consumption. To prevent many of the side effects, and eliminate the more serious ones, use aspartame in moderation. Extensive studies suggest that consumption of aspartame below the acceptable daily intake (ADI) level does not cause side adverse reactions.

  • Know aspartame's history. Consumers have reported aspartame side effects since 1974. The FDA follows up complaints with constant testing and reporting on the artificial sweetener. The FDA lists close to a hundred reported side effects of aspartame on its website. Aspartame makes up the largest percent of consumer complaints to the FDA, with over half of the total number of complaints about consumer issues.

  • Understand how it happens. Unlike saccharin, aspartame breaks down to solution form. The digestive system processes aspartame, letting the body process the solution. Aspartame can then deposit inside any tissue inside the human body.

  • Detoxify. The only way to see the true side effects of aspartame is to stop using it and note whether the symptoms disappear. Detoxifying the body takes anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, so symptoms of aspartame side effects may not disappear immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • Aspartame has to be included on the label of any food that contains it. The FDA's requirement requires that any ingredient, including aspartame, is clearly marked. Food companies cannot withhold information about aspartame from their labels.
  • Some signs and symptoms of an aspartame reaction are extremely serious and require immediate medical intervention. These reactions include difficulty breathing, dramatic mental changes, vision changes, severe pain, coma, seizure and death.

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