Aspartame is a low calorie sweetener found in many diet foods and beverages. According to the Aspartame Information Service, it is 180 to 200 times sweeter than traditional sugar. Therefore, dieters can enjoy sweet treats with minimal risk to their waistline. It also allows diabetics to enjoy sugary foods without the risk of consuming sugar. Unfortunately, there are negative side effects as well. The term aspartame poisoning refers to the toxicity of aspartame in reference to a variety of possible complications.
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According to the Aspartame Information Service, James Schlatter, a scientist for G.D. Searle & Company, discovered aspartame in 1965. Since then, aspartame underwent over 100 tests before being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981. Since then many researchers voiced complaints regarding the toxicity of aspartame and attempted to reverse the FDA's decision. One researcher in particular, Dr. William Campbell Douglass, has been a major advocate. He cites on his website that aspartame alone is responsible for 75 per cent of complaints received by the FDA.
Aspartame poisoning doesn't refer to a specific condition but rather all of the negative effects aspartame can have on the body. According to the FDA, aspartame contains two amino acids -- aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Both of these substances occur naturally in the body, but certain amounts can be toxic. The toxicity of these amino acids are what gives meaning to the term aspartame poisoning.
The exact amount of aspartame that causes complications is undetermined. Researchers like Dr. Douglass believe that even small amounts can cause aspartame poisoning. He advocates avoiding it altogether. The bottom line is that side effects from aspartame are an individual reaction, and some people are simply more sensitive than others.
The most common complaints received by the FDA associated with aspartame include headaches, dizziness, mood swings, and nausea including vomiting and diarrhoea. In 2005, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also released a press statement stating aspartame causes cancer. The statement detailed the findings of a study the association conducted on rats. In this statement, the EFSA urged other associations to re-evaluate their use of aspartame. The FDA responded with its own press release stating it will continue to keep aspartame on its list of approved substances.
If you regularly consume aspartame and suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms, the only solution is to simply stop consuming the sweetener. If you're not positive aspartame causes your ailments, keep a food diary. Write down what you eat after each meal along with how you feel. You should notice trends. Share these trends with your health care provider. An allergy test won't work because aspartame poisoning isn't an allergy. The term simply refers to the negative effects aspartame can have on your body.
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