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Aspartame Side Effects

Updated April 17, 2017

Aspartame is low-calorie sweetener, often used in diet sodas and tea under the names NutraSweet or Equal. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has approved aspartame for consumption, but many are not convinced that it is a healthy alternative to sugar. Several side effects have been reported in those using aspartame, with symptoms ranging from mildly irritating to permanently debilitating.

Joint Pain

In 1991, Dr. H.J. Roberts reported that people ingesting large amounts of aspartame were experiencing difficulty and pain during joint motion. Others continue to notice joint discomfort or swelling while using aspartame.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Severe abdominal pain and even nausea are sometimes associated with aspartame. These effects are unlikely to cause death, but are very unpleasant and can prevent a person from completing daily tasks.

Skin Reactions

Rashes and itching are skin conditions commonly attributed to aspartame use. They can usually be seen around the mouth and on the lips.

Heart Concerns

Changes in heart palpitations, shortness of breath and a racing pulse are the primary heart problems that aspartame users experience.

Menstrual Cycle

The sweetener has the potential to alter a woman's menstrual cycle and increase the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

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About the Author

Samantha Herman earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northern Arizona University in 2005. Her professional writing career started in 2008, when she accepted an internship at "Willamette Week," a local alternative publication. Upon completing her internship, she became employed as a copywriter for an internet media company. In addition to copywriting, she has written articles for PDX Pipeline and eHow.