Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are marketed to the masses as the solution for calorie control and weight loss. Between the years of 1960 and 1976 the obesity rate in the United States remained stable at around 24 percent of the population. From 1976 to 2010 the obesity rate in the US has more than doubled to an amazing 54 percent of the population. Synthetic sweeteners such as saccharin and later aspartame became widely used during the mid 1970’s; at the same time we as a population began getting fatter and fatter. How can this be? The dramatic increase in obesity seems to directly coincide with the massive infusion of chemical sweeteners into our diets.

There are certainly a variety of factors that have contributed to the growing obesity in America, but I believe that the use of chemical sweeteners has contributed greatly to the problem. Aspartame, which is the most used synthetic sweetener today, has been shown in multiple studies to increase appetite and cravings, particularly sweet cravings. Isn’t it ironic? People are using huge amounts of these chemicals to sweeten everything, yet these very chemicals are making them crave more sugars and more sweets from other sources.

Aspartame may be responsible for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. It is routinely diagnosed as the cause of elevated liver enzymes. Elevated liver enzymes are the precursor to full blown liver disease and doctors take it very seriously. When liver enzymes become elevated it means that the body is unable to process and ultimately rid itself of environmental or ingested toxins. Once aspartame is discontinued the liver enzymes usually return to normal. Other conditions that have been attributed to aspartame are chronic headaches, depression, dizziness, anxiety disorders, attention problems, memory loss, slurred speech and even vision problems. These symptoms are often referred to as “aspartame disease”.

Aspartame is made of two different amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Aspartic acid acts to excite the neurotransmitters in the brain and if other calming amino acids are not available this over stimulation can lead to mood disorders and nervous system problems. Phenylalanine also directly effects neurotransmitter function in the brain and interferes with normal brain chemistry. Altering of the brain chemistry is also thought to be responsible for the very addictive nature of aspartame. Many people say getting off diet drinks can be harder than quitting cigarettes.

There is another component of aspartame called methyl ester. Once methyl ester is digested it turns into methanol. Methanol is a wood alcohol that is used in everything from formaldehyde to powering internal combustion engines. It has a high toxicity in humans. If enough methanol is consumed it can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve and 30 milliliters can be fatal. It is no wonder that one of the most common symptoms of “aspartame disease” is vision problems, since this alcohol directly affects the optic nerve.

There is absolutely no reason today to be using chemical sweeteners. Why risk your health when there are great natural no calorie sweeteners such as Stevia readily available? Stevia is truly all natural and is not a chemical in any way. It comes directly from the Stevia plant that grows in South America. There are some natural soft drink companies currently producing Stevia sweetened sodas. I hope as Stevia becomes more popular the major players, Coke and Pepsi will get on board.

Author's Bio: 

David Oromaner is a vitamin, herb, and nutritional supplement specialist with over 25 years experience in the health and wellness industry. He is a certified personal fitness trainer and bodybuilder with 25 years of experience in these areas of health and fitness. He owns a company called Guaranteed Supplement Designs that specializes in development and distribution of cutting edge natural products such as the natural sleep aid GuaranteedToSleep.

If you like this article you can read more at his Healthy Notes blog.