Doctor Oz did a segment about aspertame on his show recently. I'm happy he finally acknowledged some of the problems with aspartame, but I don't think he went far enough about the dangers of this chemical.
That's right, aspertame is made of chemicals, nothing natural about it. Do you know how aspertame was discovered? A scientist was working on a new medication back in the 1960's and accidentally had a taste of what would become known as aspertame when it landed in his mouth. Doesn't sound too good for you, does it?
I'm not sure why the FDA approved aspertame (marketed as Equal) when there was already another possible cancer causing artificial sweetener on the markert known as saccharin, marketed as Sweet N Low. Why would we need another chemical based artificial sweetener on the market? It's not like aspertame was any safer than saccharin.
Aspertame has a huge presence in the marketplace... it's in virtually every sugar free product out there. And it you don't see aspertame in the ingredients, then it's probably sucralose, an artificial sweetener derived from sugar and marketed as Splenda. The problem with sucralose is that it's basically a chlorinated artificial sweetener, again, not a good alternative.
A much safer choice is stevia. The stevia leaves have a sweet taste with virtually no calories. I use Truvia (a stevia product) and gave up on any products with aspartame. This was not so easy, aspertame is in so many things, from diet soda to gum and even cough drops. If you're the type of person who can't drink water without a sweetener, here's a suggestion. There are water enhancers that many health food stores sell. These products usually have stevia as the sweetener and offer other benefits like Vitamin C. If you are truly obsessed with healthy eating, you could search for stevia products that don't use any chemicals during the processing.
There are multiple stories online about the dangers of aspertame, ranging from possible links to cancer, to multiple sclerosis to lupus. I don't want to debate whether these claims are true or not, but personally I think many of the claims are true. My sister had extreme depression and drank a ton of diet soda. A friend of the family has M.S. and she drinks a lot of diet soda. Even if you don't believe all the side effects that are possible with aspertame consumption, do you really want to ingest all those chemicals?
You should give up aspertame, especially if you are trying to lose weight, as Doctor Oz demonstrated on his show. And if the only reason you're using aspertame is to lose weight, then it's time to give it up and look for healthier choices!