Aspartylphenylalanine-methyl-ester is one of the most dangerous drugs on the street. And we are all consuming it.
Let’s go back to the beginning…
A few years ago a friend of mine, Curt, told me about his mother who had suffered from chronic migraines her whole life. Curt’s mother visited multiple neurology physicians, tried various pharmaceuticals, holistic remedies, and other treatments, but nothing would stop the eye-piercing, debilitating headaches. She couldn’t be in a well-lit room without wincing in pain and even the sound of a pin drop could bring her to tears. These were “crawl into a ball, close your eyes, and want to never wake-up” type of headaches.
As Curt started his story, he had my attention quickly. After all, I also suffer from similar migraines and was, at the time, attempting to document each of my headaches and their possible symptoms. I would take note of surrounding lighting, my diet, sleep, stress, caffeine intake, and so on. I desperately hoped to discover what was causing these mind-shattering headaches and how I could stop these migraines, which I was, at the time, getting about one per month.
To medicate, I carried with me everywhere a dose of Excedrin Migraine, but that dependency was beginning to frustrate me. At times the migraine would commence and I would scramble to find or buy some Excedrin. The good news is: the meds worked. The bad news is: I had to carry it with me at all times, never knowing when the next migraine would spin up.
Back to Curt’s mom. As the story goes, she was an avid Diet Coke drinker and was drinking about ten Diet Cokes per day. Yes, ten! After a visit to the doctor and some very high blood pressure readings, Curt’s mom took up the effort to lose her excess body fat and, in turn, she reduced her Diet Coke intake to one Diet Coke per day.
Her hard work paid off. She dropped pounds and was much happier. But, unfortunately, it didn’t have any effect on her frequent migraines. They still kept knocking her off of her feet time and time again.
Yet, thankfully, years later, some research was released about the dangers of artificial sweeteners in soda and soft drinks and, specifically how they affected lab rats (more on this soon). Because of the study, Curt’s mom decided to stop drinking Diet Coke and consequently, her lifelong battle with migraines was won!
Curt’s mom’s brain was suffering from side effects of Aspartylphenylalanine-methyl-ester, or more commonly known as Aspartame, and guess what, yours might be too, whether you experience migraines or not.
If you live in America and you aren’t eating a perfect Paleo diet (let’s face it, who is?) then you are probably consuming Aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. To be clear, an artificial sweetener is a substitute for sugar that gives the sugar taste with a more highly concentrated composite of minerals. It has about 100-200 times the flavor potency of sugar. This makes artificial sweeteners economically more efficient because, simply, less is needed to produce the same flavor.
Aspartame, in particular, is one of the most common of these sweeteners. It was discovered in 1965 by Dr. Robert Mazer and James Schlatter while experimenting and searching for a medication for ulcers. Mazer, while working in the lab, accidentally got some of the chemicals on his finger and then licked it. To his surprise, the white powder was sweet, like sugar. The way his tastebuds responded that day revolutionized processed foods and the industrialized grocery commerce system for years to come. More on this story here.
Over the years since 1965, the FDA has tested Aspartame on many accounts and has never found any major health issues, but other independent studies have been conducted and have revealed otherwise.
Without diving too deep here, you should know that Aspartame is composed of three main elements:
- Aspartic acid
I will let you do your own research on these ingredients and simply state that these chemicals are not good for your brain or your body.
Below is a list of some of the claimed side effects of Aspartame according to some of these independent studies. Though the FDA disputes the claims, and there seem to be valid scientific findings on both sides, it is important to be aware of its possibilities, considering aspartame is found in so many of the foods, drinks, and medicines that we consume.
Personally, I avoid Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners as often as possible. I’m not perfect, but being aware has led me to choose, or not choose, certain foods depending on if Aspartame is in them or not. Even lately, I have been searching for gum and mints that do not have Aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. This is a tough challenge. The “natural” gum I have found loses its flavor very fast. If you want to see a list of other foods with Aspartame, visit this article on Deep Roots At Home website. It will blow your mind.
Possible Effects of Consuming Aspartame:
(This list is from the Sweet Poison website, and, while I have zero scientific research to back this up, I think it is still worth discussing.)
- epileptic seizures
- headaches, migraines and (some severe)
- dizziness, unsteadiness, both
- confusion, memory loss, both
- severe drowsiness and sleepiness
- paresthesia or numbness of the limbs
- severe slurring of speech
- severe hyperactivity and restless legs
- atypical facial pain
- severe tremors
- palpitations, tachycardia
- shortness of breath
- recent high blood pressure
- loss of control of diabetes
- menstrual changes
- marked thinning or loss of hair
- marked weight loss
- gradual weight gain
- aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- irreversible brain damage
- birth defects, including mental retardation
- peptic ulcers
- increased craving for sweets
- hyperactivity in children
- severe depression
- aggressive behavior
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Ok, now that you’re scared to death of Aspartame, you might be asking the question of how to avoid it? If it feels unrealistic to avoid artificial sweeteners completely, then I advise to simply choose foods with real sugar instead.
Maybe this seems like a poor alternative. After all, we have been raised to believe that sugar will kill us (and it could), but the truth is that our bodies can break down and process sugar better than these chemicals like Aspartame. Another simple rule I have is to avoid anything that is labeled “Sugar-Free” but still tastes sugary.
Lastly, stop reading the label of foods and looking for “Calories” as your main measure of health quality, and start reading the “Ingredients” instead. If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, there’s a chance it isn’t good for you. After all, you wouldn’t dump a random bottle of liquid into your car’s gas tank, so why would you do the same with your body.
In summary: Avoid Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Sure, maybe they won’t kill you. But then again, maybe they will.