After delivering our 8th child, I was having trouble losing the baby weight so I joined Weight Watchers. If you are not familiar with Weight Watchers, each food is given a point value and you have an allotted amount of points per day. The benefit was that I could figure out the point value for my normal meals and continue eating what my family ate. The pitfall? A food’s points are based on the fat, fiber and calorie content of the food. And, as you can probably guess, the higher the fat content, the higher the point value! No delineation was made between good fats and bad fats – they were all bad! This was of course, before I knew about GAPS, real food and traditional methods of food preparation. Unfortunately, I had bought into the low fat/no fat propaganda hook line and sinker! But, at that point, all I cared about was losing the extra pounds and not looking like the mother of 8 or 9 or 10! With my success in losing the extra weight, I continued to use their method of weight loss after each additional child. I consistently lost 1 – 2 lbs per week. But, after one particularly difficult plateau period when I lost nothing, my instructor recommended I leave off diet sodas for 1 week to see if any further weight loss would occur. I stuck religiously to the program and after making this one change – no diet sodas for a week – my weight again began dropping. Amazingly, the first week I stopped drinking diet sodas, I dropped 7 pounds! Encouraged by my results, she began recommending that others also leave off diet sodas. The results were phenomenal – 7, 10 and even 15 pounds lost after 1 week of simply leaving off the diet drinks!
Many diet drinks contain aspartame, also know as NutraSweet or Equal. Aspartame was introduced in the early 1980 and is 180 times as sweet as sugar without the accompanying calories.
There are 3 ways in which aspartame may cause weight gain:
1. Urge to Eat
When a sweet taste stimulates the tongue, the brain programs the liver to prepare for acceptance of new energy (or sugar) from the incoming food and calories. The liver stops making sugar from proteins and starch reserves in the body and begins to store the metabolic fuels that are circulating the body. The liver is waiting for the nutrients available in the incoming food as signaled by the sweet taste on the tongue. The more a sweet taste without accompanying calories stimulates the taste buds, the more there is an urge to eat. This can equal weight gain!
2. Water Retention
Diet sodas may also cause water retention. A can of diet soda can contain as much as 40 mg of sodium. Now this may not seem like much but if you drink several a day, the amount of sodium in your diet can quickly get out of control – especially when accompanied by the normal American diet of processed foods which also contain high amounts of sodium. Too much sodium can cause water retention and equal weight gain!
According to the Mayo Clinic:
If you’re trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain, products sweetened with artificial sweeteners rather than with higher calorie table sugar may be an attractive option. On the other hand, some research has suggested that consuming artificial sweeteners may be associated with increased weight, but the cause is not yet known.
Other Physical Hazards Associated with Aspartame
Besides the possibility of weight gain, there are other potential health hazards associated with aspartame. These include: 1. Psychological symptoms – depression, aggression, anxiety, irritability, phobias, severe depression, personality changes, memory loss and mood disturbances. 2. Neurological symptoms - dizziness, numbness in the limbs, severe tremors, facial pain, seizures, headaches or migraines, confusion, fatigue, slurred speech and hyperactivity. 3. Physical symptoms - nausea, vertigo, skin lesions, ringing in the ears, loss of taste, muscular and joint pain, irregular menstrual cycle, heart attack symptoms and menstrual cramps, diarrhea, abdominal pain, painful swallowing, asthma-like symptoms, thinning hair, hair loss, burning during urination, excessive thirst, fluid retention, high blood pressure, allergic reactions in the mouth, weight gain or loss, leg swelling and bloating. 4. Carcinogenic – The ester bond in aspartame breaks down to formaldehyde and methanol, which are each toxic. It comes as no surprise that this popular artificial sweetener has also been associated with cancer. 5. Stroke - Two new studies by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers link diet soda and salt to increased risk of vascular events, including stroke.
Aspartame Breaks Down Into Formaldehyde in Your Body!
In the intestinal tract, aspartame breaks down into two neurotransmitter amino acids as well as methyl alcohol/formaldehyde. When you ingest aspartame, the methyl alcohol is metabolized into formaldehyde! Formaldehyde according to Wikipedia:
Commercial solutions of formaldehyde in water, commonly called formalin, were formerly used as disinfectants and for preservation of biological specimens. In view of its widespread use, toxicity and volatility, exposure to formaldehyde is a significant consideration for human health.
Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Supposedly, the liver makes the methyl alcohol harmless. I don’t know about you, but I am not willing to put into my body a “food” product with a known toxic byproduct! Save yourself and say “No” to aspartame! Sources: Huffington Post, LiveStrong 1 and 2, Mayo Clinic, National Cancer Institute, University of Miami, Wikipedia, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. Photo Credit © Depositphotos.com/romansigaev This post is part of: Sunday School, Marvelous Monday, Creative Juice, Family Table, Fat Tuesday, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Party Wave, Real Food Wednesday, Wheat Free Wednesday, Foods Wednesday, Delightfully Inspiring Thursday, Frugal Days, Keep It Real Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Thursday Treasures, Transformation Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday