A couple months ago I decided to stop drinking soda beverages that contained sugar, because despite cycling often and living a somewhat physically active lifestyle, I wanted to avoid Diabetes and the other side affects of sugar that may negatively impact me. I still wanted to drink these beverages, so I have since opted to purchase the variety of these beverages that substitutes sugar with aspertame. More recently, I have read from many sources that Aspertame is significantly worse than sugar as it causes mainly cancer and weight gain, among other things.

I know Aspertame does not cause weight loss, at least not in any significant way, and that Diet soda, contradictory to its name, is not the key to having a successful diet. I do not drink diet soda to loose weight, as I do not have to worry about beng overweight in any way. I drink diet soda purely because I was under the impression that it was better than regular sugar soda, however now I am unsure of which is better now.

So, Are the claims that aspartame has severe negative effects true? should I go back to drinking non-diet soda?

I'm sorry if this question does not fit here- This seemed like the best StackExchange site for my question.

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    Probably worth mentioning that moderate exercise removes a lot of the drawbacks of sugar consumption (well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/…). Personally, I find it preferable to just eat the sugar. – Sean Duggan Aug 6 '14 at 13:17
  • So I have heard... Im probably going back to sugar. – Ben Franchuk Aug 8 '14 at 7:18

Contrary to John's answer, I've also heard that aspertame is bad for constant consumption. Your question made me search more on the topic and came up with the following sources

  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/06/aspartame-most-dangerous-substance-added-to-food.aspx: Excerpts from the source:

    How Aspartate (and Glutamate) Cause Damage

    Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as "excitotoxins." They "excite" or stimulate the neural cells to death.

    Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form (unbound to proteins), it significantly raises the blood plasma level of aspartate and glutamate. The excess aspartate and glutamate in the blood plasma shortly after ingesting aspartame or products with free glutamic acid (glutamate precursor) leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain.

    The risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with certain chronic health problems from excitotoxins are great. Even the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which usually understates problems and mimics the FDA party-line, recently stated in a review that glutamic acid should be avoided by women of childbearing age.

  • http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/aspartame. Conclusion from this link is that there's no conclusive evidence that aspertame is carcinogenic (matching John's answer).

Right now, there's no conclusive evidence against aspertame. That being said, I personally avoid all diet drinks. I drink water most of the time and if/when I need soda, I go for the real, full-caloried versions. That way,

  • I ration what I drink. And if/when I drink in excess, I know I have to burn it off
  • I know what I'm consuming. And more importantly, I enjoy it. I don't want to put synthetic sugar/whatever into my body that might have repercussions later.
  • I remind myself of the purpose of the drink and act accordingly. I know a few guys who drink these "diet drinks" constantly because they presume they are low-caloried. And I see their body fats increasing.

When something is inconclusive (and even when it is), it's always your personal choice to determine if you want it or not.
For me, there's time to indulge and there's time to abstain. Your mileage may vary.


"Is diet soda less healthy than regular soda?"

Hysteria around the aspartame in diet drinks is not justified by the evidence

It is quite hard to prove a negative but the simple observation that hundreds of millions of people take aspartame containing drinks every day without apparently causing any notable epidemiological evidence of all the effects should be of some significance. As far as I can tell no such evidence has ever been presented and most of the "evidence" is merely anecdotal.

"Does aspartame cause cancer?"

According to the National Health Institute, there is no evidence suggesting aspartame causes cancer.

"Does aspartame eat holes in your cellular membranes?"

There is no compelling scientific evidence that normal use of Aspartame as a sweetener in foods causes problems of the kinds suggested.

Allegations against Aspartame have been made since the 1970s. Scientific investigations of the evidence in total do not support claims that Aspartame is demonstrably harmful in the way suggested.

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