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Cutting out aspartame, will it really make a difference?

Hey all, I have been an avid diet soda drinker for years. Now I am trying to lose weight . I have avoided aspartame, splenda, etc for a week now, and just drink tea sweetened with stevia.
I know there are a couple of threads on this, but, does it really make a difference in weight if you've been consuming a lot of aspartame, to stop it cold? I haven't noticed anything so far...although my cravings for carbs are a little better.

Fri. Feb 9, 8:42pm

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I am wondering the same thing. I have heard that the artificial sweeteners just make things worse by making you hungrier/unable to taste real sugar so you want MORE, yet they are in so many of my lower calorie foods that i eat (ff yogurt, diet soda, flavored water, etc.) I really like drinking carbonated drinks to fill me up (works better than plain water) but if it's working against me than maybe I should switch... There is so many varying concepts on this it's hard to know what to believe!

Saturday, February 10, 2007, 9:47 AM

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I am a type 1 diabetic and thought I was doing the right things by drinking diet sodas, teas, etc.
I was recently in icu with an aggravated low blood sugar. While in there my dr. saw a can of diet soda sitting on my table. He asked if I drank a lot of this and I said yes. He showed me that it contained a product called phenylketonurics. As most diabetics suffer from ketone problems I was shocked to see this added to diet products. I also noticed that all that had this, also had aspartame. Which, by the way, the dr. told me can make you fat.
Well .. I have completely stopped anything with this in and am waiting to see if it makes a difference.
Just wanted to say this because I am sure I am not the only overweight diabetic out there thinking we are doing the right things. Look up phenylketonurics.... I think you will also be shocked.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 8:45 AM

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YES YES YES YES! I found out I have an allergy to aspertame. I have not had aspertaime for 6 months and completely feel different! I do not have brain fog, fatigue, leg pain, muscle weakness. I've also dropped weight from giving up diet pop. I feel great!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 10:01 AM

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I've noticed this - I sure don't pair soda (diet or otherwise) or any 'sweet' drink with anything healthy. I crave salty, greasy, heavy foods when I drink soda and light, crisp, clean flavors with water. Whether or not it has aspartame or sugar makes no difference in the foods it goes with. In fact it has become a quick litmus test - 'do I want soda with this? must not be terribly healthy.' (and it's usually not)

It sure has made a difference for me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 10:12 AM

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i would like to work on my diet soda/flavored water addiction just to see if it helps. Right now I have either a diet soda or flavored water once a day. A friend told me to use seltzer w/ a splash of juice. Going to try it this week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 10:30 AM

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I dont really think it makes a difference on the diet front but it might make you bloat. I have terrible IBS like symptoms when I have anything with it in! I try to avoid it all together. I found this out whilst eating STUTE jam (diabetic) it make me very poorly! i looked pregnant at one point. Which didnt do much for my figure!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 11:48 AM

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I have been trying to cut back on the diet soda, but have now found it "necessary" to have a coffee in the morning to get my caffeine. otherwise, I seem to have a headache all day. any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 11:53 AM

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I think that aspartame and a lot of diet and FF products promote the type of eating and drinking that I am trying to train myself out of. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy food and a good meal is tops in my books. But I'm looking to teach myself to eat what & when I need food for fuel not to find things that I can eat that don't translate into calories once inside my body.

I've gone completely in the opposite direction since I've started concentrating on healthy eating. I now use whole cane sugar, in moderation of course and have tried to eliminate processed and fake sugar and foods in general.

Not only do I feel better and enjoy food so much more, but I'm absolutely seeing success at the scale.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 12:09 PM

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I'm with you 12:09--since discovering a load of food allergies for myself and my daughter, I cook more like I was living in the 50's with fresh foods and making things from scratch. I would rather have a few extra calories from wholesome, natural sugar than pile on the chemicals from processed junk.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 2:25 PM

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11:53- I don't think it's really a big deal to have a coffee in the morning (as long as you don't load it up with cream and sugar). Coffee has a lot of benefits, like antioxidants.

If you really want to cut it out though, then ease back slowly so your body will get used to being without the caffeine gradually. That should help with the headaches.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 9:02 PM

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Here's my theory...

If aspartame causes your body to react as if it just consumed real sugar and creates hunger / insulin spikes, then just don't drink it on its own. If you have it with your meal instead of in between, it shouldn't affect your appetite and thus ability to lose weight - as long as those meals have a reasonable amount of protein and fiber, which really do help you feel satisfied longer (one of the few new pieces of standard advice that I truly believe, from experience).

11:53 - As for needing caffeine - yes, some of us do. Unless you were drinking more than a 6-pack of diet soda a day, your new need for coffee probably isn't a caffeine withdrawal issue. A 12oz cup of coffee = 5 cans of diet coke in caffeine terms, and sensitivity to less than 200mg a day is pretty uncommon. While caffeine causes migraines for some people, for me it's part of the cure and even prevention. I'm guessing we have that in common.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008, 12:12 PM

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Diet Soda.

I was a real avid diet soda drinker. Cut it out three weeks ago and have lost 9 lbs to date. I haven't done anything else differently.. just cut out the soda. Went from 151 to 142.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 4:59 PM

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So true what 10:12 said about sweet drinks making me crave unhealty stuff like french fries.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 6:13 PM

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I loove stevia!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 7:43 PM

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Agave Nectar is my favorite :)

4:59 that is awesome!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 8:06 PM

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I am convinced it will make a difference. I don't have any scientific evidence but anectoctal evidence suggests it definitely will help your hunger and need for bad food.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008, 10:19 AM

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Thank you so much for posting this thread. I thought I was seeing extra bloat because of diet soda once I started paying attention, but I wasn't sure. I also realize that I do feel hungrier after having it, even if I have it with food.
I appreciate the comment about drinking coffee to help with withdrawal, because I had that pop in my head too. This was so helpful!
I also noticed that friends and family who drink non-diet drinks tend to be slimmer and healthier overall, even those who have sodas with their meals. I'm sure there's no direct correlation (or maybe somewhat?), but it's nice to know things can be normal and you can lose weight.
I'm really inspired by the pp who lost 9 lbs just by cutting out diet soda. WOW!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008, 11:34 AM

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Aspartame is the FDA's number one most compalined about ingredient because of the long list of side effects it has been proven to cause including arthritis, birth defects, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer's, lupus. MS and diabetes. It also turns into formaldehyde in your body. Yummy, huh?

The book "Skinny Bitch" will make you give up diet soda forever!

Thursday, August 07, 2008, 1:45 PM

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I read in "Skinny Bitch" that aspartame turns into formaldahyde in your system, which is a carcinogen therefore excess consumption could give you cancer. I've also read that aspartame is treated as sugar b your body, meaning your body produces insulin just like it would if you were inducing sugar, leading to cravings.

I notice that when I don't drink it or use it, I don't get hungry at night for sweet things.

Monday, September 29, 2008, 2:42 PM

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I was an extreme sugar addict - even though everything else in my diet was super healthy. I cut out the diet soda and my sugar cravings are much much less. I still crave a cookie when I see one, but I don't think about going to the store to get cookies and candy all day long. It was hard for about a week but now I am so happy I just did it.

Monday, September 29, 2008, 3:45 PM

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Giving up diet drinks!

I was diagnosed with Lupus in Nov. 2008. In February 2009 I decided to give up diet drinks because I had read so many negative articles about aspartame. I feel soooo much better these days. My lupus symptoms are almost nonexistent and I feel better all around!!

I am a firm believer in good, ole fashioned sugar (when needed!)

Monday, March 30, 2009, 2:48 PM

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it does make you hungrier!!!

i read in "your big fat boyfriend" about aspartame and sucralose making you hungrier, which made me discover that i was drinking tons of diet soda and i had sucralose in a ton of other things i ate, like low fat yogurt. i cut out all aspartame and diet soda, but i still have the yogurt. i haven't had any soda in over a month. it did take maybe 2-3 weeks to notice the difference, but it definitely has made one. i'm not constantly hungry, i don't get those little mental cravings for something sugary, i just feel better overall.

Monday, March 30, 2009, 3:20 PM

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Quitting artificial sweeteners (along with HFCS & anything hydrogenated) was part of the keystone of healthier eating for me. I noticed I had less cravings right away, and my mood swings were better too. I'll never go back to that ... well, crap. Sugar = inflammation, and using products that mimic sugar and keep an artificial concept of what 'sweet' is can't be good for us. Now I eat fruit and love every bite - and I'm able to keep to small servings of sugary treats when out and about at celebrations. My mom raised me on diet drinks, I can't help but wonder how my life might have been different if that hadn't happened, or if I had quit sooner. At least I know now, thank heavens.

Monday, March 30, 2009, 7:06 PM

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Try going without for a few weeks and see how you feel. Simple as that!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 5:19 AM

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in the new PEERtrainer Cheat System, things like aspartame you need to count as a cheat.

Link above lets you download the system for free.

Monday, February 28, 2011, 5:46 PM

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This new article explains why cutting out aspartame is a really good idea:

Why You Want To Cut Out Aspartame

Aspartame and Formaldehyde

Aspartame is an interesting molecule, more closely related to a protein than a sugar. It is formed of two amino acids (phenylalanine and aspartic acid) and a methyl ester. Our body metabolises it completely in the intestinal tract to its amino acid components and methanol, which is reduced by our body to formaldehyde and then formic acid. Because it is easily and fully metabolized, it is unlikely to enter our bloodstream whole.

One issue often raised is that one of the metabolites of aspartame is methanol, which accounts for about 10% of the broken down molecule. Methanol is poisonous to our body, but we are equipped to deal with it in small amounts. Once methanol reaches the liver, it is converted enzymatically to formaldehyde which is then mostly converted to formic acid, the substance to which all aspects of methanol poisoning are attributed. Methanol is found naturally in many fruits and vegetables as well, but it is found in conjunction with higher amounts of ethanol, which utilizes the same enzyme as methanol. When methanol is unsuccessfully converted, it is excreted harmlessly through our urine.

Many notable proponents of aspartame, including groups such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association, or ADA), argue that our body is equipped to rapidly metabolise methanol and formaldehyde, and that formaldehyde is actually a useful building block in small amounts.

To argue that formaldehyde is a useful building block in small amounts is like saying arsenic can be a useful building block--both formaldehyde and arsenic are used by our body in extremely small amounts, but they're also both toxic when those amounts rise. Our body has enough formaldehyde naturally present to build anything it might need, consuming more will not provide any benefit.

Studies of smokers, who inhale formaldehyde directly into their system, demonstrate the potential dangers of even a very small amount of excess formaldehyde. A cigarette contains roughly 20 micrograms of formaldehyde, which once inhaled will be completely metabolised within 1-2 minutes. The problem is that the formaldehyde also very rapidly forms compounds known as formaldehyde-DNA adducts, which basically means the formaldehyde attaches itself irreversibly to our DNA.

In a healthy individual, these compounds would form rarely and be destroyed by safety measures built into our system, such as apoptosis (programmed cell death). In individuals who form a lot of these compounds, due to increased exposure to formaldehyde, they may end up building up and could play a role in the onset of certain cancers.


Wednesday, June 06, 2012, 2:09 PM

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I cut out all products with aspartame or other artificial sweeteners a few months ago. Before that I had been drinking on average around one caffeine-free diet coke a day. I know since then I have lost some weight, but at the time I cut out the aspartame, I also improved my diet overall. Therefore, I cannot really say with any certainty whether the aspartame had any effect on my weight, although I have a suspicion that it might have helped. But a WARNING for you: STEVIA IS NOT REALLY STEVIA. A friend of the family mentioned to me a while ago, after I cut out "all" artificial sweeteners, that stevia pretty much always contains something besides stevia. I looked on the ingredients on the boxes of all the brands around me and found he was right. Safeway brand had aspartame as the first ingredient. They only have stevia as a secondary extract so they can label it that way. Sugar in the Raw brand was a bit better. It had dextrose (just normal glucose sugar) listed as the main ingredient, but overall the same deal as Safeway brand. I did some math and figured out that almost all of the mass of these products was either aspartame or sugar, and almost none stevia in both cases. They were able to say it was "No Calories" only because each serving (one packet) was less than half a gram, which the FDA considers negligible. In other words, what is marketed as stevia is usually really only another sweetener, with stevia added so they can market it that way. LOOK AT THE FULL LIST OF INGREDIENTS IN THE BOX BEFORE BUYING STEVIA. I don't know of any brands of stevia extract that are really stevia extract.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 7:07 AM

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