Incredible thirst, hot weather or just taking a breath from your everyday activities, there’s nothing a nice, cold drink can’t help with. What makes it more desirable is avoiding all the calories most of them contain. A diet cola for example, contains a sweetener that has almost no calories and is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Aspartame is most commonly a soft drink ingredient, however it can also be used in numerous other “diet” foods. It is a target of people who are careful about maintaining their weight however are not prepared to give up the sweet and delicious treats they enjoy consuming. While the majority of people are extremely aware that aspartame is not exactly healthier than sugar, this most recent study ought to make even the most hard-core fans of “diet” products rethink their eating habits.
Researchers at the University of Iowa are sounding the alarm because new evidence suggests that aspartame is actually a lot more threatening to our health than was initially thought. In a long-term study on nearly 60,000 test subjects over 10 years, scientists examined the effects of artificial sweeteners on their health and the results were quite disturbing.
The study showed that consuming just two diet drinks a day could increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases by as much as 30%. It also showed that this level of diet drink consumption increased the likelihood of dying from a heart attack by as much as 50%.
Aspartame also has other negative effects. It can increase the risk of depression which in turn can make people more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases. Depression sufferers often exhibit behaviors that can damage the heart, e.g. above normal alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and a sedentary lifestyle.
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, aspartame can also cause many other problems for your physical and mental well-being. Here’s a list of conditions associated with aspartame consumption:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Personality changes
- Abdominal pain
But despite all of this, there’s still research that does not confirm the findings made in the Iowa University study. For example, the European Food Safety Authority performs regular testing on aspartame and concluded as recently as 2013 that neither it nor its by-products have any negative effect on the human body.
At the end of the day, people have to decide for themselves whether or not to include aspartame in their diet, but for the moment at least, the jury appears to be out. Maybe a few more studies will help scientists to reach a final verdict. Until then, the choice is yours.