Aspartame Detox And Withdrawal

aspartame sampe


In late 2010, I was having about three coffees per day, each one with an Equal or two. In addition, I’d drink about four or five cups a day of grape drink sweetened with aspartame. This isn’t including any of the other sugar-free products I’d drink or eat occasionally.

At the end of that December, I decided I would stop eating any form of aspartame (also called Equal or Nutrasweet) as a New Year’s resolution.

I was a healthy and fit guy who exercised almost daily, took vitamins, and made my best effort to eat right. I didn’t feel that consuming aspartame fit with my other healthy lifestyle choices.

Aspartame can cause a host of problems, such as headaches, vision problems, fatigue, and depression. However, the worst of aspartame side effects is the impact it has on neurons. It can actually destroy brain cells. Here is an article about more of aspartame’s negative side effects.

This article lists my experience with aspartame detox and withdrawal. I’m not a doctor and this isn’t medical advice. I’m not arguing to ban aspartame and I’d never judge those who use. These are just my experiences that I’ve shared for everyone’s benefit. It’s about being informed and quitting if you desire. If you have problems or questions when giving up Equal consult a doctor.

Quitting Aspartame

On January 1st, 2011, I just simply stopped consuming aspartame of any kind. I didn’t stop gradually; I just quit cold turkey. Was it the best method? I’m not sure. I assumed that quitting aspartame was as easy as giving up any other “food” or drink.

However, as you’ll read below, I was wrong. Looking back, a more gradual detox process would’ve been better. If you’re considering quitting aspartame, try to wean yourself more slowly by cutting back before quitting.

Aspartame Withdrawal

I can’t say if my symptoms were genuine withdrawal, my body detoxing, or some other type of reaction related to quitting aspartame. By far, my biggest aspartame withdrawal symptom was a headache. I have no history of headaches at all (I get about one mild one per year), but the day after I quit aspartame, my head felt horrible!

Along with the pain, came a huge light sensitivity. I couldn’t stand any sort of light. Not only that, but when I closed my eyes, I could still “see” the light from lamps or other bulbs in my mind’s eye. It was awful and I can’t remember ever feeling like that before (or after).

Fortunately, my symptoms only lasted a couple of days. I think it’s because I am generally healthy and followed a simple aspartame detox plan (below).

Aspartame Detox

First, I drank lots and lots of water. Keeping myself hydrated made sure that any toxins being produced left my body as quickly as possible. It also flushed out any aspartame residue out of my system that much more quickly.

Second, I exercised. It wasn’t the easiest with a splitting headache, but (after taking a few aspirin) I still forced myself to do it. I sweated like crazy, which undoubtedly pushed more junk out through my pores. I always feel better after exercise, so this helped my overall mental health too.

Third, I began to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and cut out other chemicals. Although my diet was generally good, I still wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting new chemicals in my body while I was detoxing the old ones (aspartame). I switched to sucralose (Splenda), but also gave that up as well.


I still have a taste for sweet things. For example, I love coffee, but find it too bitter without cream and some type of sweetness. But, without Equal or Splenda as options, I was at a loss. That’s when I discovered stevia.

We’ve written an entire review of this natural herb entitled what is stevia that can tell you more about it. Basically, stevia is an all natural no calorie sweetener. Although the taste is slightly bitter, it doesn’t have near the side effects and possible downsides of aspartame and sucralose.

If you are having some aspartame detox and withdrawal issues, I hope my tips have helped you better deal with it.

About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a writer, speaker, dating expert, and business owner. His articles have been viewed millions of times, and he has been featured in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal.


  1. It’s December 28 and for my New Year’s resolution I have decided to cut out artificial sweeteners. My doc told me last year to quit drinking diet soda but it was tough. It’s been several weeks without aspartame and now several days without sucralose. No withdrawal symptoms yet but I didn’t drink a ton of diet soda but I did like my diet coke. And I thought Diet 7up with splenda was ok….nope. Not that either. It was also the “light” yogurts and the drink mixes I put in my bottled water that added to the mix.

    I thought Soda Stream was better with sucralose but I was wrong. I’ll get the sparkling naturals with sugar only and NO sucralose. It will be water and home-made iced tea from now on. No artificial sweeteners. I’d rather stick with plain ole sugar!

    I just went through the kitchen and threw out anything with aspartame. Wish me luck. First I’ll get off artificial sweeteners and then GMO food. One step at a time. 🙂

  2. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Best of luck with it all Robin! I also gave up sucralose recently. I’ve started using stevia. Have you tried it? It’s a natural zero calorie sweetener. I don’t like the taste as much as Splenda, but it is still pretty good, at least in coffee.

  3. Thank you for the information, following some research I am hoping it’s not too late for me. Many thanks again

    • Jonathan Bennett says:

      Gail, from what I’ve read about aspartame, once you quit there shouldn’t be any lingering effects.

  4. I found out that there is aspartame in Diet Pepsi, my drink of choice.One of which I have been trying to stop drinking for weight loss reasons.

    is my blog of which I write about my life without my favorite soda. I did notice I got the headache thing but I knew that was coming because of when I had tried to quit before. The other think I noticed was I had more energy.

  5. I gave up aspartame about a week ago. Since then I have had a mild headache between my eyes but I have been dizzy and nauseated to the point I just want to sleep. And my heart is rapid. Any suggestions?

    • Jonathan Bennett says:

      I would definitely consult a doctor in your case. Your symptoms seem very extreme and may not be aspartame withdrawal. They could be something more serious.

  6. Ed Downing says:

    To say I was an aspartame abuser is really putting it mildly….
    I drink coffee a lot and didn’t want the calories associated with sugar, plus I work in a factory
    which often hits in the 90’s and drank diet drinks during the heat.
    In December of 2012 I started have vision problems which my ophthalmologist diagnosed as early macular degeneration.(I’m 55) The doctors solution was to inject a cancer drug called Avastin into the eye, the drug lessens the swelling of the blood vessels that cause the leaking into and behind the retina.
    After some research I had found that aspartame has been associated with macular degeneration. So I quit cold turkey. Ouch
    Headaches and sleeplessness began.

    It’s been a couple of weeks, things are now getting back to normal.
    My vision is improving slightly, but I won’t be able to see any real proof until March 25 when the ophthalmologist has a chance to laser scan my eye again. We can then compare the previous tests….

    I elected to not start the eye injections until I’ve had time to see if the lack of aspartame is helping.
    I will keep you informed,

    Ed Downing

    • Jonathan Bennett says:

      Thank you for sharing, Ed. Please update us on your condition and progress.

    • Hi Ed, how have your eyes been doing since you quit aspartame and did your follow up tests show improvement? I too was a heavy user of aspartame (10-12 cans of diet soda per day) and my eyes are having issues related to AMD (drusen in both eyes) and I’m only 38. Pretty scary stuff and I’m trying to detox off all the poisons/toxins.

      • The problem with my right eye persists. However my left has no problems at all. I’ve learned some other things since quitting aspartame. Aspartame inhibits the absorption of iodine. I don’t salt my foods, so iodized salt was not on my radar. I wasn’t getting much from my diet…… I had problems with the heels of my feet splitting and my index fingers having the skin dry and crack. Signs of a thyroid gland not working properly. All because of a lack of iodine. I’m currently taking kelp pills (iodine supplement) which has stopped the dry skin.

    • Ali burdick says:

      Yay!! I’m so glad you decided to stop! I’m in the same boat. After a slew of health problems I decided to quit drinking any aspartame before making any Decisions.

  7. Debbie Kelly says:

    I gave up aspartame too.I’m having alot of insomnia and anxiety issues. I caved in and had a half a can two days in a row and the symptoms disappeared

  8. I LOVE coke zero and Splenda (addiction type of love) but I gave up all artificial sweetener after reading all the negative impact on health. My whole body hurt about four days after, for about three days the pain was crazy. I suffer from aggressive arthritis but this pain was so different. Now, about three weeks in, I have relief from that pain. I do see my rheumatologist tomorrow and will discuss the symptoms with her.

  9. I’ve been drinking 8-10 Diet Dr. Pepper’s a day for the last 8 years or so. Ya, I have a problem. I knew I was addicted, I didn’t know it was killing me, until recently. Chronic fatigue, depression, irritability, night sweats, and panic attacks began ruling my life. Medical science couldn’t find a thing wrong with my body. My chiropractor suggested it may be aspertame poisoning…worth a try in my book. Today makes 3 days since my last DDP and guess what? I feel amazing! Oh I have an annoying headache right between my eyes and I’m irritable from not getting my fix and ya my moods are a bit swingy right now. But I have been sleeping like a baby and my energy returned almost immediately. I feel like me again! I can’t wait to see the me I can be once this stuff is completely detoxed from my system!

  10. Lindsay Nicholson says:

    I gave up aspartame, (cold turkey) about 2 weeks ago. Since giving it I’ve felt much better within myself. I found it interesting when you say you sweating loads when excerising was that just due to working out more or due to detoxing from the aspartame. I excerise regularly anyway but since giving up I am sweating so much whilst at the gym. After reading what you’ve put I’m hoping its a good thing. I am going to up my water intake too just help flush everything out.

  11. Thank goodness I have never been an artificial sweetener user. I try to keep my drinks simple. Water, coffee, wine. That’s about it. I used to use cream and sugar in my coffee, but I knew that much sugar wasn’t good for me. So I forced myself to drink my coffee black for a week, and I started liking it. Now, that’s just how I drink it. You may want to give it a try. You can get used to consuming foods and drinks that just aren’t sweet. It’s worth a try. Good luck to you all. I commend you in your journey to better health!

  12. Hello! Glad to have found this board. I gave up Diet Coke four days in a row. I had participated in a “green” event this weekend and day five was a doozy. I had the worst headache, an anxiety attack and I was so discombobulated that I didn’t know which way was up. I knew it wasn’t a caffeine withdrawal, it was the aspertame withdrawal. The funny thing is, everyone said it was typical caffeine withdrawal. After reading the posts and others on the web, I KNOW for sure I was having aspertame withdrawal.

    I am going to wean myself from Diet Coke. Acutally, I already did, but never made the final wean from one/day. On Saturday, I drank 6 ounces of a Diet coke (couldn’t finish the 12 oz can) and as I sit and type this, there is a 12-oz can on my desk. I had just enough to take away the headache and I am about to refill my 20 oz. water cup.

    I started juicing 10 days ago and wanted to change every thing for the better. It’s best to do baby steps. I love juicing and already my body is feeling the benefits of this healthy drink every morning. (My basic is 3 carrots, 1 tomato and 1 green apple. I’ll add in radish, kale, lime, parsnip or beets if I had it on hand.)

    I know now that aspertame is not good and I am surprised that every adverse health condition I have could most likely be caused by the ONE diet coke/day that I have. Time for a change. Thank you!

    p.s. The true fact is, after drinking just 6 ouces of Diet Coke on Saturday, I ended up overeating on Saturday AND Sunday, because I wasn’t satisfied. When, when I went the four days without a Diet Coke, even though I had a headache and was juicing, my appetite was happy and I felt good all day.

    One question (sorry for the long letter). Is it okay to take acetaminophen or other headache medicine when the headache comes back?

  13. I absolutely adore my Diet Coke…this is going to be rough. 3 years ago I had an event which landed me in the hospital for 8 days. On day 8 they sent me home with a walker which I used for 2 months. Today they say I’m having migraines without pain. If there are too many things going on around me I feel drunk. This includes trouble walking and talking. The triggers can be visual, audio or stress. I have abou 8 of these a day. I can’t work and I’m on disability.
    I’ve decided to get away from aspartame to see if it makes a difference. Wish me luck!

    • After years of consuming over 4 cans a day of diet coke and/or diet dew I have quit CD turkey. Day 3 today and I feel line death. My head has never felt such throbbing odd pain. My eyes can’t seem to focus and I have waves of dizziness and nausea. I know I should probably attempted to do this gradually but I would have never stopped. I read withdrawal symptoms can last up to a month. I hope not…

  14. I was drinking a 2 liter of Coke Zero or Diet Dr Pepper a day. I LOVE Coke Zero, but I received a text from my cousin about aspartame poisoning. I had almost every single side effect. I got so angry at myself that I quit cold turkey. I did have a packet of Splenda with some iced tea last night, but I am sick of putting chemicals in my body. The scariest side effect of the Aspartame was the weak legs. It scared me half to death. Quite honestly, I don’t want to put any more soda in my body ever again. Not worth it.

  15. i have quit aspartame for 4 days now. i have an annoying headache and feel lightheaded and cant sleep. cant wait for this to go. aspartame nearly killed a guy at work a few years ago by destroying his liver. i have started a low carb diet also. the problem is that i like a drink. now what can i drink in a pub? my drink is usually jamesons and diet coke. what can i replace it with that has no aspartame in and is low in calories and carbs?

  16. I was drinking 2+ liters of coke zero cherry daily. A month ago my feet began to burn. I was convinced I had neuropathy. All my lab work is negative including A1C, CMP, CBc, complete thyroid profile, and CRP. I Had worked out 5x weekly. I have quit drinking most anything but water. My feet still burn but possibly better. If I am experiencing toxicity how
    Long until it resolves?

  17. Sandy Tipps says:

    I have been drinking Diet drinks since I was 18. Started out drinking TAB and Diet Pepsi w/o caffeine was my latest. I am now 55 years old and after reading all the info on aspartame have quit cold turkey-last 3 days. No headache-but bloating has gone away. I was diagnosed with Bi-polar with severe panic attacks at age 25-hoping this will help relieve those issues. My whole body aches-I have gained over 75 pounds in 10 years. Would love to spend the rest of my life enjoying it without anxiety-excessive weight and all of my body hurting. Not to mention the fact I have dentures from the Diet drinks rotting out my teeth!

  18. I began giving up my Diet coke addiction 24 hours ago. After talking to a friend that told me of his issues with aspartame, i decided i would try the cold turkey method. I was drinking about 2 liters a day, and was waking up with a headache nearly every morning. I also noticed my depression getting worse, moodiness more often, and a loss of energy. Hoping to see good results from giving up my soda!

  19. In the past 3 months I somehow gained 30 pounds. The only real lifestyle change I can think of that has happened in this time frame was I started drinking diet soda more often. Is it possible that my weight gain is linked to this?

  20. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Although weight gain can be unique to an individual, there is a recent study that shows obesity linked to diet soda:

  21. Kelly Tanner says:

    I am going to give up my 6+ Diet Cokes a day in a week… (after my vacation for Labor Day). I am scared. I have bi-polar disorder, anxiety attacks, fibro, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, colitis, GERD, graves disease and have had a tumor removed with my ovaries 6 years ago. I am overweight and weak. My right side falls asleep all the time. I am 40, my memory is ok, but my vision is deteriorating. I work full time and I am a full time mom. Diet Coke is not only a physical addiction, but an emotional one. I wake up, and I feel terrible, I drink a Diet Coke. It gives me what I’m sure is a false high. But nonetheless, helps me get going. I usually have to keep drinking them to get through the day. I drink a lot of water, so I’m not sure if I’m getting the worst of the symptoms. I would love to feel better. Feel normal. If anyone has any suggestions for coping with the detox/withdrawl, I would greatly appreciate it.

  22. I have been drinking Diet Pepsi for 25 years, 32 plus ounces/day. After missing my periods for a few months at age 43 I decided to give up aspartame. I stopped drinking in cold turkey. I had horrible withdrawl symptoms, so bad that I ended up getting an MRI. I had headache, dizziness, tingling in my hands and feet, frequent urination and general anxiety. Its amazing that this can do this to your body. I urge people to discontinue using aspartame. I drank white tea, ate lots of green veggies and almonds. I also took epson baths. My symtoms decreased after the first week but probably lasted almost three. So happy to be free of this addiction!

    • I’ve suffered from migraines for the past 5 years. However, when I started taking Elavil 5 years ago they went away. Last May (5 months ago) my family physician suggested that I switch from regular to diet soda. About that same time my psychiatrist began tapering me off of Elavil. She wanted to clean house on some of my many psych meds. I didn’t put 2 & 2 together until just yesterday. About the time I was decreasing my Elavil & increasing my aspartame intake (via diet soda) I began getting non-stop headaches, a general feeling of fogginess & vision issues (numerous floaters & flashing lights in the corners if my eyes). I’d never had ocular migraines in the past. So my family physician increased my Elavil back to my previous level. It didn’t help with the headaches or vision issues. Next he tried changing my blood pressure medication to one that is also used for headaches. Still no change. Last week he have me a prescription for Imitrex, now a third med specifically for migraines. He told me to try it & have me a referral to a Neurologist. Still didn’t help. All the while my anxiety is becoming uncontrollable. I still have headaches. I’m tired ALL the time. I’m failing at my attempt to eat healthy. I can’t exercise because the headaches, tiredness & vision issues are becoming impossible.

      So this takes me to yesterday. Had my usual coffee in the morning. Took my daughter to a doctor’s appt. Had a drink from Starbucks. Slight headache but amazed that ibuprofen actually helped a little. Didn’t have a diet soda until 4pm. Literally halfway through the can and…here comes the dreaded headache. I’ve been doing research on all types of headaches recently. This one didn’t seem to follow stress…so probably not a tension headache. Don’t feel stopped up at all…so probably not a sinus headache. It finally dawned on me that it occurred only AFTER consuming diet soda. So I researched aspartame & voila my symptoms are right in front of me. I call my niece because she’s seriously health conscious. I’m finding arguments on both sides of the aspartame issue. She also works at an optometrist office. She gives me the low down on aspartame.

      So here I go aspartame free!! I only used it heavily for 5 months. Hopefully I won’t have such serious withdrawals. However, I would go through hell just to know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel!!!

      • Kelly Tanner says:

        YOU CAN DO THIS!! I have been aspertame free for 5 weeks today. I can say my “fibromyalsia” is gone. I have a ruptured disk in my neck, so that still bugs, but seriously, I feel so much better. I have been drowning myself in water to detox. I have lemonade as a treat with REAL sugar, but NO more Aspertame. You have to be careful with foods too. I was shocked to find out how many foods have aspertame.
        You will have Strange withdrawl symptoms, but you can do this. I was drinking about a 12 pack a day of Diet Coke, and I did it! YOU can TOO! Hugs and prayers your way!!

  23. This is the start of week 3 without diet soda. It’s been pure, physical hell but I am determined that I will never drink another diet soda again. The aspartame caused horrific body aches, and the withdrawal is even worse. But I know it’s going to be worth it.

  24. starting my detox today…after numerous MRIs for visual acuity issues, ear ringing, imbalance issues, tingling in my face….I am eager to take the poison out of my body. If I would have know any of this I would have not gone to the numerous drs…..ent, eye, nuerologist…it has been a nightmare trying to figure out what was going on with me. Any tips on the detox process would be appreciated. Thanks for all of the insight.

    • Jonathan Bennett says:

      I hope this is the source of your issues and you can get past it. Although you should consult with a doctor, personally I found drinking lots of water, eating naturally, and getting my body moving very helpful.

  25. I gave up aspartame a month ago. What a trip. My legs have been cramping every nite cannot get into a comfortable position to sleep. I keep hoping soon it will stop. Already I can sleep a few hrs without problems a plus for me after sleeping 4 hrs a nite for years. Keeping a positive outlook that the leg pains will go away forever. Drinking water and ice tea to flush out anything left of the aspartame.

  26. I have quit drinking diet cokes. I expected the headache because of the caffeine but I did not expect the gnawing sensation in my stomach. I have been drinking more water and am also trying to cut out the sweets mainly chocolate. Has anyone else had the hunger sensations? Amy in GA. Thanks for your input.

  27. Coca Cola makes diet coke with splenda

  28. Gloria Rombough-Kron says:

    I’ve been drinking about 3L of diet coke a day for almost 25 years. I quit cold turkey on January 1, 2014. The headaches are over but the joint and muscle pain has me in tears some days. Does anyone know how long this can last and what I can do to help detox ?
    Many thanks ! Gloria

  29. Colleen Lockwood says:

    I decided to quit drinking diet sodas the first day or so of February as a small thing I could change on my weight loss journey with Weight Watchers. I have been completely off of diet drinks since February 16, 2014. I am in hell. I have headaches that start in the base of my skull and travel down my neck and into my shoulders. I have trouble sleeping and now my stomach is bothering me. It almost feels like the flu.I exercise regularly and have been drinking tons of water, I’m just praying the symptoms don’t last too much longer. I’ve read it could last as many as 60 days. Is that true?

  30. I’m glad this thread is still active. I’m feeling pretty desperate and could use some good news. I’ve been a big diet coke drinker for the last 8 years and I think slowly but surely it instilled a bad anxiety disorder in me. I find it terrifying to do things I used to not give a second thought about, like applying for new jobs, going to interviews..or even the concept of a new job. Have seen doctors about depression in the past and some of that’s taken care of, but I’m hoping this anxiety is aspartame related so that I can do something about it, like quitting! Thanks to anyone with input!

  31. Vincent Costen says:

    I quit diet sodas & aspartame 2 weeks ago, and a week into it my body started to ache after any work/excersize… even just light household chores. Finally I realized what was happening, I was having withdrawals. Didn’t add them all up until I saw them here-
    Light headed/dizziness, muscles aching, headaches, sensitivity to light, irritability, flu-like symptoms, and my body is craving fast-food. More than ever. Regular food does nothing for me, but if I eat some fast food, I genuinly feel satisfied. Now I know the reason, and am starting to open my eyes to this problem. My body doesn’t know any better… We’ve been sold & fed the wrong foods all along. So glad I found this information and other people with similar stories, was starting to think it was just me.

  32. Chewed Orbits and Extra for years. Started Jiu Jitsu training about 7 years ago but found I’d be sore for days and sometimes weeks afterwards which really stunted my training. I figured I was just getting older and accepted it. Gave up Orbits a month ago and I swear to you my body became 20 years younger. I’ve gone to class now 7 times in 10 days. It’s miraculous. I can’t believe it took me this long to realize that I was slowly poisoning myself. Get this stuff OFF the market.

  33. I tried getting off of it cold turkey, and boy did I get depressed and tired. But, I felt better in many ways, with less muscle tension, greater concentration, and less anxiety. I did go back to it again (but not as much) because I couldn’t take the depression, but plan to quit again, this time gradually tapering off of it, to avoid that depression again. I may just use those packets of Nutra sweet in water, maybe start with 4 a day, and go down one packet a week until I am off of it completely.

    • Thank you all for this information. I thought I was falling apart. I suspected it was aspartame withdrawals. My body aches so much right now. It has been five days. Hopefully, it will get better soon. I thought I was doing the right thing by using the sugar substutute. Wow, was I wrong!

  34. Kathy Hall says:

    I have been free of Aspartame for a couple of weeks now. I am 100 percent better. I was hurting all over. If I sat down I hardly could get up. I had every ailment that aspartame caused. The dr said I had fibromyalgia. Nope, I was poisoning myself. Sprite zero, trident gum. I am so glad I stopped consuming Aspartame.

  35. Wow…it absolutely baffles my mind that companies are allowed to poison the citizens of this country and do it with the FDA’s blessings. The FDA knows that it kills brain cells and causes all the other harm but in the end money rules! It is disgusting! Even more laughable is that this poison is legal but marijuana ( which can be used to help people with a hundred different medical problems ) is on the list with Heroin. Also sad is the fact that we Americans know exactly what we are doing when we ingest this poison ( I used to do it too ) we not only allow the FDA to approve of the crap but we take it in with open arms whilst complaining about how poison it its. LOL we are weird humans aren’t we? I love America and the Government BUT the people who run the government are hideous, disgusting pieces of trash ( not all, just most ) We are supposed to be protected by the FDA from these worthless wastes of human garbage who own these companies, but money talks. Oh Please, Oh please let some awesome human being start a food company that only buys from America and only uses KAL Stevia in it’s sweets and cares about other humans. I would do it if I won the Lotto.

  36. Wow…after reading the past posts, I too am suffering from withdrawal…I thought it was the caffeine…I drank Crystal Light…started nine years ago to cut down on calories…I have the tingling in my face, weakness in legs, tingling in legs, body aches…in fact, am sitting here reading these posts because the aching in my legs was miserable and I could not fall asleep.

  37. Wow is what I am saying after reading these post. I only learned how dangerous aspartame was yesterday on facebook and started doing a little research. I have a lot of the signs of the aspartame poisoning going on. I am on day two of my detox. I was consuming about 75 packets of equal a day. It was causing me to be hyperglycemic, restless leg syndrome, headaches, leg and toe cramps, hair loss, stomach pain all of which I had no idea why. I am paying close attention to see if getting this stuff out of my system helps which I’m sure it will. It is so scary to realize that what you think is better for you is really hurting you. It is nice to know you are not alone though not that I wish this on anybody. If I can get back to this site I will keep everyone updated on my progress. Need lots of prayers, that’s for sure.

  38. Great to find this site – thank you for all the useful info. I’ve been suffering from ‘funny turns’ and generally feel various strains of crap, even since shedding 2.5 stone, getting fit to do 2 tough mudders and quitting smoking. In fact, I would say it has been worse since getting fitter. For the past 7+ years, I have chewed 20 to 30 pieces of Wrigleys extra per day (contains Aspartame), this has helped with quitting smoking and weight loss, but has just generally been a bad habit.
    My symptoms have been light headedness, heart palpitations, aching body, rashes, hair loss, sharp toe pains, restless leg syndrome, all at varying degrees. I have had an ECG, blood tests etc all of which show my organs to be in good health, yet I feel so awful at times.
    I have had this nag in the back of my mind about Aspartame for some time, especially as I was told some years ago about it’s ill-effects, so I decided to quit ‘cold turkey’ on Friday night so am only on Day 3. Too early to tell if it will make the difference, but I will keep you posted.

    • Jonathan Bennett says:

      Thank you for sharing. Please do keep us updated. It’s interesting that you have run two Tough Mudders. We’ve run 3 and love it. We’ve switched to stevia, an all natural, no calorie sweetener. You might find some success with it.


  39. I was so glad to find I am not alone on this journey. For many years I remained ignorant of diet products, not wanting to give up my precious diet coke and pepsi zero. I can not even believe how I could have happily consumed more than 2 liters of the stuff every single day, and allow my body to slowly fall apart. Not wanting to acknowledge it was the diet coke and pepsi zero that did all the damage. I tried truly everything to feel better. I quit smoking. Drank green smoothies daily. Ate only fresh produce. But felt horrible all the time. I suffered constant exhaustion. Lethargy. Stabbing pains randomly. Horrid hair loss. Depression. Panic attacks. Heavily grooved nails. Deteriorating eye sight. Weight gain when I was barely eating. Bloating. Itchy skin. And so many more odd symptoms.

    I finally faced the fact that it just had to be artificial sweeteners, because heaven knows I tried everything else through elimination to improve my health.

    I am now almost 3 weeks into no artificial sweetener in any form, and I can honestly say I feel so much better. I am hoping my hair will start re-growing. And my nails will improve. But one thing is certain. I have lots more energy. And the constant aching all over my body is gone. It is almost miraculous. My eye sight is still not right ( a sense of flickering remains ) and I don’t have that feeling of constant doom and death over me.

    I am not sure how long it takes for the aspartame to leave the body, and if the damage that it did cause will be lasting. But I will never use any artificial sweetener ever again.
    It astonishes me that such a product is readily available in so many foods and drinks. It should be taken off the market, and people should be made aware it is making them horribly sick.

  40. CokeZeroAddict says:

    I am in my 10th day of no Aspartame. I was a 2L+ a day person (weekends usually 4L+). The first week I kept having what I consider aspartame side effects: chronic fatigue, light sensitivity, etc. Withdrawal symptoms included irritability, toe pain, mild joint pain and headaches.

    I am feeling much better, however, I can still nap at the drop of a hat. I hope that I do get energy back as a result of the detox process.

  41. I drank at least 8-24oz bottles of diet Pepsi every day for at least past 15 years. Treated for add, depression and anxiety, been on numerous medications and went to my PCP constantly because of fatigue even had a sleep study and everything comes back negative. I have joint pain so bad hard to walk sometimes. After I drank my 4th can of diet Pepsi at a Christmas party this past year, someone pointed to aspartame under the ingredients, he asked me to read about it. What I read scared me about the poison I was putting in my body and I stopped col turkey on New Years eve. I have not had one since. I definitely feel a difference but makes me nervous that I’m not having the awful withdrawal people talk about, mainly just occasional headache and mild fatigue. Can I expect it to get worse? Any thoughts?

  42. Both my husband and I have been drinking diet soda for 1 year and decided to quit 6 days ago. On day 1 we BOTH had the worst headache of our lives. Other symptoms we have been experiencing are blurred vision, nausea, dizziness. We decided to quit because I started experiencing numbness and tingling in my extremities. The withdrawl symptoms are REAL. We are never going back.

  43. Janet Thoms says:

    How do you know Stevia will not have the same side effects as the other sweetness ten years down the road. I say stick to real sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup. May have more calories but are not chemicals or poisons entering your body. I just started eliminating sweetness from my diet because i had a lot of health issues popping up that my doctor could not explain. I did some research on sweetness and every one of my symptoms were on the list of side effects of artificial sweeteners. I have decided to eliminate the sweetness to see if the symptoms go away. I am not sticking to natural sweeteners that my body knows what to do with.

  44. Sherry Newman says:

    I have quit after 30 years of diet soda. I was thinking something was wrong with me when I had the body aches and tiredness but after reading all of the above letters I see that it is probably from withdrawal, it has only been about 1-1/2 wks since I quit completely. I sure hope I get more energy soon. I really appreciate all the info on this board. I am going to see the doctor the end of the month just to make sure my leg aches and such are attributed to the aspartame withdrawal. thanks again

  45. I decided to stop drinking diet coke on January 8th of this year. I found myself drinking 2-4 cans a day for the past 20 or so years. Initially, the muscles in my arms felt as though they had been cut in half and reattached to my bones, and lifting a clothes basket became a challenge. The muscles in my legs felt exceedingly heavy, and I felt that instead of walking straight I walked at an angle to the left. I found concentrating on the most simplest of tasks
    difficult–my thought processes always seemed fuzzy. This was most disturbing to me so when I went to my physician for a yearly checkup I mentioned all of the above to him, and he stated it was all related to withdrawl of aspartame and caffeine. I am very pleased to say that I feel wonderful today. I start my day with breakfast and a hot chocolate instead of diet coke.
    My symptoms lasted two and a half months. I hope my story will help someone else. Please hang in there; I am living proof that it does get better and you will feel wonderful.

    • RobinK says:

      Thank you so very much for sharing. I am having the same symptoms and I have been off of aspartame and caffeine for 3 weeks now. I will pray to have the same benefits as you.

    • Thank you so much for this. Its my 12 day. Need to stay strong. Your words cheered me up. 🙂

  46. Meh… I commented about this time last year with suspicions that Aspartame was the culprit behind my anxiety. Was hoping for some confirmation from others, but nada. Found out for myself after a year free of aspartame ingestion. NOPE! Not the cause. Not one iota of negative impact in fact. Thought you all would like to hear a different side to the story for a change.

  47. Lorrie Clemmer says:

    Did anyone have their legs hurt after quitting aspertame? I have been off diet drinks 3 days, and my legs have been hurting and I stay sleepy all the time. When will this end? and will quitting diet sodas help me to lose weight, drinking nothing but water and unsweeten tea.

    • Stephanie says:

      I’ve just found this podt when searching for aspartame withdrawal symptoms. I know you posted quite awhile ago, but I am having the exact same symptoms of leg pain and lethargy. I’m only four days out, so I hope the muscle aches become less as the chemicals leave my body.

      I am missing the Coke Zero for sure, but these withdrawal symptoms confirm that I’m doing the right thing! Thank you for this post and for all who shared their experiences.

  48. Thank you, I have just finished a book “rise of the fourth riegh” and was shocked to Herat only half of what I knew about aspartame, AND saculose! Today I am quitting! I went online seeking a detox, and I found it. Thanks

  49. Nancy Spet says:

    I have a friend who stopped drinking Diet Pepsi and she’s acting like its the end of the world she’s skipped out on work for 2 days…moaning and stuff about how she can’t do anything because she stopped drinking and doesn’t feel good… She needs to suck it up… and do her damn job…

  50. Im a 34 male healthy and fit, other than drinking diet Mt. Dew for over ten years in excess. Sometimes up to 10 cans a day. I definitely found everyone’s comments to be comforting since I had no idea aspartame withdrawal could be so scary at times. I decided to pay it forward and give a breakdown of my symptoms and timeframe it took me to feel better. Within a week I noticed dull headaches started middle of my head and day to day would move around my head. I seriously thought I caught a flew since one day all I wanted to do was sleep. If I would get up I could feel my heart beat in my head. I had been working out threw this whole time when I could. I also noticed prickling …kinda like little needle pokes around my whole body, sometimes intermediate pains in muscles. My heart rate had been elevated for days since quitting diet mt dew…still is but not as bad now. When I noticed the worst withdrawal issues was around the end of week two. I seriously thought I was having a heart attack one day. It started with adrenaline like shooting in my head and sometimes feet, followed by tingling in my left arm mostly with the pins and needless feeling. I had pain in my chest really bad that day over a half hour period…I thought I was having a allergic reaction at one point. This happened less in severity over the next few days, but was extremely worrisome. I pinpointed what was the cause for me that triggered it the most ( any sugar, or caffeine) so the only thing that would calm me down was my sleep aid( benedryl) or a natural supplement I bought called Anxie-T. So im guessing it was a panic attack. Watch the way your body feels…for me some days I was tired and could handle some caffeine and sugar…but some days I had more energy than I knew what to do with, and those days it helped tremendously to avoid sugar and caffeine. I would change from sleepy to total energy sometimes in one day without any stimulants! I also had intermediate joint pain mostly in my left elbow but it would move around….lots of headaches…and also after I would consume sugar( second week) my head would plug up off and on like I needed to yawn to pop it, along with ringing in my ear. Freaky and scary stuff aspartame is! I will never again use anything with that in it again!! Also be very mindful of other things you consume as they may contain sucralose as well as aspartame that you are not aware of. My protein bars had sucralose and that could have made it worse for me coming off of aspartame. One huge thing I found interesting is I do not sweat hardly at all while working out like I used to…while having a lot more energy after my workout, along with a clearer head! Good luck to everyone giving this crap up!!! Hang in there it gets tremendously better right after it seems the worst! 3 weeks for me total, but im sure longer without my gym time in. I hope this helps someone else out!

  51. Hi Carol I know it’s been awhile since your response. Just wondering how you’re feeling and if all your symptoms disappeared? I have the same symptoms as you and would like to know how long they lasted.
    Thank you

  52. Aspartame is harmless. Aspartame is composed of two amino acids, two of the twenty basic amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are programmed by DNA. Amino acids compose all proteins. We are basically composed of proteins. If you haven’t eaten or drank for a while and you taste something sweet in your mouth you are tasting your own aspartame that happened to form from loose amino acids from your proteins in your mouth. It is obvious that aspartame is absolutely harmless.

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