A couple of years ago, I decided to give up aspartame. I decided to do this aspartame detox because I read about the dangers of aspartame (also called Equal or Nutrasweet) and didn’t want this chemical in my diet anymore.
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.
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 that I bought from WalMart. At the end of that December, I decided I would stop eating any form of aspartame as a New Year’s resolution. I didn’t feel that consuming aspartame fit with my overall healthy lifestyle which included regular exercise and overall healthy eating.
This article lists my experience with aspartame detox and withdrawal. I’m not a doctor and this isn’t medical advice. These are just my experiences that I’ve shared for everyone’s benefit. If you have problems or questions when giving up Equal consult a doctor.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
If you are thinking of giving up aspartame, I’d recommend it. I switched to sucralose (Splenda), but eventually gave that up as well since it has its own set of problems.
If you like calorie free sweetness in your life, try stevia (we’ve written a review called what is stevia), an all natural no calorie sweetener. It has a generally good, but somewhat metallic taste. Above all, it has nowhere near the side effect list of aspartame.
If you are having some aspartame detox and withdrawal issues, I hope my tips have helped you better deal with it.