After taking this nutrition class, your friend notices that you no longer drink diet coke or use an artificial sweetener in your coffee. When she asks why, you list the 3 ingredients found in aspartame, describe some negative effects it produces in the body.
Aspartame is made up of 3 components 1) aspartic acid 2) phenylalanine 3) methanol. Excess aspartic acid in free form can accumulate in the brain by-passing the BBB causing overstimulation of neurons killing them. Excess phenylalanine competes with tryptophan for absorption in the brain leading to lower serotonin levels which can contribute to depression and anxiety. Methanol breaks down to formic acid and formaldehyde which is a cumulative poison, the EPA recommends no more than 7.8 mg/day of methanol and one cup of diet beverage contains 14 mg. Another by-product of aspartame is diketopiperazine which may promote brain tumors.
If all the above reasons are not enough to avoid aspartame and its toxic components, how about the fact that diet sodas made from aspartame does not aid in the weight loss effort? Aspartame is 200-400 times sweeter than sucrose which tricks the brain into thinking that an abnormally high amount of glucose has entered the blood stream. The pancreas reacts to what it thinks is appropriate by secreting insulin in response. When the anticipated glucose is not delivered to the brain, hypoglycemia can result. This causes the brain to panic and send out food craving messages. The person finds himself/herself eating more foods typically high fat/high sugar sabotaging weight loss.