Friday, May 6, 2011

Unfolding Withdrawal

A week ago I gave up aspartame.  I was drinking 2-3 cans of diet pop a day and wondering if the pains I was having in my mouth and the issues I was having with word-finding difficulties could be related to it.  I looked online and found a site that listed some possible side effects of NutraSweet. There are many sites out there, not all scientific, but this one listed 92 symptoms that are possibly associated with ingesting aspartame.  Because many of my symptoms were on this list, I decided to cut it out of my diet and see what happens.  I understand that a lot of the symptoms listed are related to other disease processes, but why not try something simple first to see if it works?  Besides, putting one less manufactured chemical into my body can only be a good thing.

Around day five I had had a bad day.  I decided to "treat myself" with a diet Dr. Pepper.  Within 15 minutes of drinking it, however, I was feeling rather nauseous.  I'm pretty sure that wasn't a coincidence.  So, I have decided to never drink another diet pop with aspartame again.  Unfortunately, so many things have aspartame in them.  I was eating dinner last night and looked over to see that my son's yogurt, with only 100 calories, had aspartame in it.  So, I guess I don't buy that brand of yogurt anymore.  Where does it end? lists other artificial sweeteners to avoid.  It is amazing how many products use artificial sweeteners.  This is definitely going to be a learning process.

I didn't make things any easier on myself when, 3 days into my aspartame withdrawal, I decided to eat better by eating less and cutting out sugar as much as possible.  This is bad for me because I LOVE SWEETS!!!  This morning for my Food Science class I teach I had the kids make things at home that they could share with the class so we could have a little party.  Everything, except for the fruit someone brought, was a dessert.  I had to be really picky in my choices.  I did have some fruit, but I also had a small spoonful of a Heath bar dessert and a caramel apple cheesecake bar.  They were both equally delicious.  Hopefully that's all the sugar I'll have today.

I have found that by cutting out the sugar I have less of a desire to eat all day.  That is definitely a good thing.  I am still waiting for my confusion and word-finding difficulties to improve, though.  The site says it can take up to 60 days without aspartame before symptoms start to improve.  This is going to be a long road.  I suppose I'll be learning a lot during the trip like what to avoid and how to eat well without breaking the bank.  If I find the answer to that last one, I'll share it with you.