Sunday, May 13, 2007

Aspertame - My Diet Sludge Addiction

For those of you who know me, you know that I have for a long time been afflicted with a horrible habit. It's not drugs, alcohol or's Diet Pop - Pepsi and Coke when it has to be to be more specific. I am now 30 - almost 31 and I have been drinking "Pop" in large consumptions (sometimes more than 2L a day) since I was 15. 8 Years ago I switched to Diet Pop (w/aspertame) because I had joined Weight Watchers and was allocated a certain amount of points a day in which I could consume (calorie wise). A regular pop would cost me 3 points and when you only have 27 points a day and drinking 2L plus- I was deflated - I knew unless I switched to Diet I would "never" loose the weight. But then I was told - that Diet pop is points.

I switched IMMEDIATELY to Diet - I didn't slowly start - I went full tilt - buying anything and everything I could with Aspertame in it -after all it wouldn't count for any points and I could eat/drink as much as I wanted. The first 2 or 3 weeks I was ILL. I had the wildest stomach cramps, was moody, and tired. I chalked that up to the diet, change in lifestyle and the "sugar" withdrawal I was going through. I did blame the stomach cramps on the Aspertame - I knew it was a different "Chemical" introduced to my system and I gave it (my body) time to adjust. Eventually it became the norm - regular pop tastes like shit (dirt) to me and it's been Diet and only Diet drinks from then on.

I lost some weight on Weight Watchers - I was doing well and really only 30lbs from my goal. I quit and did it on my own. For 6 months I maintained my weight...and then it happened. I ballooned. I gained everything I had lost plus 30 more pounds - I've tried OVER AND OVER AND OVER again to loose the weight, all the while hanging on to my staple - my meal replacement, my constant side kick Diet Pepsi.
I've battled ridiculous stomach issues - loud gurgling, loss of appetitie, fatigue, blurred vision, hair loss, sore muscles, muscle cramps, weight gain, bloating, swelling and the list goes on and on. As I type this I am looking at my glass of Diet Pepsi and as much as it repulses me, it screams my name. An addict - in every sense of the word. I know the drink is VERY unhealthy. I've read the reports, got the emails, been told over and over again how bad aspertame is for me and like a smoker who knows they could easily get cancer but continues to smoke, I continue to drink.

A month ago, I was researching online how to kick what I believe I have - a Caffeine addiction and came across a ton of sites that said "Quitting Heron would be easier". Caffeine is a tough one to beat and as I read the pages and pages of blog posts of people talking about how they "tried" to kick the Caffeine habit - they just could not. Defeated I decided that I too would not be able to kick the habit and continue to drink my 2L a day of Diet Sludge.

Tonight - I am fed up with my stomach issues, fed up with my weight, fed up with feeling like complete and utter shit all the time. So I typed "Addicted to Diet Pepsi" in Yahoo. I came across a blog site of a gal who is a lot like me ( Her story is almost EXACTLY like mine. As I read it - I thought Good God..this is me and I have to quit drinking it.

After I read her blog I found a site of Aspertame Side Effects. There are a ton of them - I am listing them here to be a constant reminder to myself. Those listed in red are all the ones I experience or have experienced:

Aspartame Side Effects
Adverse reactions and side effects of aspartame include:

  1. Eyeblindness in one or both eyes
  2. decreased vision
  3. and/or other eye problems such as: blurring,
  4. bright flashes,
  5. squiggly lines,
  6. tunnel vision,
  7. decreased night vision
  8. pain in one or both eyes
  9. decreased tears
  10. trouble with contact lenses
  11. bulging eyes
  12. Eartinnitus - ringing or buzzing sound
  13. severe intolerance of noise
  14. marked hearing impairment
  15. Neurologic epileptic seizures
  16. headaches,
  17. migraines and (some severe)
  18. dizziness,
  19. unsteadiness,
  20. both confusion, memory loss,
  21. both severe drowsiness and sleepiness
  22. paresthesia or numbness of the limbs
  23. severe slurring of speech
  24. severe hyperactivity and restless legs
  25. atypical facial pain
  26. severe tremors
  27. severe depression
  28. irritability
  29. aggression
  30. anxiety
  31. personality changes
  32. insomnia
  33. phobias
  34. Chest palpitations,
  35. tachy cardia
  36. shortness of breath
  37. recent high blood pressure
  38. Gastrointestinal nausea diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools
  39. abdominal pain
  40. pain when swallowing
  41. Skin and Allergies itching without a rashlip and mouth reactions
  42. hives
  43. aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma
  44. Endocrine and Metabolic loss of control of diabetes
  45. menstrual changes
  46. marked thinning or loss of hair
  47. marked weight loss
  48. gradual weight gain
  49. aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  50. severe PMS
  51. frequency of voiding and burning during urination
  52. excessive thirst,
  53. fluid retention,
  54. leg swelling, and
  55. bloating
  56. increased susceptibility to infection

Good - so on this list - I have listed 30 different things that I experience almost every day. There are only 56 things on this list and I have well over half. Enough to scare the daylights out of me. Enough to definately make me want to quit. I'll finish my last glass....tonight. Struggle to get by this week without "dying" and try to be as humanly human as possible as I fight two very evil demons in this process. Caffeine & Aspertame..the game is over....It's time for me to claim back my body. Be gone with you both!!!

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