A new study reveals the harmful effects of aspartame, a sugar substitute.
The sugar-free artificial sweetener aspartame has become popular since experts began recommending it to people with diabetes as an alternative to sugary foods and drinks.
However, its use may cause problems for some people who cannot absorb it. Dietary sweetener has been associated with several health risks in a number of different studies. Recent scientific discoveries have shown that aspartame alters the structure of the brain, predisposing it to mental disorders such as anxiety.
A recent study found a possible link between aspartame consumption and anxiety, as well as epigenetic changes in the brain.
The findings, published in the journal PNAS, showed that the popular sweetener triggered anxiety-like symptoms in the brains of mice.
Florida State University researchers have determined that these behaviors are caused by epigenetic changes occurring in the amygdala.
Even more disturbing is the fact that the changes in brain structure persisted up to two generations later.
The researchers say these findings highlight the need for further research on the link between aspartame and anxiety in humans.
The findings are consistent with previous studies showing that people who consume high amounts of aspartame are more likely to report anxiety than those who consume lower amounts of aspartame.
In addition, a study published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal found a link between artificial sweets and diseases of the circulatory system.
It was found that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners was associated with a 9% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Aspartame is a widely used sweetener among the general public because it is 200% sweeter than sucrose or table sugar. It is found in a variety of foods, including soft drinks, sugar-free gum, and breakfast cereals.
The additive is used in thousands of beverages and foods around the world, so much research has been focused on evaluating its safety and effects.
Some of the potential health risks associated with sweeteners include headaches, cancer, and dizziness, but research to support these claims remains inconclusive.
The British Heart Foundation reports: “Added sugar is known to have a detrimental effect on our health, especially as overeating can lead to weight gain, which can harm the heart and circulatory system. This has led to the use of artificial sugars. Sweeteners as low-sugar alternatives in many foods and drinks.”
The sweetener consists of two amino acids known as aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which can be toxic if consumed in large amounts.
In particular, phenylalanine has been linked to the development of headaches, anxiety, and depression, while aspartic acid is believed to cause fatigue, confusion, and memory loss.