Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Aspartame Hoax

Having read on one of the blogs on here about aspartame mimicking illnesses such as ME, MS and Fibro, I decided to stop taking Aspartame in my tea and coffee. I stopped over a week ago. I found no difference in my FB or PMR symptoms.

I have read this report on other sites as well, so I decided to look into it a bit more and do some research.

I looked at the "Asparame Controversy " on Wikipedia, which if you are concerned about this I would highly recommend you to read.

It is another of those scare mongering hoaxes. You would have to drink 21 cans of diet soda a day for the rest of your life and you would still be under the limit for the safe amount of Aspartame you can take.

oh well, goodbye sugar, back to the sweeteners.


22 Replies

I stopped taking aspartame and all artificial sweetners not for my fibro , but for my IBS which many people with fibro have. And my ibs is totally under control again... It wasnt just aspartame for me but ALL artificial sweetners especially sorbitol,

If you don't have IBS then I am sure you are right about it making no difference to you

Thank you for posting

VG x


Hi VG, yes I understand that sweeteners can have a bad effect on IBS, especially Sorbitol. But my point was that it does not mimick illnesess such as FB etc. And is not harmful as is described in a lot of these email hoaxes.

Thank you for your reply,

Izzy51 xx



I too changed to sugar, and felt no different, but I have 1/2 a teaspoon in tea and 1 desert spoon in ready brek...One thing I have chnaged in my life is carbs, as I need to lose alot of weight...x


Hi pjmain, me too unfortunately, I have gained 4 stone since being on Prednisolone, one of the reasons i have sweeteners in my tea and coffee. It is impossible to lose weight on them. Quite a lot of drugs cause weight gain.

Izzy51 xx


Everyone is different, I am also on predisnolone and ordinary sugar and have lost half a stone. I am grateful for your interest in atificial sweetners and aspartame, but because we are all so different we react differently. I urge everyone to read this thread but think carefully about a drastic change in diet or even meds to lose weight

VG x


For me I found the differience, not a lot but some

I had been taking the sweetener for years.

Fibro is such a strange thing that I tend not to

Take additives if I can avoid them.

We all have differient hang ups I Quess, my son can't

Drink orange squash it makes him hipper active, even

Now and he's in his 30s

I have not heard of the sweeteners mimicking fibro

I only know that if I have had it my pains are worse

Even in lemonade that is not diet tends to have this

Sweetner in.

It's a chemical so for me I would rather not have it.

But every one is differient.



Hi all,

Fibro causes us all pain and frustrating on how what flares it up, you can iradicate everything out of your diet and bet we still have pains.....I do find my weight an issue and am hoping that the lower carb intake helps this, but when your in pain we comfort in eating....xxxxx



Hi pjmain :)

I also have a weight issue.. and I'm sure if I lost 40kg's, I would probably be able to cope with the fibro much better. I did that years ago.. BUT... the fibro came on again big time and the flare threw me into a downward spiral. Back with the weight on, and thinking its still gonna be a rollercoaster ride either way.

I also take great comfort in eating things that make me feel good... not that they are necessarily full of nutrition... but.. as we all know.. food IS a comfort when we are suffering with so much pain. Hugs xoxoxo


Hi Bella Baby,

I too lost weight, 3 stone, against all odds as on Gabapentin

at the time, which always makes me put on weight. I was

Sick and tired of doctors using weight as a reason for my

Problems, this was before I was fully diagnosed with FB

Though. You know what? It didn't make a difference on the FB

Whatsoever, granted, I was more confident and felt a bit

Happier with my more svelt figure.

My weight has been a rollercoaster ride, as you have said

Yourself what with IBS, meds and being less mobile but

I eat exceptionally healthily, even cutting out the good old

aspartame. Going gluten free changed most of my eating habits

As I used to comfort eat with the pain on the odd

Occasion I still do.

Not sure What I'm trying to say..... Just that I also lost the weight

Just like you I suppose sent me for a nasty

Downward spiral when I had such bad flare ups still.

Losing the weight felt good in general though, kinda

Felt I'd won one over on the meds heh-heh!

Take care



Hello Mel :)

Yes! That's it I reckon. Winning over the meds! Ohh... how sweet that is... when it happens.

I do remember at that time of loosing the weight, I had just split from a 15 year relationship. That would've helped! and I was determined to 'look good'... as I was treated very nastily at the time.

I do wish I could be 40kg lighter again though. I know it made a difference for me... in the sense that I could move around better.. not carrying the extra weight makes a difference. But I do agree.. it doesn't matter what weight we are, the pain doesn't go away :(

Thanks so much for sharing with me! I really appreciate it :)





I wouldn't take Wikipedia as a perfectly reliable resource!

There is a great deal of clinical evidence to suggest that Aspartame particularly can cause serious health problems, as one of its chemical breakdown constituents is formaldehyde, which is poisonous even in small quantities.

I wouldn't recommend anyone to use it.

Furthermore, studies have proved that far from aiding weight loss, persons taking a large amount of aspartame based sweeteners tended to put on weight.

Everyone has a right to eat and drink what they please, but if you are trying to lose weight, then why not avoid sweet foods altogether and eat fruit instead?

Carbohydrate consumption is not particularly crucial in weight loss, but fat, sugar and salt are.

So there you are - take your pick!

Moffy x


Where are your sources of evidence coming from, I am interested to know , as I was quoting from Scientific data.



i will look up the clinical papers and send you a PM with links x


there was a BBC prog on recently [horizon?] that spoke badly about aspartame - highlighting the fact that it breaks down into fomaldehyde.



this is not from that programme, but from the bbc website

the university of Hull are looking into it.

people can read and make up their own minds.



I completely agree with you.The Xylitol or Stevia-100% are natural sweeteners,which I have been using if I need sugar.The artificial sweeteners make me sick,carbohydrates cause fatigue.Fruit and vegetable are my favourite.

J xx


I also found a piece on Wikipedia that says there are dangers. What you have to remember about wiki is that is can be updated by Joe Public and I would say it is NOT a reliable source of information for anyone, let alone someone suffering with any sort of illness. I am not veing rude but we can choose to believe one thing or another, we have the choice. For me I would go with 'it is NOT good for you'

I also found this site of interest too.

There will always be scare mongering out there, companies at war disputing facts. It is a fact of life when it comes to food and any detirmental effects may or may not have on anyone. We are all different.

Like VG I reduced the amount of aspartame I was using because of the IBS. I did not cut it out completely but then again I only have one sweetener per in day in my morning coffee. If I was to have it all the time my IBS would be unbearable.

This is taken from another link, it took 20 years for aspartame to be approved, what does that tell you?

Aspartame is the excrement of genetically modified E. coli bacteria. It is comprised of 40 percent aspartic acid, 50 percent phenylalanine, and 10 percent methanol. Aspartic acid acts as a neurotransmitter, and too much can actually over-excite the cells (known as an “excitotoxin”), thus stimulating them to death. Keep in mind the blood brain barrier cannot prevent this in many, as it does not fully protect all areas of the brain, especially in people already suffering from other chronic diseases and disorders, and is not fully developed in children. While phenylalanine is an amino acid already present in the brain, excess levels can cause serotonin to decrease over time, which can lead to chemical imbalances that cause depression and other mood and emotional disorders. Methanol is an industrial solvent, is used as fuel and antifreeze, and is a main ingredient in many paints and varnish removers. The EPA warns that methanol ingestion may result in neurological damage (specifically “permanent motor dysfunction”) and visual disturbances leading to blurred or dimmed vision and eventually blindness.


Eat a diet as natural as possible. Honey or sugar for sweetening. The less manmade chemicals you put in or indeed, on your bodies, the better.


i totally agree with you.. not that i keep to it, but i read years ago before i had even heard of these different illnesses, or in fact before we all had access to the internet, that the likes of aspartame and MSG (E621) were really bad for you. I try to avoid these as much as I possibly can. xx


9 Diet Commandments for Pain Patients

By Kate Francis

Reviewed by QualityHealth's Medical Advisory Board

Those suffering from chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis patients, have reported a worsening of their pain and stiffness after eating certain foods. While it is agreed upon by medical experts that there are a variety of causes contributing to chronic pain, there is growing evidence that diet it one of these factors. For this reason, many patients are turning to diet changes to get relief.

Why Certain Foods Increase Pain

According to Daniel Arkfeld, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, certain foods may trigger the release of neurotransmitters that heighten the sensitivity of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain that may be involved in the way patients process pain.

Chiropractor Ned McArthur, D.C. of Utah says that foods high in Omega-6 fatty acids with little or no Omega-3 fatty acids cause inflammation and therefore are another reason for pain. These foods include sugar, flour, white rice, baked goods, pasta, caffeine, processed and/or packaged foods, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, alcohol, hydrogenated oils, and fast foods. McAruthur says the ideal ratio for Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is 1:1, but the average American has a 30:1 ratio.

9 Diet Commandments for Pain Patients

Although the research on diet and chronic pain is limited, experts suggest the following may help:

1. Cut back on carbohydrates. This will help stabilize your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. Additionally, according to Kent Holtorf, MD, the founding medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, about 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients have low adrenal function, which affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and may lead to hypoglycemia. Tip: If you eat carbs, it is best to eat them with protein and fat.

2. Consume plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and a variety of other fish, are said to reduce inflammation. Fibromyalgia and arthritis patients have reported feeling much better once they increased their consumption of Omega-3s.

3. Avoid aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase sensitivity to pain.

4. Avoid MSG and other additives. MSG is a high-sodium flavor enhancer often added to fast food, Chinese food, and processed packaged foods. It is an excitatory neurotransmitter that has been linked to stimulating pain receptors.

5. Avoid or limit caffeine. Fibromyalgia patients often suffer from unrestful sleep and fatigue, and often try to remedy their fatigue with caffeine. This only perpetuates the cycle of unrestful sleep. Try cutting back, and then eliminating caffeine completely (this includes coffee, certain teas, and chocolate) to see if it makes a difference for you.

6. Avoid or limit intake of nightshade vegetables. This includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. Some fibro and arthritis patients have reported feeling worse after eating these vegetables. Others have reported feeling dramatically better after cutting these out.

7. Avoid or limit your intake of yeast and gluten. Celiac disease (allergy to gluten) has been found in some fibromyalgia patients.

8. Avoid or limit your intake of dairy products. Fibromyalgia patients on vegan (no dairy) diets have reported improvement in their condition. About 70 percent of adults worldwide have some degree of lactose intolerance, so it is not surprising that some fibromyalgia patients do too.

9. Eat more fresh foods, and in particular, organic foods. This means foods without additives or preservatives. Patients have reported feeling better eating fresh foods, and in particular foods without pesticides and chemicals. Roughly half of fibromyalgia patients also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Foods that irritate the bowel trigger the brain to send a message that signals fibromyalgia symptoms and perpetuates pain.

Experiment with cutting out the suggested foods (either one at a time or all at once) for a couple of weeks to determine if they have an effect on your pain. At the same time, begin to add the suggested foods to see if in fact there is a correlation between your diet and your pain.


Betsch, M. 10 Food Rules for Pain Patients. Accessed March 5, 2010.

Can you Diet Your Pain Away? PR Newswire. Accessed March 5, 2010.

Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers. Accessed March 5, 2010.

National Fibromyalgia Research Association. Accessed March 5, 2010.


Thank you Stepper, this is very helpful.

I would also like to thank everyone that contributed to this interesting discussion.

Take care everyone of my fibro friends.



I found that if I drank or ate anything containing aspartame my Fibro symptons went into overdrive. You are wrong as many others have had the same experience, Most drinks now have alternative sweetners.

Aspartame is banned in Greece and the USA .


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