Progress Pics

Friday, September 25, 2009

Aspartame & My Headaches?

I found a blog yesterday with a motivational quote that was just what I needed at the time. I will share the quote and a link to the blog for your enjoyment at the end of this post, but first.........

In my attempt to "eat clean" as most of the body builders do, I have been successful in giving up sugar, white flour, white rice, bad fats, etc. I avoid chemical and sugar-laden salad dressings and the like. However.........

One thing I have stubbornly held on to is a morning cup of java with aspartame. I also drink a lot of crystal light. I have been having headaches constantly and I've been attributing it to withdrawal from all the junk I used to eat.

This morning, I had an early appointment with a dermatologist to have some skin tags removed from my eyelids and under my arms. Anyway, I decided to go to the West Haven beach/boardwalk-- which I shared pics of the other day-- and get my walk in early, before the dermatologist. On the way back to the car, I had this tingling in my left arm and I got scared as I know that is a symptom of a pending heart attack.

When I got to the dermatologist's office I was rubbing my arm and debating whether or not to call my primary care doc about the tingling. The receptionist asked if I had a rash on my arm that was bothering me, so I told her what was going on. She then asked if I've had headaches or blurred vision. "YES," I said, amazed that this could have any connection to the tingling in my arm.

She then suggested that I may be having a bad reaction to aspartame and that my symptoms could disappear if I stay away from it. So, I guess I have to conduct an experiment and completely give it up for awhile to see what happens.

Anyway, I can't give up my morning coffee -- I deprive myself in so many other ways, it is one of the little pleasures that I will hold on to -- I'll just have to learn to drink it without chemical sweetener. I will let you know if the headaches and other symptoms go away.

On other fronts, yesterday, I had a huge case of the lazies and was sort of "blah" all day. Thursdays are a day I work out with the ChaLEAN program and I usually try to do it no later than lunch time so that it isn't hanging over my head all day and night.

All day long I messed around............ I lingered at my computer all morning sipping coffee, reading people's blogs, and answering emails. All afternoon I kept finding other things to do besides my workout.

I was back on my computer AGAIN for the umpteenth time and came across the blog of a young man who has lost 80 pounds and has not only become a runner, but a triathlete. His blog entry for September 20th was amazing and jump started my mojo like you wouldn't believe.

At the heading is the following phrase, "Everyone trains hard when they want to. Only the best do it when they don't." Holy crap, talk about just what the doctor ordered! LOL I immediately did my workout and felt great about it. In fact, I felt so great that I couldn't understand why I had avoided it all day.

A few hours later, Jeff (my DH) came home from work and said he wanted to hit the gym before dinner. I am proud to say that I walked to the gym and did an intense, upper body workout once I got there.

Once we got home, we put together a great dinner of grilled salmon, butternut squash, and steamed broccoli with onions, garlic and spices. YUM!

So, I started the day with the enthusiam of a slug on valium and ended up in cheer leader mode ---- all because of what someone wrote in their blog. Don't underestimate the power of your blog to really make a difference for someone! This isn't the first time something like this has happened to me. My fellows bloggers are so important to me.

Anyway, here's a link that should take you to the blog I mentioned. This is a great blog entry about the excuses we make to get out of exercise. I am going to print it and hang it near my desk!

Be good to you today!

Move, breathe, believe!


  1. I must tell you Lori-Ann, you are a huge inspiration to me lately. Keep up the great blogs as you post the things I need to hear.

  2. Well, you've already moved me with your blog post yesterday and now today. Yesterday's led me to in fact have 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg for breakfast this morning, and I was really full and satisfied for several hours. I had to sort of make myself have my yogurt and cantaloupe 3 hours later.

    And that quote is great. And so true. I'm sitting here today thinking, "I'm blowing off the gym today infavor of a dog walk." Typically I do the gym for real exercise and then the dog walk for a pleasant stroll, so my thinking above is bull sh*t. The quote turned me right around. Once I get going at the gym, I'll be fine.

    Good luck with the aspartame issue. Coffee is a mainstay for me also but it's one of the few things I don't like sweetened. BUT I splurge on real half&half instead, which makes it succulent!

  3. Thanks so much for the blog plug :) I was reading your own blog yesterday, very good read!

    About the aspartame. I am a nutrition major and trust me, if you are a normal individual there is no reason to avoid using it as a sweetener.

    The only reason to be worried about it are if you have PKU. Which is the inability to metabolize a specific amino acid. Aspartame is considered a source of this aa, and it can reach toxic levels if you have PKU and ingest Aspartame. And trust me, you would know if you had PKU by now.

  4. I stopped using apartame and went back to regular sugar. The problem is the amount of sugar. I am now down to 1 tsp a day in my coffee. Some days I go without it, because I really can't taste it anymore.

  5. For your own good, please don't listen to I Pull 400 Watts. Aspartame is made of of three toxic chemicals: 50% phenylalnine, 40% aspartic acid, and 10% methyl alcohol. Methanol is a nervous system toxin, and aspartic acid might be the same toxin fire ants spray at their enemies to kill them. This combo forms a highly toxic compound the human body is not designed to handle. The harmful effects of aspartame are well documented. Your situation is not unusual. Aspartame has been linked to headaches/miagranes, seizures, brain damage, brain tumors/lesions, blindness, and many other problems. I have heard about a couple people who have nearly died from it, until they stop taking it in, then they start getting better. When the FDA first looked at it, they held it off the market for many years because it carries heavy metals, including arsenic into the body. This hevy metal poisoning also kills metabolism, so fat cannot be burned, which may be virtually irreversible. It also increases the appetite, especially for sweets and cuases fat storage. Therefore, aspartame helps people GAIN weight, not lose it. It orginally was a drug for peptic ulcers. Essentially, aspartame, in a word, is poison. It is poison for everyone-not just those with PKU, and yes, the high doses of phenylalanine can potentially have a negative impact even if you don't have PKU. I would bet you would feel better if you would just completely get off the stuff. Good Luck! SMILE!!!!

  6. Lets see - Headache, blurry vision and tingling in one arm and you're taking medical advice from a receptionist?????
    I strongly encourage you to call your family doctor.
    While I think its a great idea to stop the artifical sweetener I am concerned about your symptoms.

    If a receptionist gave out that type of medical advice she would no longer be working in my office. (unless she notified the nurse or followed up with "be sure to tell the doctor about your symptoms")

    I don't know if its the asparatmine or not but at least one study has shown that drinking diet soda has been shown to increase the incidence of metabolic syndrome. (Insulin resistance, lipid problems, HTN) and the insulin resistance does promote wt gain esp. around the abdomen. Similar issues with regular soda - perhaps the HFCS. And another issue with soda - BPA (lining in the cans) damages the beta cells in the pancreas increasing incidence of diabetes.

    Have you read Pollan's book "In Defense of Food?"

  7. I am not going to fight over the internet :p

    But here.

    Dihydrogen monoxide is toxic in high amounts as well.

  8. PS Loved the quote "only the best [work out] when they don't [want to] Excellent! I'm checking out the link you provided - thanks

  9. Very thoughtfull post on fitness. It should be very much helpfull

    Karim - Mind Power

  10. Ma,

    Go to the store and get yourself some stevia. In supermarkets it is under the name of Truvia and others. Natural and sweet. I got off the aspartame and surcalose (Splenda) and feel a big difference.



  11. This is very interesting... While I agree with Downsizing Doc that you should at least mention your symptoms to your doctor, your post is very timely as I've been getting the most awful sick-y headaches recently and wondered if it was something to do with my diet... Because I'm now eating so healthily and (compared with what I used to) so little, I thought it might have been my body adjusting... BUT... I also drink a lot of coffee sweetened with aspartame and knock back several cans of diet coke every day. I might try laying off the diet coke and having my coffee without sweetener and see whether it makes any difference after a couple of weeks...

  12. brief aspartame -- 11% methanol part becomes formaldehyde in humans: Rich Murray 2009.09.28

    over 100 mg methanol impurity per liter wine becomes formaldehyde and then
    formic acid in humans -- co-factors for "morning after" hangovers -- folic
    acid protects most people: Rich Murray 2009.09.28

    There is the same level of methanol from the 11% methanol part
    of the aspartame molecule in 2 L [ 6 cans ] aspartame beverages.

    Dermatitis. 2008; 19(3): E10-E11.
    © 2008 American Contact Dermatitis Society
    Formaldehyde, Aspartame, and Migraines: A Possible Connection
    Sharon E. Jacob; Sarah Stechschulte
    Published: 09/17/2008


    Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener that has been linked
    to pediatric and adolescent migraines.
    Upon ingestion, aspartame is broken, converted, and oxidized into
    formaldehyde in various tissues.
    We present the first case series of aspartame-associated migraines
    related to clinically relevant positive reactions to formaldehyde
    on patch testing.

    formaldehyde, aspartame, and migraines, the first case series, Sharon
    E Jacob-Soo, Sarah A Stechschulte, UCSD, Dermatitis 2008 May:
    Rich Murray 2008.07.18
    Friday, July 18, 2008

    consider co-factors (methanol, formaldehyde, and protective
    folic acid), re UK FSA test of aspartame in candy bars on
    50 reactors, Stephen L Atkin, Hull York Medical School:
    Rich Murray 2009.09.29
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009


We are all so busy.... so I truly appreciate your taking the time to comment.