Dr. Mercola recently posted an article on artificial sweeteners and the dangers associated with their consumption.
Biochemically, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, can cause significant neurotransmitter imbalances in your brain. This is due to the fact that its chemical makeup of phenyalalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol releases toxic by-products and excess free radicals when they are broken down by your body.
Aspartame use has been linked to headaches, vision disturbances, cancer, mood disturbances, digestive disturbances, and chronic diseases including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
Due to the fact that these sweeteners can cross the blood-brain barrier, they can become addictive and hard to stop. In fact, stopping cold turkey can create withdrawal symptoms such as headache and diarrhea. I always recommend baby steps and gentle re-balancing when someone is trying to break a habit. It may help to find an integrative or functional doctor that can help you re-balance your biochemistry through various lifestyle changes and nutritional support to make the transition easier.