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What Is an Aspartame Allergy?

By O. Wallace
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Chances are high that you have several foods or beverages in your pantry and refrigerator that contain the sweetener aspartame. Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981, aspartame can be found in approximately 6,000 foods as an artificial sweetener. Unfortunately, a lot of controversy surrounds the additive, leaving many medical professionals and health food experts alike claiming that aspartame allergy or aspartame toxicity truly exists.

Most of the controversy surrounds the chemicals that aspartame breaks down into when digested, which includes methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde and is a carcinogen and some claim, is “neurotoxic.” Aspartic acid has been shown in some studies to cause hormonal disorders, headaches, nausea and anxiety disorders. Those who have PKU, or Phenylketonuria, cannot metabolize the phenylalanine, which may result in toxic levels in the body.

Many of those who believe in an aspartame allergy claim that the additive should have never been approved by the FDA, and have claimed that conflicts of interest interfered with a process that should’ve been based on science, and not profits. FDA officials, after completing an internal investigation, claim that the process was handled correctly, and that there are currently no conclusive scientific studies that prove that aspartame is dangerous to humans.

Although the FDA stands by the safety of aspartame, in 1995, Thomas Wilcox, Epidemiology Branch Chief of the FDA issued a report that 75% of reports of reactions to ingredients in food were due to aspartame from 1981 to 1995. In 1992, the US Air Force recommended against drinking beverages containing aspartame before flying to their pilots.

To date, there are 92 reported symptoms of aspartame allergy, from a variety of sources. While many of these claims are anecdotal, many medical doctors and health professionals have seen cases of aspartame allergy that have been resolved after removing it from the diet.

The difficult aspect of aspartame allergy is that it is not universally accepted by the medical community as even truly existing. Couple this with the fact that people who suffer from aspartame allergy may have dramatically different symptoms, diagnosing the sensitivity may be nearly impossible and more of a process of elimination than any other thing.

The following are common symptoms of aspartame allergy:

  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Nausea
  • Infertility
  • Weight Gain
  • Anxiety attacks

The following are diseases that are often mimicked or triggered by aspartame allergy:

  • Epstein Barr
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Lupus
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Parkinson’s Disease

It is not known if aspartame allergy is caused by long term use, or can cause reactions with short term use. A person’s sensitivity to aspartame is difficult to determine, and can vary from person to person. Even if you suspect that any medical symptoms you are having are related to an aspartame allergy, you should consult a doctor to rule out illness caused by other disease or factors.

What Are Some Common Side Effects of Aspartame?

Side effects differ from allergic reactions. Side effects are typically mild and disappear after a while. It’s possible to experience unpleasant side effects after consuming aspartame without experiencing an allergic reaction.

Some studies suggest that aspartame can cause severe side effects like seizures. However, mild side effects like dizziness, weight gain, or headaches seem to be more common.

If you notice these side effects after consuming sugar-free products, it might be best to reduce your aspartame intake.

When To Seek Medical Care for an Allergic Reaction to Aspartame

You should go to the ER if you experience a serious allergic reaction. Delaying treatment is a severe mistake that can result in death, especially when a child is experiencing an allergic reaction.

Some symptoms might not seem serious at first, but they will typically progress, and more symptoms will appear if you have a severe reaction to aspartame.

A serious allergic reaction or anaphylaxis can cause you to become unable to breathe. Other common symptoms include hives, itchiness, coughing, fainting, confusion, a drop in blood pressure, heart palpitations, and more.

If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming aspartame, it’s best to seek medical care immediately.

Which Foods Should You Avoid If You’re Allergic to Aspartame?

Staying away from foods that contain aspartame is your best option if you think you have an allergy or food intolerance. However, identifying foods that contain this artificial sweetener can be challenging since it’s extremely common.

You’ll typically find aspartame in diet soda and sugar-free products, including juices, candy, and yogurt. Some brands of gum also use aspartame.

Weight loss products like meal replacement bars or shakes also often use aspartame to introduce a sweet taste without increasing the calorie content.

However, sugar-free products can use other artificial sweeteners that might not trigger an allergic reaction. It’s best to always check the list of ingredients to determine which foods contain aspartame.

You should also know that the FDA recommends consuming up to 50mg of aspartame per kilogram of body weight a day.

In other words, a 180-lbs adult can consume up to 4 kg of aspartame a day or 0.14 oz. However, your tolerance might be lower if you have a food sensitivity or allergy.

Other Reasons To Cut Aspartame From Your Diet

Aspartame is an FDA-approved sweetener, but there is a lot of research that raises questions and suggests this sweetener isn’t a healthy alternative to sugar.

Three separate studies have found a link between cancer and aspartame in rodents. Other studies have found a connection between aspartame and conditions like brain tumors, cardiovascular disease, strokes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s possible that choosing foods with aspartame can help you reduce your caloric intake, but it’s not the only way to lose weight or get your blood sugar levels under control.

Are There Any Benefits to Aspartame?

Aspartame is a popular sweetener because it tastes extremely sweet with few calories. It doesn’t contain any carbs, and it’s a sweetener you can eat without worsening your risk of tooth decay. It can also enhance the flavor of some foods, especially fruity flavors.

Some people report getting good results with weight loss since they’re able to reduce their sugar intake while eating the foods they love. However, some research suggests that aspartame could actually prevent weight loss by blocking enzyme activity.

Alternatives to Aspartame

Is replacing sugar with aspartame really worth it? Aspartame and sugar have a similar calorie content with four calories per gram. However, aspartame tastes much sweeter, which means you can get the same results with a small quantity.

Aspartame can be beneficial for controlling your blood sugar level and reducing your caloric intake while satisfying your sweet tooth.

However, there are other sweeteners to consider. Stevia can be a good option. It comes from Stevia leaves and contains virtually no calories. This sweetener can also help with regulating your blood sugar levels, and there are no studies that suggest harmful side effects or allergic reactions.

Sugar alcohols like erythritol and xylitol can also be a good alternative to aspartame. You can use natural sweeteners like Yacon syrup, monk fruit, honey, or molasses, as well. Options like honey and molasses aren’t ideal for managing diabetes, but they can be a good alternative if your goal is to reduce your caloric intake.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1003513 — On Jul 09, 2020

When I quit drinking soda, I started drinking flavored water (with aspartame) because it replaced the carbonation I missed from drinking soda. Took me a whole year to figure out that the constant headaches/migraines and foggy-head issues were from the aspartame! I completely cleared up once I stopped drinking them. Sure enough, months later I tried again. Within days the same foggy-head feeling started up again. I've never had any allergies to anything, but that's a definite.

By anon994716 — On Mar 01, 2016

I have had hives, swelling, migraines, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, vision disturbances, confusion, neurological issues from aspartame consumption. I avoid it like the plague. I had pickled ginger from a local Chinese food restaurant and immediately started to feel very very ill. I asked and it contained aspartame. This is the first time in years I have had a reaction and knew immediately what it was. This is poison for me and I fear it will kill me someday if I ingest too much.

By anon991793 — On Jul 19, 2015

I've had very itchy hands for years, since I became diabetic (type 1), doctors just gave me antihistamines, which helped a bit to control it, say 50/60 percent efficiency. Although, sometimes the itching got very bad or even went away for a week or 2, and I could never understand why.

So I've just moved to the Caribbean, where it's quite hot, drinking loads of sugar free drinks, and my hands were itching like crazy every day and every night, as well as becoming swollen with like small clear liquid pockets forming under the skin, and the skin on the palms having a hazy yellow color and frequently peeling.

Well just to say, that was two weeks ago, after reading something about itching/aspartame I decided to stop the sugar free stuff. I honestly didn’t think it would make a difference, how I was wrong. After two weeks of not drinking any sugar free drinks, the itching has completely stopped; the skin has turned back to its natural color!

Finally, after 15 years of suffering from itchy hands, I'm cured. I would also like to add, since stopping aspartame, my memory has definitely improved, I no longer get a sort of ringing in my left ear, and my sight seems to have improved as well, as I can now read certain things without glasses, whereas two weeks ago it wouldn’t have been possible.

By anon991293 — On Jun 09, 2015

I just wanted to add another 2 cents. I have occasionally drank diet soda over the years with no ill effects. I just like the taste of it.

A couple years ago I noticed a continual sore throat, raspy voice, etc. Coincidentally I realized (somewhat after the fact) that my diet soda intake had increased gradually over the years. Eventually I figured out it was indeed the aspartame. Nothing as serious as noted by others, but a major annoyance/concern just the same. I now limit my intake to 1 diet soda on Sunday, and seem to be doing fine.

By anon937453 — On Mar 05, 2014

I have an annoying reaction to aspartame. My throat swells then I end up with cold like symptoms. There are sweeteners in everything! I couldn't even buy lemonade the other day. I don't buy diet drinks for this reason. And now I can't even buy normal 'full fat' lemonade.

It used to be easy to avoid the stuff. Why do drinks manufacturers think it doesn't matter!! It's the same with fruit juice. Cough medicine as well. If I wanted no sugar I'd buy sugar free. I'm not a sugar monster, nor am I overweight. But I can't tolerate artificial sweeteners!

By anon936333 — On Feb 28, 2014

Aspartame nearly killed me last month. I had full blown anaphylaxis and I had to go to the ER. I was injected with steroids and a large dose of chlorpeniramine before my throat swelled shut.

Wrigley's puts nutrasweet in their gum! Even the gum with sugar in it. I have to look at food labels carefully because I can't afford to buy epi-pens.

By anon923981 — On Jan 01, 2014

I too am severely allergic to aspartame. The first time I drank a diet coke, I got extremely dizzy, had a headache, my whole mouth broke out in blisters, my face swelled up, eyes swelled shut and my throat swelled shut. Of course I couldn't breathe, so I had to go to the emergency room. I have to keep a really close eye on what I eat and drink now. They slip that stuff in everything now!

By anon358746 — On Dec 12, 2013

I had such a severe allergy to aspartame. I could not even pick up a piece of paper because my joints in my hands hurt so bad. My body ached so much I felt like I had the flu.

I went to the doctor and they ran many blood tests for arthritis and rheumatism, but the tests were negative. My husband said that I had been drinking a lot of diet tea. I read the content and figured out aspartame was the ingredient making me sick. After drinking a lot of water for a month to flush my system out, I was fine. Back to normal.

By anon343677 — On Aug 01, 2013

I thought it'd be a neat idea to drink some diet coke after a few months of abstaining and now I remember why I stopped drinking it in the first place! For the past hour or so, I've been plagued with rampant itching and hives across my arms, legs, shoulders, you name it - guh!

Just water for me from now on. Who knows what they're putting in sweetened drinks nowadays?

By anon336818 — On May 31, 2013

Aspartame makes my throat swell shut. The first time was when I got a diet soda from a machine by mistake. I figured what the heck, got back in the car and took a drink. Seconds later, I could hardly breathe, my neck was painful and throat swollen almost shut. I was on my way to work, and considered going to the ER, but a little while later I was feeling better, and just figured it had something to do with my other allergies.

The next time it happened, it was Jello pudding at a friend's house. One spoonful and the same thing happened, not quite as bad, but no question it was the same thing. Sure enough, it was sugar-free with aspartame. I used to chew Wrigley's gum, then one day I got this horrible sore throat and lost my voice. I checked the label, and sure enough, it had aspartame listed, even though it wasn't sugar-free, which really made me angry.

So now I am very careful, and rarely eat anything that says "artificial flavoring". Occasionally at a restaurant I have gotten a diet soda by accident, so I take the tiniest sip, and if it's diet it tastes horrible and makes my throat ache. It's a very obvious and familiar ache. It's kind of like getting kicked in the crotch, only inside my throat.

Most of my other allergies have gone away since those days (when I was barely an adult) but I'm still allergic to aspartame, cats (slightly, used to be violently) and some antibiotics.

By anon334681 — On May 14, 2013

I suffered for four long years with severe allergic reactions, hives, periorbital swelling of the mouth, throat, etc., severe itching, weight gain, mood disturbances. When I quit drinking diet soda, it all went away within one week. No more steroids, creams, medications -- all gone and because I stopped consuming aspartame. That was the only variable.

By anon334437 — On May 13, 2013

I am deathly allergic to Aspartame and have known this for almost 10 years. It has put me in the hospital multiple times with neurological symptoms that made the doctors think I was overdosed on drugs!

In one instance, I was at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, and they had bought the version of the drink I ordered from the USA and the American version has Aspartame. Within 30 minutes, I was beginning to show signs of anaphylactic shock as well as neural paralysis. By the time 45 minutes had gone by, I was unable to walk, my speech was nigh unrecognizable and my friends (one was a nurse and another was a medic) were frantically trying to find an Epi-Pen to stick me with as we drove to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital they almost kicked me out because they thought I had overdosed on drugs. This stuff is poison. If my girlfriend chews gum with Aspartame in it and then kisses me, even after spitting it out twenty minutes prior, I'll get a migraine headache that only goes away with a heavy dose of benadryl.

By anon330655 — On Apr 17, 2013

Correlation does not equal causation. The phosphoric acid content in diet soda is more likely to cause harmful effects than aspartame. I have consumed more aspartame in the past year than ever before and have lost 24 pounds. I feel amazing.

By anon328507 — On Apr 04, 2013

I have an aspartame allergy. Every time I drink a diet soda the center of my chest aches and my skin in that area itches badly.

By anon323517 — On Mar 05, 2013

I don't even like things with aspartame, but my ex-boyfriend drank light cola all the time so I drank it a few times.

Then one time I had a really sore throat and even lost my voice, so I thought I was coming down with a cold or something, but the next day I felt normal again. And that scenario repeated itself a few times before I thought it might be the aspartame, because my ex once said that his throat sometimes itched when he drank it. So I tried drinking it again a few times just to check and the sore throat came back almost immediately.

It's an itchy, dry kind of feeling first and then it hurts and if I drink more, my voice gradually disappears. One time my upper lip even went numb! I haven't had anything with aspartame in it since then (that I know of). It's poison!

By anon316066 — On Jan 26, 2013

@anon109351: I have done the same thing you described since I was 15. No one in the medical field would believe me but my family always witnessed it. Finally at almost 30 years old, I was diagnosed with abdominal epilepsy.

I stopped drinking diet soda and finally any soda at all. Now I only drink water and sometimes sweet tea. I have had a horrible amount of medical issues - from the undiagnosed epilepsy, to chronic migraines, depression, kidney stones and chronic fatty liver disease, seizures and migraines, thyroid disorder which ultimately led to a thyroidectomy and that has tripled my medical issues!

I have consumed aspartame and sugar and been surrounded by various forms of formaldehyde my entire life and had no idea of their dangers. I am appalled that the FDA allows these things to be approved.

Now at almost 40, I struggle to keep my child away from these dangers -- not only in his food, but also his environment. More people, especially parents, need to be made aware of this danger. Thank you for this post and information!

By anon310621 — On Dec 25, 2012

I have been having horrible hives that burn and itch as well as angioedema of the lips, eyes, cheek, and chin, and once my throat swelled almost shut. Nobody could figure out what was causing this, even after I saw about a dozen doctors. I've been on prednisone for about eight months and still had occasional lip/eye swelling, that I would treat with epinephrine. (That is a wicked drug!)

Anyway, about three weeks ago, I had an "Aha!" moment. I drank a Diet Dr. Pepper and about half an hour after, my lip began to swell. The next day, I drank two glasses of sugar-free Hawaiian Punch with lunch and my lip again began to swell soon after.

I have since eliminated all Aspartame from my diet and have even been able to decrease my prednisone to half the dose, and have not had one hive or swelling incident.

I'm being cautiously optimistic, as I have had remissions before, but I have not had remission for months. It very well may be that I am allergic to aspartame!

By anon307366 — On Dec 04, 2012

Oh, come on now. The headache and fogginess I get when I consume Aspartame (used to) is only in my head. No company or government agency would lie for huge amounts of money.

It is a chemical that you put in your body. Why would anyone think it is good for you? I bet some people also believe fast food is not bad for you.

By anon298543 — On Oct 20, 2012

I rarely drink soda but occasionally I like to have a coke. Even though I always tell the person at McDonald's to make sure it's a regular coke, quite often they would give me a diet coke. (What is it that makes people think all females drink diet drinks?) If I have a sip of it, my arms break out immediately in hives. More than two sips and my throat starts swelling. The last time they did this to me, I went from the drive through parked in the parking lot and went in, asked for the manager and showed her my arms. I told her I was deathly allergic to diet coke and I was very upset they kept giving it to me although I specified regular coke. Needless to say, they have never made that mistake again.

But one thing that hasn't been said on here is just how many products contain aspartame without listing it on their labels. Country Time was one of those. You can only find it listed on their website. I'm not a big sweets consumer to begin with but if I want something sweet I'd rather have pure natural sugar - not a chemical, not corn syrup, not even stevia.

By anon296626 — On Oct 11, 2012

For almost two years, I suffered with fainting like symptoms. No one could diagnose the cause. Then I realized my symptoms corresponded to several panic attack symptoms. One of my daughters had cured her own panic attacks by quitting diet drinks. I gave them up and all symptoms stopped immediately.

One month later, I unknowingly consumed a powdered protein drink containing aspartame. About 24 hours later, I had my symptoms back. No wonder I could never connect my symptoms to diet drinks. It took 24 hours for the symptom to hit!

By anon283655 — On Aug 06, 2012

Had some chewing gum containing the stuff, and got itchy palms, face then underarms and now I have a headache. I'll be more careful next time and read the ingredients.

By anon283039 — On Aug 01, 2012

After all these years of also religiously hammering on diet coke, coke zero, coke light, Pepsi Max, diet Pepsi and diet pepsi caffeine free, the allergy first set in just last February. My feet became swollen as hell and super itchy, my hands hurt so bad and very itchy as well, my butt looks like it has measles, my eyelid enlarged, my lip swelled, all randomly happening in a 5 month time frame.

But prior to that back in 2010, I had sort of like heart attacks (later on I found out they were anxiety attacks) in the middle of the night where my senses were heightened and my heart felt like it was being crumpled fiercely and the feeling of almost dying, so I assumed it was because of drinking four Coke Zeros in a row, like four to six times a day, so I stopped for a while without definite confirmation that it was the sodas.

So, just 30 minutes ago, I realized these are all the workings of aspartame. Too bad this old habit has got to go.

By anon276111 — On Jun 21, 2012

I think I have an aspartame allergy. I had three pieces of sugarless gum. Within an hour, my lip began to swell. It swelled four times its size (it was not attractive).

I have had recurring hives on my lips three times prior to this, about once a month. My hunch is that it is traced to diet soda or diet jello, which all contain aspartame. Has anyone had lip swelling? I also took an allergy test and the doctor said I was not allergic to any foods, however, he was not able to test for aspartame.

By anon260883 — On Apr 12, 2012

My daughter had a fainting spell back in August of 2011 right after she drank a large glass of lemonade that was made with aspartame. We took her to the ER and they found nothing wrong with her.

Two weeks later, she was drinking a large glass of Diet Rite (I didn't even know they still made it, but it was at her grandparents house) and went to the living room to watch Scooby Doo. Minutes later, her sister came bursting in the bedroom my husband and I were in and told us that our daughter was having breathing problems. Sure enough, when we rushed to her side she was trying to breathe, but was having difficultly. She started crying and trying to speak but was unable to. We took her to the ER and we were told after several tests that nothing was wrong.

Several days later, she was in the van and put a piece of gum in her mouth. She immediately started having breathing problems. She spit the gum out and started to recover. So, my husband and I decided that our daughter was having a reaction to aspartame since it was in all three events. We made sure she did not consume any more.

In March 2012, our daughter started passing out almost every day for no reason. We took her to the ER twice after the fainting spells and we were told nothing is wrong. Later in the week, she ended up in children's hospital for two days with the doctors trying to understand what was happening. They could not find anything wrong. All vitals, EKG, EEG, EAG, blood work and urine were all normal.

We racked our brains trying to figure out what was causing her to pass out. One day, I decided to look up the ingredients of her seasonal allergy medicine. Guess what? It has aspartame in it. Her meds are very low dosages – about 5mm each. So since October 2011 when she started taking these allergy meds, she has been consuming aspartame.

I'm not sure why it took until March for her to have the reaction, but we have discontinued the allergy meds. She has still passed out a couple times but not nearly as often as before. I read that it could take about six to eight weeks for her body to detox from the aspartame.

Everyone needs to stay away from this garbage. It will make you old before your time and cause your body to shut down. Watch the documentary on Youtube called Sweet Misery. Quite the eye opener. The whole thought of the FDA doing this makes me sick.

By anon257012 — On Mar 24, 2012

Aspartame is no more likely to produce adverse effects than a placebo.

REad the article "Aspartame and susceptibility to headache," published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

By anon251635 — On Mar 01, 2012

The day the "Nutrasweet" rainbow gumballs came in the mail over twenty years ago, I knew I had an aspartame allergy. I immediately blacked out with shakes, rapid heartbeat, pale face and cold sweats.

If I drink aspartame I have the same symptoms, but for a shorter period of time. No one can chew gum around me. I feel motion sickness symptoms and pressure in the middle of my eyebrows. Everyone who knows me calls it "poison". I am now able to smell it, which usually prevents me from accidentally ingesting it.

Aspartame is hidden in gum that isn't even sugarless. Read the labels on Hubba Bubba, bubble gum tape, juicy fruit. Be careful.

By anon244811 — On Feb 02, 2012

I get crippling migraines, feel nauseated, get dizzy and unstable when I stand or walk, and develop a fever after even four ounces of an artificially flavored drink. The throbbing in my headaches is terrible and once I stopped drinking my occasional diet drinks I only have my usual minor headaches which I am still trying to eliminate.

By anon236655 — On Dec 24, 2011

My two year old gets a rash and is very badly sick after drinking juice with aspartame in it, could he be allergic? doctors won't do an allergy test on him I need to know what he is allergic to, what is the best allergy test I can do? Does anyone have advice?

By anon212909 — On Sep 09, 2011

The only 'sugar free' substitute I've been able to have is Stevia, which is supposedly natural.

But, this stuff? I instantly get the worst migraine, a dizziness that lasts for hours, and on a few occasions, threw up. Yucky stuff.

By anon206151 — On Aug 15, 2011

Does anyone know, how we can lead in getting this allergy recognized? I go into anaphylactic shock. This serious!

By anon199735 — On Jul 24, 2011

I agree with the rest of you. It is completely nuts to argue that an allergy does not exist. Everyone's body is different, so how can anyone claim without a doubt that no one will have a negative reaction to something?

My daughter was six or seven when she began to have symptoms which took us nearly a year to relate to aspartame. I have never allowed my children to have artificial sweeteners due simply to all the hype of possible long term side effects. However, while she was staying at my grandmothers she was drinking the flavored waters with aspartame in them. She would come home and that night and she would wake up after a couple hours and throw up then go back to sleep and be fine. She had been potty trained for years but suddenly started leaking bowel. She, seemingly randomly, broke out in rashes that she would scratch at until she bled. Every time I would be ready to make a doctor's appointment, it would all go away. Then she would go stay at my grandmother's again and suddenly it would start up again.

As I said, it took us a very long time and was a very tedious process of elimination to determine the cause, this due to the fact that she was more so just taking drinks from my grandmother than it being part of her daily meals. But once we narrowed it down and did away with the ingredients in the waters one by one we were finally able to determine what exactly it was. We eliminated the aspartame and surprise! No more symptoms, except a few rare occasions where she was given some sugar free (aspartame containing) candy by a troop leader, sports coach, friend's parent, who did not know better but she is learning now at 9 1/2 what to watch for and what she cannot have.

So yes, idiots who are so out of touch with reality or too consumed with greed to care about our children, or anyone else for that matter's health. It does exist.

By anon194914 — On Jul 09, 2011

When I drink something or eat sweets that contain aspartame, I get a sore throat and have to drink something like water to rinse out. The only sugar free sweets that do not have that effect are those made in Switzerland.

By anon190331 — On Jun 26, 2011

I developed an allergy to aspartame a few years ago. I was chewing gum on a regular basis but I started getting this annoying itch on my hands, face and arms, (mostly my palms), that just wouldn't go away. But I didn't have a rash or even any redness, my hands looked completely fine. So, I asked my mother if she had any ideas of what it could be and she told me it was most likely an allergic reaction. So, I thought thought everything I had eaten over the past few days and the only thing different was the gum. I stopped buying any brand with aspartame in it and I've only ever had a problem when I forget to check the labels. And every time I've had a reaction again I've checked the labels of everything I ate and sure enough something has always had it.

I'm much more careful now but I'm grateful I haven't had as bad a reaction as some people. I'm under the impression that it's not as rare as everyone seems to think, it's just not bad enough for most people to notice. Or they mistake it for an allergy to something else.

By anon187311 — On Jun 17, 2011

I too am allergic to aspartame. I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I get severe migraines so powerfully painful and taking Excedrin migraine is the only thing that helps. It doesn't fix the problem, but helps reduce the pain.

My brother drinks Diet Coke religiously and has now developed epilepsy. He is in complete denial that it could be an aspartame allergy.

No matter what I ingest, I always check the ingredients to avoid aspartame. I agree with the others here. I'd rather die than deal with the migraines and repulsive taste cause by ingesting aspartame. It's poison!

By anon170550 — On Apr 26, 2011

My son becomes unruly when he has anything with aspartame. His symptoms mimic ADD/ADHD.

At first we had no idea what was going on but over time we figured it out and now we can tell instantly when he has shared candy at school. It is very hard for him but he understands that he just gets into a lot of trouble for his behavior. Now that we know what is causing it we just let him spin out until he crashes. But it is hard when he acts out with other people.

By anon168842 — On Apr 18, 2011

It is so nice to know that I'm not alone! For years, well since I was in elementary (I'm 19), teachers and friends would think that I was being over dramatic about my headaches!

I would eat fruity gum: migraine. Instant migraine. I would drink diet soda: killer headache and repulsive taste. I would eat a Jolly Rancher: head. ache. from. hell. Laffy Taffys, Air Heads, Splenda, the list goes on.

Then my friend's mom who owns a health food store told me what was going on. Now I really know to check those ingredients before I buy. I never chew fruity gum. I stick to the simple mint and wintergreen!

By anon167076 — On Apr 11, 2011

i can chew gum without reactions, but i ate a particular brand of mint and then this morning unsuspectingly ate yogurt from a buffet, and it's numb face and lips and fingers and toes and dizziness, neurological delay (microseconds). Yeah, not super fun. I stood in line at coffee break with colleagues trying to make the obvious comparison with them "agent orange: aspartame; agent orange: aspartame." Pretty sick that our FDA would approve this product. If you can't have sugar, then don't have sugar.

By anon166508 — On Apr 08, 2011

when my son has aspartame with exercise, he goes in to severe anaphylactic shock. Vomiting, diarrhea, hives, loss of consciousness.

By anon150790 — On Feb 08, 2011

My symptoms include: sleeplessness, fever (accompanied by chills), migraine, severe abdominal cramping, excess gas, nausea, vomiting, peripheral nerve deficit (loss of precise motor function in extremities and shakiness).

If you want a chemical demonstration of the difference between sugar and phenylalanine, buy a bottle of regular Coke and bottle of Coke Zero. Turn the fridge down to about 35 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees centigrade). Take an 8oz glass out of each and throw them into the fridge. Leave them undisturbed for an average work day -- 9 or so hours. You'll notice the Coke Zero has some weird icy structures, though it's well above the freezing point of water.

What's worse: I left the bottle out for more than 4 hours now (at approximately 67 degrees Fahrenheit room temperature), and part of it is still frozen. I wonder what the crystalline structure of that does on a microscopic level, say, to your GI tract?

By anon150075 — On Feb 06, 2011

I have experienced a severe toxic reaction to ingesting aspartame that was in some sugar-free cough drops that I accidentally purchased. After eating 1/3 the package the day before, my stomach was feeling upset with chest pains. The next morning, I ate another 1/3 of the package and got such bad stomach cramps that I was on the floor hugging my sides and thought of calling 911, feeling like I'd been poisoned and sweating profusely.

I had trouble coordinating my arms and legs (thought I was just weak from being ill) and slowly drove myself to a friend's house (even though I had trouble focusing). Threw up everything in the friend's gutter, before knocking on the door and asking them to call my dad to drive me to the hospital. I felt very sick at emergency and my hands and feet were now feeling numb.

At check-in, I had no fever but had to wait for three hours as my symptoms started to subside. I started coughing from my cold, so I ate one cough drop and drank a few sips of water. Then I finally got called to see the doctor (about 20 minutes later), the symptoms came back (weak stomach, heartburn, sweats). The hospital said I had a 102 degree fever, so they ran all the normal tests (blood, urine, cardiology, but no toxicity test). They said they couldn't find anything, but kept me a few more hours until my fever subsided. I was supposed to go for more tests as a follow-up in a few days, but after I got home, I realized that it might have been the cough drops with aspartame (since I almost never eat anything with artificial sweeteners).

Also realized later that I used to get stomachaches after chewing gum, so I quit eating gum. That gum contained aspartame. From my experience, I am quite certain that I am very allergic to aspartame. The only way I could prove it is to eat something with aspartame again, but I don't want to end up at the hospital with another 600 dollar bill to pay to prove that fact. Rather just stay away from it.

By anon129511 — On Nov 23, 2010

I have had severe reactions to aspartame my whole life, as has my mother. With the slightest amount I can get severe (sometimes paralyzing) Three times in my life I have accidentally drank "diet", sugar free drinks and each time have passed out.

By anon125278 — On Nov 08, 2010

I consumed 2-4 liters some days, but drank diet brands daily in large amounts forever. I am thirty years old now and suddenly developed a toxic reaction to aspartame. I used to scoff at those stories people told of aspartame sensitivity, now I hope beyond my sudden "allergy" I don't have cancer from my huge consumption.

By anon124698 — On Nov 07, 2010

I have a mild case of epilepsy that is triggered by aspartame. Sugar free mints make my brain feel all spazzy. I need help. Like, mucho help.

By anon119441 — On Oct 18, 2010

I definitely have an allergy to aspartame. If I eat anything with aspartame in it I get really sick to my stomach. I get an awful headache and sometimes I even throw up.

By anon117515 — On Oct 11, 2010

I don't understand how they can say this allergy doesn't exist. like everyone else I get sick almost instantly, and I can get sick from smelling it (not deathly ill but I will get a headache/upset stomach).

At least it is labeled now with the warning however it is also now in everything!

Can you guys have other artificial sweeteners without being sick?

By anon110151 — On Sep 10, 2010

for some reason, when i eat or drink anything with aspartame in it, my mouth gets super rashy inside, and sometimes the glands in my neck will swell up right away. this usually happens within seconds of eating it.

By anon109351 — On Sep 07, 2010

I've been having severe attacks in the middle of the night: stomach cramps, heart palpitations, tingling all over my body, heat, diarrhea, fainting and on several occasions I went into seizures after fainting. Could all this be related to diet pop consumption?

By anon103599 — On Aug 13, 2010

I have an aspartame allergy. When I consume it, it sends me into an asthma attack and I have migraines and mood swings.

By anon93168 — On Jul 02, 2010

I have a very severe allergy to aspartame. Something as small as a sugar-free Tic-Tac will have me sick (severe migraine and nausea) within 15 seconds of putting it in my mouth. One of my brothers has the same reaction.

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