Home Health How Dangerous Is Aspartame? A Nutritional Psychiatrist Explains

How Dangerous Is Aspartame? A Nutritional Psychiatrist Explains

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The negative effects that artificial sweeteners have on the gut and the brain give me pause and remind me of one of my top six pillars of nutritional psychiatry: be whole, eat whole.

When we choose foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners, we also often choose foods rife with refined oils, colorants, dyes, and stabilizers. Though these may be “fortified” with a single vitamin to make them appear healthy, in reality, they are delivering just one tiny component of a much larger picture of true nutrition (usually, with a heavy dose of inflammation too).

In response, I always recommend my clients switch their sodas to fruit- or cucumber-infused still or sparkling waters. These are whole-food, flavorful, nutrient-rich beverage options.

What I love most about whole foods, such as fresh berries, crisp leafy greens, plant-based proteins, and nourishing whole grains, is that they provide a balanced offering of various nutrients that, together, support our energy and mental health. The natural combinations of nutrients in whole foods often contain some healthy fats or proteins to keep blood sugar stable, enabling constant energy. They also contain fiber that nourishes the gut and makes sure our brain is optimized for good mood and focus. Key minerals make the world go round, I say, for they play important roles in our body’s natural production of neurotransmitters—the chemicals that govern our mood.

This doesn’t mean I endorse strict nutrition plans, however. When we maintain a whole food, unprocessed diet 80% of the time, the remaining 20% of the time allows for some flexibility. As with all things, I believe moderation is key when it comes to nutrition.

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