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Just because something is touted as “sugar free”, does it mean it’s healthy? Recent studies have shown that not only does artificial sweetener intake have an association with diabetes , it also increases the risk for heart, kidney, and brain damage. 
Aspartame was an accidental discovery by the G.D. Searle Company (a pharmaceutical company) back in 1969, reporting that aspartame was an “organic compound with a profound sucrose like taste”. In the 1970s, several studies were done on aspartame revealing truly terrifying results. G.D. Searle submitted false results to the FDA because the studies showed that aspartame intake caused death and grand mal seizures in their test subjects (infant monkeys). Other studies revealed that aspartame caused neurotoxicity and brain damage.   Despite being banned twice by the FDA, aspartame is once again legal and being consumed by potentially millions of people all over the world.
University Of Iowa 2014 Study on Aspartame
One of the biggest and most recent studies on aspartame was conducted by the University of Iowa, revealing how women who consumed diet drinks on a daily basis had an increase risk for heart disease by as much as 50 percent – scary numbers, considering that these women choose diet over regular soda or juice to “keep healthy”. The results of the study were conclusive, women who drank two or more servings of diet drinks were:
• 30 percent more likely to experience a cardiovascular event like stroke or heart attack
• 50 percent more likely to die from a cardiovascular-related disease
The study first conducted a survey among the participants, categorizing them into two or more, five to seven, one to four, and zero to three diets drinks a day. The follow-up was done 8.7 years later, a time period where cardiovascular events are known to occur after exposure to a risk factor. Even after taking into account extraneous factors like age, BMI, hormone therapy use, physical activity, and vices, the association was still present. The UI study also noted that women who drank two or more drinks a day had a higher likelihood of being young and smokers, as well as an increased prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and higher BMI. 
Intake of Diet Drinks in the US
According to the UI, one in five Americans consumes diet drinks – that’s almost 20 percent or 63 million Americans. If these risks are present and proven by scientific studies, how come so many people are still partaking in this – technically speaking — dangerous health activity? A lack of awareness coupled with the increasing attempts by aspartame developers and manufacturers of food who use aspartame to hide the truth from the public cause the public’s risk for heart and metabolic diseases to keep increasing. We need to be informed, and if the people responsible for keeping the public safe won’t do it for us, we’re going to have to do it for ourselves.
 Suez, J., et. al. (2014). Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbia. Retrieved from http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/nature13793
 UI Health Marketing and Communications. UI study finds diet drinks associated with heart trouble for older women. http://now.uiowa.edu/2014/03/ui-study-finds-diet-drinks-associated-heart-trouble-older-women
 US Food and Drug Administration. Aspartame History. http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/03/Jan03/012203/02P-0317_emc-000202.txt
 US Food and Drug Administration. Reported Aspartame Toxicity Effects. http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/03/jan03/012203/02p-0317_emc-000199.txt
 Vyas, A., et. al. (2015). Diet Drink Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Events: A Report from the Women’s Health Initiative. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25515135
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