Experts say artificial sweeteners may lead to health problems - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Experts say artificial sweeteners may lead to health problems

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With the hot and humid weather on its way many people turn to their favorite diet soft drink, but for some people that could mean weight gain and health problems.

You can find aspartame it in a variety of soft drinks and yogurt. It’s also the artificial sweetener in the blue packets, Equal. During hot summer months you'll most likely drink more, but dietitians say it's not always the best choice.

"There's certain proteins that certain people have sensitivities to and we believe that sensitivity to these products can cause adverse effects," said Leigh Anne Burns, a dietician at LSU.

In people with sensitivities there can be adverse effects such as headaches, insomnia and seizures. It can also cause some to have high blood pressure because it can interfere with brain signals to the body.

In one case a college age woman started having severe headaches. Her doctors thought she had multiple sclerosis. In another case a middle aged man started having his heart beat out of rhythm. In both cases it happened when they were drinking more soft drinks. Doctors are not 100 percent sure, but they say it could have been related to an increase in aspartame.

Your brain is not fooled by the sweetness of aspartame. Diet soft drinks may cause you to gain weight, especially the dangerous kind around the belly.

"I think that if people have concerns there are so many other alternatives for us to use, that verses to keep challenging the use of something that may be controversial or maybe your physician may not recommend," said Burns.

So the best health choice when you're thirsty is good old-fashioned water.

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