Aspartame Withdrawal Symptoms, Are They Real?

By now most folks who have visited my site have realized that I had a huge addiction to Diet Coke and struggled with quitting for so long, but could never do it because the withdrawal symptoms were just too much to take and I always ended up drinking it again.  The sad part to my story is, every time I tried to quit and couldn’t do it, the more addicted I became.  If you haven’t read my whole story, stop and read through the pages on the left side navigation bar and then come back to this post and I will share more information about the addiction to aspartame and the withdrawal symptoms that most experience when they try to quit.

If you read my entire story then you know that I am going to start with the punch line first in this post.  When I finally quit drinking Diet Coke almost 4 weeks ago, I experienced NO WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS at all!!  The catch is, this time was different from all the other times that I tried to quit and experienced a ton of withdrawal symptoms that always brought me back to drinking it.

The first time I tried to quit drinking Diet Coke, was about two years ago.  At that time, my side effects were just starting to arise.  For the first time ever, I experienced a migraine.  For those folks who have had migraines, you know what I am talking about, migraines are different from a regular headache.  In fact, I went to a neurosurgeon, who did all the scans and didn’t find anything and then prescribed Imitrex.  The medication was great, it usually took care of the migraine with one dose, but a year later, one pill just wouldn’t do it.  This past year, the migraines became more frequent and typically when one set in, one Imitrex was not enough to knock it out.  I remember times when a migraine would set it and it got so bad I had to go home early from work, would usually down a can of diet coke, take a couple Imitrex, put a hot towel over my face and crawl into my bed to try and sleep it off.  This is not how a young, active 40 year old wanted to live his life.

Shortly after the migraines and headaches began, I started to notice problems in both my knees.  I would wake up in the morning and feel pain in my knees that made it hard to just stand up at times.  The joint pain would come and go, but most of this last year, it increasingly became worse.  One of my hobbies is go-karting.  I race at two local tracks, travel to other tracks around Iowa and race at the countries largest street race, the Rock Island Grand Prix.  When you are at the track your go-kart sits on a stand and when you are ready to go out to race you and your pit person have to lift it off the stand onto the ground.  My knee pain was so bad at times, I could no longer put the weight on my knees to lift my own kart off its stand.  Realize, I am a pretty healthy individual, very active and to have this kind of problem effect my life this way was not how I wanted to live.

I went to my doctor one day and asked him about all the problems I was having.  After talking, my addiction to Diet Coke came up.  As I shared in my story, my doctor was not too happy to find out how much I was drinking daily and for how long I had been doing this.  He didn’t come out and say, Mike, the Diet Coke is causing your problems, but I could tell in voice that he knew my addiction could be the cause.  Of course, me being naive, I couldn’t see how a soda could cause that many side effects, but at that time, I had no clue what Aspartame was or the effects it could have on the body.  I continued to drink my normal 7-8 cans plus a day and kind of just wrote off what my doctor seemed to urge me to do, it just didn’t seem to make sense to me at that time.

Well, here is the final punch line and how my Diet Coke addiction ended, or new chapter in my life began, however you want to look at it.  As I share in my story, a very good friend of mine came to my office one day and wanted to share a product with me that he had been trying, he thought I might like it, knew I had a pretty stressful job and thought I might like some extra energy.  He gave me a couple samples and said drink one in the morning and one later in the afternoon and see what you think.  I won’t share the ending here, you can read it on my Diet Coke Addiction Busted!! page, but what I want to get across to all of the people who struggle with the same type of side effects and symptoms associated with Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, is that with the help of a healthy replacement, I was able to break my addiction in 5 DAYS, and not experience one withdrawal symptom at all.  NONE.  I know that there are people who can ween themselves off, or stop cold turkey but can everyone, I couldn’t.  The truth is there are many people who can’t because the addiction is too strong and the side effects are too much to handle.

I know that the side effects of artificial sweeteners is real, I experienced them.  To this date, nearly 5 weeks after my last Diet Coke, every side effect that I shared above or on my other posts has gone.  I have not had one headache, not one migraine, no more joint pain, and finally I feel like a healthy 40 year old should. Maybe you don’t have a diet drink addiction, maybe it’s coffee, tea, un-healthy energy drinks or your third run to Starbucks for a double late espresso.  Whatever the addiction, your body may one day kick you in the butt like mine did, a rude awakening it was for sure.

If you are ready to break that diet drink addiction, email me, wittmc@msn.com if you have any questions, I’d be glad to help out.

Thanks again to all those that have visited my site, read my story and commented.

Mike W.
Iowa

122 comments

  1. Amy says:

    Hi there,

    I’m so glad I found this site. I have been addicted to diet soda and aspartame since I was about 13 years old. I am now 26. I have tried a couple of times to give it up but I feel ready now. I’ve gone a couple of days without aspartame and boy have I had some crazy withdrawal symptoms- night sweats, nausea, joint pain, dizziness and headaches. It’s an expensive addiction!

    It was nothing for me to spend $20 a fortnight on a 30 pack of diet coke cans and then I’d have aspartame in my coffee and lots of caffeine which for someone like me is a recipe for disaster. I am very sensitive to alcohol and medication. I quit smoking last year because I had chronic bronchitis and my health problems forced me to make changes.

    Likewise, I have suffered from mood and mental disorders and I have really bad PMS. I’ve read that aspartame is linked to psychosis. So once again, my health is motivating me to cut another toxic ingredient out of my life. I have a good feeling about it even though I’m not feeling too crash hot this week, I know it’ll be worth it in the long run.

    I have cut down on my caffeine intake over all, it’s not realistic to expect myself to cut it all out at once. But when I do have coffee I will have honey, brown sugar or flavoured syrup with it. I’ve replaced diet soda with cold water and cordial.

    I wish all of you the best of luck, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone 🙂

  2. Rob says:

    I am in my 11th day of giving up Aspartame and diet soda’s. Did not feel the withdraw symptoms until the last three days and they kicked my butt hard. I have had fierce anxiety and panic attacks, headaches, tired, confusion, depression, cold sweats, piuns and needles, weird body sensations, stomach discomfort, and overall body illness. I was constantly drinking diet soda throughout the day and no water and went cold turkey 11 days ago and lost 4 and half pounds in 7 days. Had so much trouble losing weight while drinking the soda’s. I have episodes of panic attacks and want it to stop. So glad I found this forum. Thank you everyone for your experiences that you shared. I felt alone.

  3. Donna says:

    I’ve been off aspartame for two weeks.
    Had been ingesting only three cans of diet cola per week, but for thirty years. My intire body suffered different kinds of pain, my eyes were affected. Too many afflictions to mention.
    Didn’t realize I was doing all this to myself by taking it into my own body. I’ve been tired, moody, with a headache, but no body pain other than that. I’ve been getting sweaty, but am thrilled to be getting aspartame out of my system forever! I’ve said goodbye to all that pain!

  4. Karina says:

    I tried to quit for good at Lent this year. I was 40 days w/o, but still drank plain carbonated beverages w/o aspertene. I found canned diet soda didn’t satisfy my craving as much as Fountain soda, with a lot more carbonation.Flat soda seemed yucky. Not sure what the addiction is to, aspertente or the carbonation or maybe both. But I did get ostioarthritis and had to have a total hip replacment at 54! Plus, Im having sever dehydration issues now, maybe from the sodium? Sometimes I notice my tongue and throat get tender from drinking diet soda? On Easter I was ordering a diet soda again, like an alcoholic 🙁 Going to try to quit again. I know after 25 years , its really bad!!! Oh, I also gained 20 + lbs. in the last two years, as I increased my diet soda intake when I quit drinking alcohol. ugggg

  5. Kirstine says:

    I quit diet soda last friday and has experienced flu like symptoms since then. And I think about diet soda all the time. I replaced diet coke with coffee so it can’t be withdrawel from caffeine that causes it. I couldn’t beleive that I was actually suffering from withdrawal symptoms from artificial sweeteners until I read this site. That’s pretty scary … I guess I just have to hang in there.

  6. Chris says:

    Let me start off by saying I have maybe had 3 diet soda’s in my life time over 44 years. Never cared about weight. I might have 1 normal soda a week. On road trips that jumps of course. For the past 2 years I have been trying to help a friend get off the crap and he has suffered only to fall off the wagon time and time again. This site will hopefully help him. Just to see why someone would crave this crap I popped a can of diet pepsi (never had one) just to see what its like. I spit it out as it tasted like a chemical factory ! I have another friend who started to get off it yesterday and the mood swing was INSTANT. He is having it rough and I just sent this site to him. Finally he admitted his “maybe 2 a day” was actually 12. Diet Cokes. Symptoms are not imaginary. I swear he is coming off smack the way he is acting. I feel for you people and hope you have a great support group. Every time I detox here it is a 1 week plan. I start on a saturday morning with 2 qts of unsweetened prune juice then eat with every meal HOMEMADE pickled cabbage. Look up the benifits of homemade kraut and cabbage and you’ll see why. It is easy to make and anyone can. The stuff has been detoxing since the begining of time. I learned all about it (kimchi is Korean fermented cabbage) while stationed in Korea. The stuff cleans the body like nothing else. It pushes all the toxins out your pores and sweat so be prepared to shower at least 2-3 times a day.

  7. Alisa says:

    Well today is day 7 of cold turkey elimination of diet coke. The migraines, stomache aches and sweats were unreal. I still have headaches but not where I was bed ridden and thought my head was going to explode. Diet Coke is the devil. My 7 cans/day for 25yrs habit can kiss my a**

  8. Pat says:

    I have been a diet pop addict for the past 25 years and have been suffering from it and didn’t know what it was. I was finally diagnosed with brain lymphoma a year ago and underwent chemo until January. I have been healed of the cancer and will never know if it was the aspartame or not but I am stopping my diet coke – been off for 4 or 5 days (can’t remember) and am feeling pretty putrid. No headaches thank God, but it feels like the withdrawal I went through when I quite smoking. I had been treated for anxiety and depression over the pasts few years and am so very weepy right now. Ugh!! I have to stay with it though. God didn’t heal me so I could continue with the aspartame addiction. I’m so glad to see everyone else going through this – although I am sorry that any of us are going through this. I did get some Zevia – a few different flavors as well as their cola. At least I have some bubbles LOL. Thanks.

  9. Sadie says:

    I have used artificial sweeteners for YEARS (I’m almost 70 yrs old). I got to the point that I just could not go at all. I hurt all over, couldn’t sleep, gained weight over the years. It go so bad and the doctor would not find out what was wrong with me I finally went to the Vitamin & Mineral shop & told her I needed help. I had already searched the internet about sweeteners and she told me the same thing. She started me on Life’s Fortune multi-vitamin & mineral. I immediately stopped diet products. In 24 hrs I felt different! It has been 2 weeks, I feel great (no withdrawals, no pain, no illness) no cravings! The vitamins helped me so much! I have been able to stop a lot of medicines I have taken for years. I got rid of all diet drinks in my house and they will not be back! Aspertane was killing me. I am the best I have ever been and will stay away from “diet” foods forever! Sadie

  10. Amie says:

    I feel like crying and very anxious I wake up so sad it takes
    Everything out of me just to get through the day! I stopped drinking diet mt dew 10 days ago should I still be suffering like this?

  11. Terri says:

    Today is my first day cutting out Aspartame. I must admit, I’m WORRIED now!

    I ordered some Stevia sweetened soda to help me get off my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. NOW, I’m a bit worried that THAT was a mistake too. EEEEEEk!! I just wanna feel ‘normal’ and not hurt ALL.THE.TIME though

  12. Janna says:

    Withdrawls symtoms much worse than I expected. I had an easier time quiting nicotine.

    *Day 1

    Morning:
    Massive Headache, Major Fatigue. Couldn’t look directly at light, needed sunglasses just to watch tv

    Afternoon:
    Nausea and Sweats , began vomiting around 2:00 – 3:00 pm – Felt like death. similar to food poisoning.

    Evening:
    More vomiting, need cold compresses for my forehead and neck. Swinging back and forth between hot and cold spells. Putting on several layers of clothes and then taking them off 15 minutes later.

    Day 2

    Morning:
    headache & fatigue still present but not as severe

    Afernoon:
    Nausea still present but have not vomited yet. Eating extremely light – no appetite

    Evening:
    Same as afternoon above

    * Have switched over to sparkling water with aspartame as substitute therefore i’m not sure why i’m having such massive withdrawl symtoms. I plan to give up the aspartame as well but didn’t think it was a good idea to quit all chemicals at once.

  13. Sharon says:

    I gave it up 2 days ago and I am absolutely miserable. I HURT. I’m sweating and I feel like having a big ol’ temper tantrum. Please say this will not last too long.

  14. Susan says:

    I was the uber addict to Diet Coke for eons – 3 Double Big Gulps per day (64 oz each) and up to 12 cans in addition. Went cold turkey three years ago. No aspartame, no artificial anything since then. It was hard, but VERY WELL WORTH the effort. Some positive effects showed up immediately. Others took a year or so – but well worth the wait.
    It is NOT the caffeine. It never mattered to me whether or not my Diet Coke had caffeine. It was the aspartame I craved.
    Unfortunately a side effect I am dealing with from all of this is osteoarthritis. I believe that I would not have this at my age without having been such a Diet Coke addict.

  15. Jessica Lohry says:

    Hi. I have been diabetic since the age of 5 and I am now 30. This means every time a fellow kid got a sugary treat, my treat was Diet Coke. So, from a very young age, I was hooked–physically and psychologically. I’ve tried giving it up so many times, but to no avail. This time needs to be different.
    I just gave up caffinated Diet Coke for lent (which started a few weeks ago), in an effort to figure out what was causing all of my problems–constant headaches and fatigue mostly. Plus, I knew I needed to get off the stuff because I was drinking over 8 cans a day easy. I weaned off the caffiene and have been drinking decaf Diet Coke. However, I have been feeling terrible–migraine-like headaches and extreme fatigue every day. So, I really think I need to try giving up all Aspartame to see if it helps.
    So, my question is, how long does it take to completely detox from aspartame? Have you found any studies on it? I can’t find any creditable studies with info like this.
    Thanks in advance,
    Jessica

  16. tania says:

    I was told i had aspartame poisoning i haven’t had anything with aspartme in it for 4 weeks and i am feeling alot better, my symptoms were slurred speach, fibromyalgia,and generally feeling unwell I am 44 years old and was feeling 80 years old. I use to drink around 12 can’s of diet coke a week for the last 10 years. My body is now feeling alot cleaner.

  17. Greg says:

    I used to drink at least 3 liters a day of Diet Coke. Yes that’s right 3 and sometimes 4 liters a day. I have cut down. And as of yesterday i am quitting cold turkey,again. I plan to drink lots of water to help with the withdraw.. Greg

  18. mark says:

    Hi All,
    Thanks for talking about this stuff,, i have been feelign sick form this aspertame for 10 monthes and now am 10 days into none that i know of at all,, im still drinkign coffee with sugar only, i have acid reflux too,, which lots of my symptoms (side affects) are just like my reflux,,
    I wil keep hanging in there, but gosh its that sick feeling and back pain, chest pain,, at least my DR said with all dizziness it was the aspertame addiction,,hope the withdraw will pass soon,, one day at a time,,

  19. katie says:

    Hi after visiting your site and others I have now stopped my diet pepsi habit for 24 hours. I am currently off work with terrible anxiety and mood problems and I’m convinced that it’s the aspartame that’s causing it. There is only one way to find out so I intend to keep you posted

  20. Judy Kelley says:

    I stopped drinking 4-6 Diet Cokes per day 6 days ago and I feel like crap. I really loved it and needed it every morning just to get going. Three years ago I woke up to a loud noise in my head and sudden profound deafness in my left ear which brought with it 3 years of vertigo. Doctors have no clue????? Well I do. I ended up having to retire from a great job. I felt my body keep saying this is toxic and I would get this feeling more and more lately. My friend showed me how to muscle test for everything you put into your body. Well when I did the easy test it was a definate NO for me. I am 62 and have been on Diet coke and before that Diet Pepsi for close to 40 years. I really feel as if I have had a stroke as my thinking and processing is so much slower. I had a MRI and Scans after my hearing went and showed it was not stroke related. I had been hearing people talking about how bad Aspartame and Nutrisweet was. I took myself off Diet coke and the sweetner and now I am in the process of detoxing 40 years of bad choices. I decided to look on line to see if all the pain and aching I am experiencing was even possibly linked to this detoxing. I found this site and it is amazing thank you as I know I am not alone and know that I need to continue to listen to my body regarding this as well as other poisons out there I am injesting that I never took serious before reading this site. Thanks Mike.

  21. Marissa says:

    I’m so glad to have found this article! I’m 16 and have always been concerned about my weight, so I switched to diet soda to cut back on my sugar intake. After slowly becoming addicted, I was up to 3 cans a day. I NEEDED it in the morning with breakfast, during school, at work, and before swim practice. I have gained ten pounds in a month, which I’m not too happy about. My friends approaced me about the issue three days ago and I haven’t had any diet soda since. I have felt a little tired and groggy. I hope it goes away soon! What a nightmare!

  22. Suey says:

    I have been drinking 5-7 cans a day for about 20 years – seriously. I am not overweight and otherwise lead quite a healthy life. I kicked the habit about 10 days ago – cold turkey. I have quite before for years at a time, but never suffered the symptoms I am having this time. I feel terrible. No energy, stomach issues, cravings for sugar. This sucks!

  23. Rachael says:

    Today is my second day Diet coke free and my head is pounding!!! I feel very irritable but I am not giving up. This is the longest I have ever gone since I was 13 without diet coke, I am now 33 years old. I will keep everyone posted on my progress.

  24. Jo says:

    We went off of soy two weeks ago & after a week we had lost nearly 10 lbs each. Then we thought we should give up on ouDiet Pepsi that we have been drinking for 20 years. Tonight my husband went into a rage which is out of character. After reading this, I think it’s withdrawl..I’m relieved to know we aren’t alone. What are all of these additives doing to us?

  25. colin says:

    i quit aspartame 9 days ago and now i feel like im on happy pills,i guess it was causing depression,the initial detox wasnt nice,i wish i knew about it 20 years ago.i have loads more energy,and ive lost 4 lbs.i feel 10 years younger,why is that stuff legal? can someone please tell me,….

  26. Robert says:

    The addiction is not only aspartame, it will also be caffeine which is a very powerful stimulant. Also to a lesser degree you will probably be addicted to carbonated liquids. Do not replace Diet coke etc with flavored carbonated drinks as I noticed someone had done. This is your mind playing tricks on you and may lead you to another addiction. Your stomach was never designed to handle so much ‘fizz’

    Whilst I would always advocate cold turkey you can begin by reducing your intake as long as you stick to the plan. For some the withdrawal symptoms are to much to handle particularly if you have a full time job and cant take time off. Do not allow three months of reduction. Do it over a month…no more. Decide your self a reasonable reduction plan but by the end of the second week your consumption should be 50% less. This wont stop you having withdrawal symptoms, but it will lessen the shock to your system.

    Now remember;

    Aspartame
    Caffeine
    Carbonated

    Those are the three you must stop as they are all connected.

    Start using unrefined brown sugar. You body needs sugar. A spoon in caffeine free tea now and then will not harm your or make you balloon up. Sugar is a natural and totally safe product in moderation (like everything else). But the West has been brainwashed to a degree in to thinking sugar is bad through the highly profitable diet industry. yes it is mixed in with chocolate bars etc because they pack it in there on massive levels.

    Check labels for artificial sweeteners. Im afraid the stuff is everywhere (hence why it will never be banned due to the large amount of money made from it). You dont have too go crazy and start spending your shopping days in health food stores. Just be sensible, check the labels and you can usually find what you need without the really nasty stuff.

    Apart from sugar there are many other natural sweetening products which you dont have to go to a health food store for.

    I broke the habit five years ago after numerous attempts. I was a 4 litre a day diet coke man. It will not be an easy ride for any of you. The effects are as described by many here and there is no way to avoid it, there is no one can hold your hand, there are no support groups which imho you don’t need any way because they always make people feel as if they are incredibly ill and flawed. You have an addiction, deal with it and do not be a cry baby about it. But you will get through it providing you have the strength of conviction to see it through. Doctors will not help because they do not know, or refuse to acknowledge the addiction. Heroin addicts are heaped with help and showered with empathy, but the reality is this substances withdrawal effects are very real and worse than heroin which after four days there are literally no physical effects. Its only in the mind after that.

    For me it took almost six months to feel normal again, but do bear in mind I was drinking about 4 litres a day. If your intake is around 6 cans per day it would be two or three months at the most. By the second month symptoms will have reduced…it does get easier. 🙂

  27. Mike says:

    Im about 25, and have been drinking diet soda religiously since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 14. I have tried to quit dozens of times dating all the way back to high school (even then it was so bad my friends could visibly tell I was trying to quit and would comment that I “looked like hell”). I understand completely the effect of failing to quit and falling deeper into addiction. I drink at least a 2-liter a day and will walk to the minute saver at 8pm just to get more on some nights if I run out.

    I caught the tooth erosion early and started using straws which helped that immensely but I have noticed side affects from the amount of aspartame including most notably anxiety, insomnia, and ADD type symptoms. Ive tried drinking iced tea and lemonade but after a few hours the craving for diet coke becomes absolutely ridiculous.

    The biggest motivator for me is the realization that I am spending exorbitant amounts of money each year on Diet Coke. If you include almost a 2-liter a day, sodas from machines, and fountain sodas at restaurants its easily over $1000/year.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share my story a little. I hope we can all kick this habit. Good luck to everybody, and if you need extra motivation figure out how much money your losing, it certainly helped put it in perspective for me.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I have been a heavy Diet Coke drinker for many years, to cut to the chase. I gave up alcohol some years ago, and the difficulty of giving this up when I FINALLY realized the symptoms I continued to have (and which were increasing by the year) were directly related to the aspartame in the soft drinks and gum I was inhaling daily.
    I am using the 12 steps to get through this. Just substitute “aspartame” for “alcohol”. I also understand that somehow it does turn into a wood alcohol-like substance in our bodies. Imagine that.

  29. Michelle says:

    I’ve been cutting back on sugarless gum and Diet Pepsi. Man have the side effects been crazy. I’ve felt dizzy, foggy, some cravings, slurred speech (when I have anymore), can’t concentrate, and a metallic taste in my mouth. Unreal, Im hoping I can get through this and quit completely. Together we can do this. Are there any support groups to join?

  30. Brenda says:

    I am so glad that I looked this up. I stopped drinking diet Pepsi/Coke and stopped (I hope) all Aspartame intake just over a week ago. I feel terrible! Headache, body aches , upset stomach. I am getting chills, then sweats. I am 47, and I thought that it was ‘the change’. I am always thirsty because I feel so awful I don’t want to eat or drink very much. Day 7 is the first day that I finished a cup of coffee. I am determined to put up with the horrible feeling just to stay off Aspartame.

  31. Dave says:

    I am addicted to Diet Cheery Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Have been for the last 5 years. Can’t go a single day without drinking 4-5 cans. I go through a 12 pack every 3 days. For the last few years I have been experience numerous side-effects. At first I thought they were normal aging symptoms. I am 38 years old. My feet feel like they have Arthritis. My eyes have been feeling pressure and reduced vision. Went to the eye doctor and he said it was astigmatism and prescribed reading glasses. Mind you I have had 20/16 vision all of my life. I suffer frequent Insomnia. I am experience memory loss. When I wake up in the morning I feel a slight pain or tightness in my chest on the left side but usually goes away after I get up and going. My bones are creaky. I am constantly having to pop my knuckles and neck. I suffer from Tinnitus in my right ear. It is constantly ringing and my ear feels like it is stuffed up with fluid and I can’t pop my ear when I hold my nose and blow. I am suffering gastrointestinal disorders and have been treated for GERD. I experience episodes of dysphasia where I can’t swallow food because my throat spasms and contracts and I experience choking and have to cough up my food. All of these side-effects came about within the last 3-4 years. Coincidence? My mom said this is not normal and I shouldn’t be suffering from all of these symptoms at my age. I am also fairly healthy. I am not obese. I have been fairly active. I don’t drink alcohol at all and I don’t smoke. I have been doing research on Aspartame and came across this site. There have been many studies that say Aspartame has negligible effects in research on humans but the more I hear about how others are suffering similar side-effects from drinking diet soft drinks with Aspartame I cannot ignore the fact that this is the culprit and why I am suffering from the symptoms that I am. I have tried to quit before but suffer migraines and terrible dehydration that makes me thirst for my Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper even more to quench my thirst. It really is delicious. Better than any soda I have ever drank in my life. About 10 years ago I was addicted to Coca-Cola and would drive to 7-11 just to get a Big Gulp to start my day every morning but the sugars and high fructose corn syrup was making me fat. I felt like a humming bird so I went cold turkey. Experienced migraines for a few months but substituted it with Diet Coke and it went away. I lost 10 pounds the first month, then 20 within 3 months. I knew I was starting to live healthier by not drinking sugary sodas and swore that diet soft drinks were my salvation. Then in 2005 Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper was introduced and it was the nectar of the Gods. I love the taste of it so much I just can’t go a single day without it. Sometimes the stores don’t have it and I will literally drive around town looking for it. I have even driven 30 miles just to get it! I know I am addicted and not just to the taste of it but to the Aspartame. I know it is the root of all of my side effects. I am 38 but my body feels like it is 68. This is not normal. I shouldn’t be suffering from all of these symptoms while I am still relatively young. I don’t know what to do. I know I need to stop drinking it but I just can’t. It’s my one and only vice. I gotta have it. I don’t know what to do. Keep drinking it and keep suffering from all of these horrible side-effects or stop and let my body detox and get back to feeling my normal healthy age but crave my beloved Diet Cherry Vanilla DP and get depressed drinking tea and water. Help me, I don’t know how to stop!

  32. Ann Gomez says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am glad I found this site. Tonight I have decided to kick the aspartame addiction (again). I did this in January and felt GREAT. I just recently went back and I can tell…….it is so addictive forming. I will be glad to get these toxins out of my body once again. Why is this stuff still legal?

  33. mandy says:

    hi everyone,
    I have been addicted to diet cola for 20years. I didnt realise I had an addiction. I used to drink ordinary coke and then switched to diet, after trying to wean myself of what I thought was a caffeine addiction, to caffeine-free diet coke I found I could not stop drinking. It is the aspartame that is the addictive ingrediant. My health has suffered and I have gained a lot of weight especially over the past 5 years. I am now into a three day detox and I am determined never to drink the stuff again. I urge you all to get rid of this toxin. It should never have passed by the fda in the first place read “sweet poison.” I wish each and everyone of you good health and freedom 🙂

  34. Pat says:

    Great to find you…I am detoxing from Diet Dr. Pepper and, of course, caffeine. I am about 21 days into my detox and I ache and experience nausea and am so tired. I was getting discouraged until I saw all these posts. I didn’t realize it would take so long. I have almost 70 years old and have several health problems — many of which could have been aggravated by the caffeine/aspartame addiction. I was having incredible headaches on the aspartame, so that isn’t really a problem now without it. It’s the aches, nausea, tiredness and just overall pain everywhere that is tough. But I am determined that I will be free from this bondage. Thanks for being here. You’ve given me hope.

  35. Lucy (UK) says:

    I am so glad I have found this website. I too have always drunk diet coke, it did just used to be occasionally but it got to the point where i was having around 7 cans a day at work and then starting on the bottles at home. I went ‘cold turkey’ 4 days ago and I feel like my head has been run over by a truck. I even woke up twice last night because the pain in my head was that bad, i was starting to worry that there was something seriously wrong with me. I never realised how bad this stuff was for you and why isnt it banned!!

  36. Vicki says:

    Hi, this site is fab. I’ve been addicted to diet coke for at least 20 years! I’ve had swollen glands for ages, jittery and always tired – I decided after some ribbing from the familyabout it that perhaps I should give it up. I switched to caffeine free – as the first step – which tasted flat in comparison. Then I realised it was partly the really cold fizz at the back of the throat that I liked as my first drink in the morning. For some reason I thought perhaps carbconated spring water might do the trick – but only if flavoured some how- elderflower press with carbonated spring water is doing the trick. Can’t say I’m not a little tired. I even fell of the wagon yesterday after 3 days on no diet coke – but it tasted disgusting and I felt shaky and had a numb head very quickly after drinking it. I actually poored the rest of the bottle down the sink! I used to feel paniky if I had none in the house! I also find that I am drinking a lot less – I had to constantly have a diet coke, ice cold, and on the go. I feel liberated!

  37. DPC says:

    I’ve drank diet cola since the age of 16 or so (I’m almost 38.)

    The last 6 or 7 years, in my area, water is so hard with minerals I always put in crystal lite and other sweeteners with the aspartame.

    I quit cold turkey about 2 months ago. I’ve felt a LOT more spry, and I’ve also lost 9 pounds. Is that normal?

  38. Betty says:

    Thank you one and all for your comments they have help me to understand what I am going through — thought I had food posioning – my digestive system has been so upset — I too was a diet pepsi and sugar subsitute addict – going cold turkey – haven’t had the headaches yet maybe I’ll get lucky and just have to deal with the digestive problems – sweats and chills – thnak you again I know that I am on the right track — water- water and more water

  39. Bob says:

    Wow. I’m quite glad that I found this blog. About 10 days ago I went cold turkey on Aspartame and other fake sweetners (except some gum the other day that I later noticed also has it in). It has been destroying me since. My head feels like I have a migraine/heaache 24 hours a day. I feel nauseous down through my throat and stomach. I shake constantly and it is so difficult to focus.

    I originally thought it may be a diabetes thing because it really acts up a while after eating and munching on some food makes it subside again, but i still feel the headaches pretty bad right after eating too. I had a physical a few weeks ago, however, and everything appeared fine.

    I sure hope this is it and will go away soon. It is just blistering. I work durign the day and take a night class, and the headache is so bad that it is hard to study at night when I need to get stuff done.

    I am a pretty healthy person and thought i was helping myself eating the No Sugar food (diet soda, no sugar jam, jello, pudding) etc. I thought I may have a headache for a day or two, but 10?? And from reading posts, it seems like it could be a few more weeks…..AHH

    One question, I noticed mentions of coffee….is the caffiene from coffee tied into this in some way? Is there a reason people are giving up coffee as well as this sweetner?

  40. Nancy says:

    I have a question about detox symptoms from aspartame… my eyes looked as if they have been sunburned… all around my eyes and down my cheeks where my tears fall looks as if it has been chemically burned… could this be from detoxing the toxins… thanks

  41. Steph says:

    I’m on my like 10th attempt to quit drinking diet pepsi. OMG is it horrible. I’m going through a lot of the stuff detoxing heroin addict go through; sweating, anxiety, cramps, cold sweats, chills, diarrhea, feeling like I had a fever. I had a massive headache that encompassed my WHOLE head (not just one lobe) with a bad case of nausea and vomiting.
    I didn’t tell my husband what I was doing. lol He just thought I was being grumpy/snappy for no reason. He probably thought I was nuts while I cried from the extreme pain and puking in the shower.

    UGH!!! It’s let up some now that my stomach has started letting me take some pain medication.

    The last time I did this my “withdrawals” went on for 4 days and I just couldn’t take it anymore and gave in to my diet Pepsi habit (It’s just diet pepsi too for some reason. Diet Coke is like drinking liquid exlax for me. LOL)

  42. Todd says:

    I just gave up Diet Coke last Thursday. It has almost been a week. I don’t feel well. Foggy eyes, they feel dry and irritated, body aches and pains, insomnia (which I thought it would be the opposite), low energy, headaches (but not severe). I can’t even eat gum anymore – every brand is filled with aspartame. Other bad food additives are high fructose/maltose corn syrups and hydrogenated oils. Plus sucralose. If you go to your grocery, it is next to impossible to find anything without these products in them. Unless you go to Whole Foods – which I am doing today. How long until I feel healthy? I must say over time I have been feeling less and less healthy. I was drinking 6-8 cans of Diet Coke a day for many years now. Before that it was Diet Mountain Dew. I just feel out of it, have anxiety, feel like my brain is now functioning normally. On top of it all, I quit smoking a couple months ago. I am trying to start being healthier, but it is just make me feel horrible.

  43. wittmc says:

    Hi Jill,

    Thank you for the comment and information. You are right, you are not alone. The things you are experiencing are the withdrawal symptoms of Aspartame. I had many of these myself when I tried to quit cold turkey. They are horrible. Keep fighting, it will eventually get better and when it is all over, your body will thank you. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  44. Jill says:

    Thanks, Mike, for the great information here. I was starting to think I was crazy. I have been a Diet Coke addict since the age of 13 (I’ll be 38 next week). I had half a can last Thursday and went cold turkey after reading some articles e:mailed to me by a friend who was concerned about my enormous intake of the stuff. I typically drink 6 – 8 cans a day, coupled with coffee in the morning and at night, with an energy drink or two thrown in for good measure if I need to stay up late to work. Three days with no Diet Coke and I feel like I’m going to die. I can’t think straight, my head hurts so bad I can’t pick my head up off the pillow, my feet feel numb and I’m actually wearing my computer glasses all the time because I feel like I can’t see straight. For me, it’s not so much that I want to be off the caffeine, it’s the Nutra Sweet. I’ve tried to replace the Diet Coke with more coffee, etc., but I feel absolutely horrible.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with the rest of us – it’s really very helpful to know that I’m not alone!

  45. wittmc says:

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you for the comment and question. In doing a little research, Splenda or sucralose is a better alternative than drinks with Aspertame, but overall, from what I read, that same type of side effects found with Aspertame are also found with most other artificial sweeteners, but not quite at the same level and some depends on the person and how much they absorb. The best alternative today, hands down is a natural sweetener called Stevia. Do some searches on Stevia, nothing but positive stuff and my family uses it all the time. Drink ACT also uses Stevia. Thanks again for the comment, hopefully I have helped to answer your question.

    Mike Witt

  46. Amy says:

    what about splenda (sucralose)

  47. wittmc says:

    Hi Carlene,

    Thank you for the comment and information. I am not a doctor but I can bet that some of what you experience might be from the aspartame and or caffeine or both. As far a detoxing, everyone is a little different, but I have read the same things that you have, and for some it can take a couple months, but usually after stopping the intake people start to feel better everyday. The challenge is making it through the withdrawal symptoms and trying to replace your habit with something more healthy. If I can kick my Diet Coke habit, I know you can kick yours as well.

    Thanks,Mike

  48. Carlene says:

    Hi, I have been doing research on Aspartame and came across this site. I have been drinking it for probably 10 years now in my iced coffees that I get everyday. I am now shaking, depressed, moody, and feel like my mind is going crazy and dizzy like an off equilibruim. I am not going to drink or eat anything with aspartame in it, do u think I will go back to normal? I am 30 years old and feel like I am getting ms or parkinsons or something. I went to the Dr. last week and all my blood tests were normal but now that I have found all this info on aspartame I feel like I have done irreversable damage to my body. Does it really take 60 days to detox it out of your system? Please help! Thanx,

    Carlene

  49. wittmc says:

    Hi Manon,

    You are more than welcome, I am glad to hear that you have realized the dangers of diet soda and have kicked the habit. Your body thank you in the long run.

    Thanks,
    Mike Witt

  50. manon doyle says:

    Hey Mike,

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I’m a very healthy person and I felt the aspartame was extremely unhealthy for me. I think I really liked the cold fizzy pop. I’m now drinking unsweetened iced green tea. Much better for me.

    I appreciate your encouragement.

    -manon

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