Flavored water can give you a low-calorie or calorie-free zing when you need a hydrating boost, but it can also give you a dose of the artificial sweetener aspartame. While aspartame in low doses is safe for many and it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it does come with potential side effects. Mental health journalist John McManamy notes people suffering from a mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder, are at an increased risk of aspartame's negative effects.
Negative Physical Effects
Aspartame has the potential to riddle your body with negative side effects, according to FitWatch.com. Dizziness, headaches and vision problems are those that can wreak havoc on your head, along with fatigue and problems sleeping. Your digestive system can take a beating, with side effects that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cramps. The most severe side effects affect your entire body and include a rash or case of hives, changes in your heart rate, difficulty breathing and, in the most extreme cases, convulsions or seizures.
Negative Mental Effects
Mood swings top the list of potential negative mental effects of aspartame, with highs, lows and sudden shifts from one mood to another. Exacerbated depression is another potential side effect for those who already suffer from depression or another mood disorder. Aspartame can also lead to memory loss or problems remembering things.
Those who are not overly sensitive to food additives or suffering from a mood disorder have a better chance of reaping the positive side effects of aspartame. The artificial sweetener can enhance the taste of the flavored water without adding excess calories, a key to weight maintenance and loss. It can also reduce the risk of tooth decay since aspartame does not result in cavities and decay. Aspartame is also friendlier to diabetics than waters flavored with natural sugar or other sugary juices and drinks.
Water flavored with aspartame is not the only option for a low- or zero-calorie drink. Regular water without any additives offers no chance of negative side effects from aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. Add a bit of zest to plain water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Flavored water is not the only drink or food item that contains aspartame, either. Diet sodas often rely on the artificial sweetener, as do cakes, candies, canned foods, jams, jellies and many other foods and drinks.
- Fitwatch: Aspartame Side Effects: Could Aspartame Be the Cause of Your Health Problems?
- MayoClinic.com: Artificial Sweeteners: Understanding These and Other Sugar Substitutes
- McMan's Depression and Bipolar Web; Don't Drink the Diet Coke; John McManamy; January 2011
- MayoClinic.com; Diet Soda -- Is It Bad for You; Katherine Zeratsky; Noember 2009