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Dizziness and disorientation .... aspartame?

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I have been on CC for about 3 weeks (44 -male).  I have not made any significant changes in my diet yet other than eliminating fast food and sugar based drinks.  Recently I have been experiencing episodes of dizziness and disorientation and some problems with concentration.  

I drink 3 - 4 diet sodas a day to replace my addiction to kool-aid and regular coke. After doing some research on the Internet it appears that the aspartame may be the culprit.  However, most of these sites seem obsessed with Gov't conspiracy theories and are always hawking some book or "detox program" for $$.  So, I don't really trust the content.

Has anyone else experienced this?  Is it temporary? am i just crazy?  (high possibility).

I am planning to remove the diet drinks for a while to see.  but water is just so... boring.

12 Replies (last)

You are absolutely NOT crazy! Aspartame does horrible things to me-When I was in my teens I started getting horrible migraines, they started with dizziness/disorientation/numbness in my limbs then progressed to full blown migraines. It took several years before I finally figured out that aspartame was the culprit!

I now avoid it like the plague, but if I take a drink/bite of anything with aspartame in it (accidentally) I can tell within a few minutes as the above symptoms start to kick in...the disorientation was always the worst for me-weird things like I could NOT remember my mother's name, or where I was, what I was doing....no matter how hard I concentrated on it!

I've never heard/read of any gov't conspiracy theories, but I do know that anything that causes such violent reactions in my body is to be avoided at all costs!

I have found that I can eat/drink sucralose (Splenda) without the same effects, but if I have an excessive amount of it then I do get pretty nasty headaches (not migraines, but gross nonetheless).

I used to hate water, but after discovering what aspartame did to me I made a real effort to transition to it...it took a long time, but now I prefer to have a glass of cold water to any soda/sweet drink. I started with transitioning to a lot of tea, then flavored seltzer water, now I'm happy with plain old water!


Hope this helps a bit!


p.s. cute dog!

(edit-added bit about water)

You may be allergic/sensitive to it. Most people do NOT experience the effects you are feeling, though. There are other changes to your diet that you might be ignoring. You eliminated fast food...so what did you replace it with? Have you ever had blood sugar problems? Are you drinking water in addition to the soda or just the soda? Because caffeine is dehydrating and dizziness is a sign of dehydration.

I'd second looking elsewhere for the causes if, when you stop drinking diet sodas, the symptoms remain.   Dizziness, light-headedness aren't things to be ignored and can be symptomatic of a lot of different things ranging from iron deficiencies and low blood-sugars to fatigue, blood pressure and circulatory problems.  So if things carry on for much longer do go to see your doctor.

If you don't like neat water try things like herb and fruit teas.  Sparkling water can be more interesting.

I have never been really big on sodas other than once in a while I just want a coke.   However, I've worked with some 24 (Coke) packers or more a week.   One of them when off sodas cold turkey and had those same symptoms - it was temporary for him so maybe you'll have the same luck! 

You can try sodas with Splenda: Waist Watchers brand in stores.

Do you eat carbs? You might have a low blood sugar due to low carb intake.

I had similar symptoms on low card diet.


Thanks all for the responses!

I have never had a problem with blood sugar or high blood pressure and there is no family history.  My Carbs are at 46% of my diet over the past couple of weeks.   My caffeine intake is the same although the symptoms are a bit similar to too much caffeine. 

As far as replacing the fast-food I have to admit it has been difficult to meet my goal of 1800 calories.  I have been averaging about 1400.  Now, I have lost 6 pounds which is nice but I do wonder if the "starvation factor" may be part of the issue.  I'm not hungry, but according to the calculations on this site 1400 is too low for me.

I am planning to increase my water intake and eliminate any diet soda for a few weeks.  Of course if it does not improve a doctors visit will be in order. 


I have had problems with aspartame in the past. It caused dizzy spells for me and when I stopped the aspartame the dizzy spells stopped. When I restarted the aspartame the dizzy spells restarted.

I now avoid it.

When I look at the number of calories in a teaspoon of sugar the aspartame/Splenda seem unneccessary for me.


I haven't had quite so bad reactions to aspartame, but I know when I drink too much of it, it turns my pee super neon yellow, which kind of freaks me out haha.

Nestea has some single pack powders you put into water to make it taste better (similar to Crystal Light, but without the aspartame) and they're really yummy


My daughter and I were eating lunch at a restaurant last Saturday and when we sipped out diet coke refill we both experienced disorientation for a few seconds, very weird.  We both felt weak for an hour or so. The diet coke was the only thing we had in common.  I wonder if the restaurant had the diet coke mixed wrong?

Even though it's hard, please try your best to switch to water! Although diet drinks have no calories, they are loaded with chemicals and many have artificial colorings. Aspartame is also not safe to consume regularly. 

I like squeezing some lemon and adding a little honey or a packet of stevia (a natural no-calorie sweetener) to water for a healthy 'lemonade'. :) Just a suggestion. Try adding cucumbers, mint, or pieces of fruit to your water. I like frozen fruit to use as ice, too. 

It's possible that you either have a specific sensitivity to the stuff or you've become dehydrated. Plenty of diet drinks are loaded with caffeine which is a diuretic - this could also be having an effect.

I firmly believe that aspartame is safe to consume and doesn't have the effects blasted by the hysterical mass media. For example, metastudies of hundreds of studies have come to the conclusion that aspartame is safe eg [1], and there has been widespread criticism that studies which did find a link between cancer and aspartame were fundamentally flawed - here's another one as an example [2]

[1] Butchko et al, 2002, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology Vol 35, pp 1-93


[2] Magnuson and Williams, 2008, Environmental health Perspectives, Vol 116 [6] pp 239-240 

But it's a good idea to cut back a little to see if there is something in there that's causing the symptoms.


While I agree that an aspartame sensitivity is possible, it is not the only explanation for your symptoms (if I can drink them without ill effect, then I am sure others can too - unless I am a genetic freak).

I think the more likely cause of your symptoms is not enough calories and low hydration.

Get your calorie intake up to the 1800 recommended and increase your water intake. I will bet anything your symptoms will subside, even if you continue to drink diet soda.

If they do not, then you could have something else going on and should make an appointment to see your doctor.

12 Replies