Aspartame linked to depression in new study, found in diet pop - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Is diet soda making you sad? New study says yes

Posted: Updated: Feb 19, 2013 03:49 PM
  • More newsMore>>

  • Police: Trooper hurt in ambush conscious, talking

    Police: Trooper hurt in ambush conscious, talking

    Sunday, September 14 2014 9:40 PM EDT2014-09-15 01:40:44 GMT
    With the deadly ambush on a state police barracks in the Pocono Mountains, law enforcement in eastern Pennsylvania went on high alert and officers from throughout the region, including New York and New Jersey,...More >>
    A Pennsylvania state trooper who was injured when a gunman ambushed him and killed another trooper outside a police barracks is conscious and talking for the first time since he underwent surgery, a spokesman said Sunday.More >>
  • Hillary Clinton in Iowa stirs 2016 speculation

    Hillary Clinton in Iowa stirs 2016 speculation

    Sunday, September 14 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-09-15 00:10:40 GMT
    White House speculation in overdrive, Hillary Rodham Clinton returns to Iowa to pay tribute to the state's retiring Democratic senator as anticipation builds over the possibility of another presidential campaign.More >>
    Hillary Rodham Clinton, making her return to Iowa for the first time since the 2008 presidential campaign, implored Democrats on Sunday to choose shared economic opportunity over "the guardians of gridlock" in an...More >>
  • Vikings miss Peterson in 30-7 loss to Patriots

    Vikings miss Peterson in 30-7 loss to Patriots

    Sunday, September 14 2014 7:10 PM EDT2014-09-14 23:10:46 GMT
    Adrian Peterson did not accompany the Minnesota Vikings to the stadium on Sunday for the game against the New England Patriots. The star running back is keeping his distance in the wake of child abuse charges that...More >>
    The face of the franchise was nowhere to be found as the Minnesota Vikings flailed away against the New England Patriots on Sunday, and it's not clear when, if ever, Adrian Peterson will rejoin them.More >>
EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -

Do you feel a little depressed at night? It might be because of something you drank during the day.
   
Something that a lot of us consume every day for a pick-me-up, could actually be bringing us down.

This is a brand new study that could affect most of us. It's an ingredient found in most diet drinks. It's been around for decades, and chances are, you've heard some controversy surrounding it.  

But what you probably do not know is, there's a new study underway that could link some cases of depression to aspartame.

Playing in the park and just being active is one way Emily Wilkinson keeps her two young boys healthy. The other involves watching what they eat and drink.

"Aspartame is absolutely horrible," Wilkinson said. "As long as I can prevent it, they will not have it."

She's concerned about what aspartame, an artificial sweetener, could do to their young bodies.

"They actually find that it creates nerve damage in the brain which is directly is related to depression, as well as ADHD, ADD," Wilkinson told our Evansville sister station, WFIE.

Could something that many of us consume every day in diet sodas, drink mixes, and even chewing gum, actually be bringing us down?

Dr. Schultz, an Evansville physician, is keeping a close eye on those independent studies, looking into whether aspartame reduces the amount of a very important neurotransmitter in your brain that controls your mood called serotonin.  

Simply put, reducing serotonin reduces happiness.

"In clinical practice, there have been many observations made that aspartame may cause problems with mood swings, emotional ability, and also can cause some problems with anxiety," Dr. Schultz said.  

Dr. Schultz says he's seen children in his office with those very problems. One of his first recommendations to their parents is to remove aspartame from their diets.

"And almost immediately they noticed marked improvement in their child's behavior," Dr. Schultz said.  

Aspartame could have the same effect on adults. After all, adults are more likely to consume higher amounts of aspartame than children. Especially those who grab a diet soda or use a drink mix to flavor their water, all in an effort to cut down on calories.

"I would always recommend to somebody who wants to steer clear of aspartame not to justify that with a regular sugar beverage because they're going to get excess calories from that," Corey Filbert said. 

Filbert, a nutrition coordinator at Evansville, Indiana hospital St. Mary's, says the good news is some new, low-calorie artificial sweeteners were recently approved. One is taken from a fruit. The other is already on the market called Stevia.

"So where you see a lot of aspartame in beverages and diet drinks right now, I think in the future we'll see more Stevia as an option," Filbert said.

So if you're one of those feeling a little down after popping open several diet drinks, the next time reach for something else. It might just be what the doctor ordered.

"Stop the product with aspartame in it, whether it be soda or artificial candy. Have them go with a more natural type of compounds and so forth in their diet, and see if there's an improvement in their mood," Dr. Schultz said.

Or just ask Wilkinson, who credits an aspartame-free diet as one of the reasons her two boys are healthy and happy.

"Do the research because it's very important to know what you're putting into your body and how it's going to effect you long term," Wilkinson said.

Aspartame has been approved for use by the FDA for over 30 years now.

A claim cannot be made that aspartame actually causes depression because those studies are just now taking place.

Copyright 2013 WFIE. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow