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Aspartame Withdrawal Symptoms: List Of Possibilities

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener (non-saccharide) that is often used as a substitute for sugar in drinks such as diet sodas as well as foods like chewing gum. Aspartame was first created under the name NutraSweet in 1965 and is made up of three specific elements: phenlalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. There is much controversy surrounding its use in food products since being approved by the FDA in 1981. It has been reevaluated multiple times and 2013 research suggests that consumption of the sweetener at current levels is safe for humans.

Due to its breakdown that includes phenylalanine, aspartame should not be consumed by individuals that have been diagnosed with PKU (phenylketonuria). A majority of people consume aspartame in large amounts when they drink diet soda. Some researchers suggest that aspartame can actually be an addictive additive, which tends to result in withdrawal symptoms when a person discontinues consumption. Chemically speaking, it is believed that aspartame has addictive properties because it affects the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain.

When withdrawing from aspartame, people often report an array of different withdrawal effects. Many individuals though who withdraw from drinking diet soda end up dealing with caffeine withdrawal symptoms, which can have some similar effects to the discontinuation from aspartame. In fact, many people going through “withdrawal” from caffinated beverages are more likely dealing with the caffeine withdrawal as it has a greater effect on our level of arousal and cognition. That being said, there is some evidence that cutting aspartame consumption can also lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Factors that influence Aspartame withdrawal

Aspartame itself can have an effect on the way the brain is functioning, therefore when it is discontinued, people may experience withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms are usually influenced by the time span over which aspartame was consumed, amount consumed on a daily basis, individual psychology, and whether you taper off of it or quit cold turkey.

1. Time Span

How long have you been consuming aspartame? People who have been polishing off 6 cans of diet soda per day for years are likely consuming a pretty high amount of aspartame. The longer the time over which you have been consistently consuming this additive, the more severe the withdrawal process will likely be compared to someone who randomly has a can of soda.

2. Daily Consumption (Amount)

In the average carbonated beverage, there is 180 mg of aspartame. If you drink several of these per day, your aspartame consumption is likely pretty high. In a powdered soft drink there is approximately 120 mg of aspartame, while in a stick of gum, there is only 6 to 8 mg per stick. It is thought that if you consume a lot of aspartame on a daily basis, you may experience more significant withdrawals than someone who consumes a very low amount.

3. Individual Physiology

Much of the withdrawal experience will be based on individual circumstances. Some people will naturally have a more difficult time coping with the cravings that they experience when withdrawing. People who have consumed large quantities of aspartame for an extended period of time may have a tougher time with the withdrawal.

It should also be noted that some people tend to have nervous systems that recover at quicker rates than others. If you are on any other drugs, it may affect your ability to notice a withdrawal and/or minimize symptoms.

4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

Most people do not bother tapering off of aspartame – they just quit “cold turkey.” Compared to other drugs, this is not something that necessarily needs to be tapered off of. However, most of the time when people gradually taper off of a drug or something that is having an influence on their physiology, tapering results in less withdrawal effects. You could conduct a gradual taper if you think it will help or if you cannot handle quitting cold turkey.

Aspartame Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below are a list of possible symptoms that you may experience during withdrawal from aspartame. Keep in mind that compared to serious drugs, these symptoms are likely not going to be nearly as intense or severe. Aspartame is known to have an effect on the brain’s pleasure center – specifically influencing dopamine. It is thought that when this dopamine influence is initially removed, a person may experience some sort of discontinuation symptoms.

  • Anxiety: One symptom that people may notice in a subtle way is some anxiety. Aspartame can have an influence on moods and affect anxiety levels in sensitive individuals. In various self-accounts, people have noted excessive anxiety when she stopped drinking her powdered aspartame drinks.
  • Appetite changes: In some individuals, aspartame can subtly increase appetite and cravings for junk food. In other people, it may reduce appetite. When you stop your consumption, do not be surprised if your appetite changes.
  • Concentration: Many individuals report that they feel mentally foggy for a short term during withdrawal. However, eventually many have reported experiencing increases in concentration and less deficits in attention and hyperactivity.
  • Cravings: Perhaps the most common symptom to experience is that of cravings. Anything that has an influence on dopamine in the brain can lead a person to crave more of the substance. Be mindful of any cravings that you have during your withdrawal.
  • Depression: When people aren’t getting their fix of aspartame and withdraw, they can sometimes end up with a low-grade, mild depression. Keep in mind that this isn’t going to be the case for everyone, but stopping it may result in a temporary mood dip.
  • Dizziness: If you experience dizziness when you stop drinking diet soda, it may be more due to the caffeine withdrawal than that of aspartame. However, some individuals have reported experiencing minor dizziness when they quit aspartame.
  • Fatigue: Aspartame may have an influence on your energy levels and excitation in the brain. When you stop consuming it, you may become temporarily lethargic or notice that your energy levels are low.
  • Headaches: Another commonly reported symptom during withdrawal is that of headaches. Some have gone on to say that they’ve experienced painful migraines as they’ve come off of aspartame. Stay hydrated, rest, and consider headache relief medicine if your headaches are severe.
  • Heart palpitations: With increased anxiety during withdrawal can sometimes lead to palpitations or sensations of abnormally loud or racing heart beat. These should subside as soon as your anxiety diminishes.
  • Insomnia: Do you notice that you cannot fall asleep at night now since cutting aspartame? This is something that may affect you in the initial few weeks of quitting. Your sleep cycle should recover and your arousal should drop.
  • Joint pain: Some people have noted joint pain when they quit using aspartame. You may also note some degree of muscle weakness and/or body aches.
  • Lightheadedness: There is no specific reason for feeling “lightheaded” when quitting aspartame, but it is a symptom that some people experience. Ironically some people actually get this symptom when they drink aspartame as well.
  • Mood swings: As was mentioned, you may experience both anxiety and depression during withdrawal. These alone can lead a person to have mood swings during the acute phases of withdrawal (i.e. first couple weeks).
  • Panic attacks: This isn’t really a common symptom, but some individuals have noticed that when they withdraw from consumption of aspartame, they experience significant anxiety and panic. If you notice yourself becoming panicky, take the time to realize that it’s likely due to your withdrawal. Practice some deep breathing and relaxation techniques to help calm your nervous system.
  • Restlessness: Certain people may notice that they feel especially restless for the first week or two after they cut aspartame. This may have to do with aspartame consumption actually keeping an individual calm. When the aspartame is cut, it may make a person temporarily restless until their brain gets used to not having the additive.
  • Sleep changes: If your sleep cycle changes, it could be due to the aspartame withdrawal. If you are also cutting caffeine, it is more likely due to the caffeine than the aspartame. Any changes in sleep patterns should subside in a week or two.
  • Weight changes: It has been noted that aspartame can influence food cravings and hunger. Some people may lose weight when they come off of aspartame. Others may experience more normal cravings for food if aspartame acted as an appetite suppressant.

Aspartame Withdrawal Duration: How long does it last?

There is no predictable duration for withdrawal symptoms from aspartame. Some people have reported feeling completely recovered within one week. Others have reported that it took up to a full month for them to feel psychologically recovered with normal energy levels. In any event, the withdrawal will likely not last more than a month as this is not some serious psychiatric drug – it is merely a food additive.

Additionally, I would not be surprised if people find that they don’t notice any withdrawal from cutting aspartame. In most cases, what diet soda drinkers are referencing as “aspartame withdrawal” is actually caffeine withdrawal. In any event, it is recommended to make sure your nutrition is balanced, that you are getting adequate exercise, and are allowing your body to get some extra rest during withdrawal.

Eventually your body’s blood sugar levels and energy stores should normalize and avoid excess sugar as people have also experienced sugar withdrawal symptoms. Additionally your neurotransmission in the brain should reset and transition to functioning without the influence of aspartame. During aspartame withdrawal it is recommended to avoid all artificial sweeteners. If you end up having strong cravings, choose some sort of natural sweetener or avoid all sweeteners if you can.

Have you successfully withdrawn from aspartame consumption? If so, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below. What did you experience when you initially cut aspartame from your diet? How long was your withdrawal process? Do you feel healthier overall or did you not really notice much of any change?

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{ 169 comments… add one }
  • Shelley September 20, 2014, 6:11 pm

    I stopped all aspartame consumption approx 9 days ago after finding myself with severe pain in my left thigh. Doctor thought it was nerve damage due to heavy lifting, but painkillers didn’t help, only when I stopped the aspartame, did my thigh improve. This, unfortunately has not been the first time I felt pain due to aspartame, which I take in the 3in1 sugar free coffee mix.

    Previously I’ve had terrible back pains, kidney area, and stopped the coffee, only to slowly go back to it after a few weeks. This time was the worst and has pushed me to be aware of stopping all aspartame consumption. I have not had any mood swings, headaches etc, probably because I am still drinking coffee, brewed, no sugar. But I have joint pains, mostly in the shoulders, lower back, and knees.

    I’m more hungry for snack food, but feel less bloated. I generally don’t feel fatigue, just old because of the joint pain. I’m also experiencing a slight twitch on my eye. I have also experienced bad reactions to what I assume is a high amount of msg. I have had the feeling of pressure building up in my head, like my face was being pushed up. It has lasted for 2-3 hours, making it impossible to do anything. After it wore off I felt exhausted. It’s made me aware of staying away from msg, and where I eat out.

    • JT January 8, 2016, 4:25 pm

      Magnesium supplement will help abate nearly all of your remaining discomfort! Give ‘er a go. -JT

  • Philly area October 1, 2014, 3:37 am

    My first few days were brutal. My mouth would water at the thought of a diet Coke. Day four, I felt like I had the flu. My muscles hurt and all I could do was sleep. Initially, my food cravings were way down, but after a week or so, I began craving sweets. Three weeks of that, and I was starting to eat less and was definitely craving less. I’m about seven weeks out and I’m finally starting to lose weight. I never had headaches, but I did get (and am still getting) some eye tics. I’m not sure they’re related, but the timing is very coincidental and the tics do seem to be subsiding now that I’m seven weeks off aspartame.

    • Kristen October 20, 2016, 6:06 am

      I had the same experience, including joint and muscle aches. Oddly, I had eye twitching too! I’m three weeks off diet coke (6-9 cans a day). I’m glad to hear that your symptoms subsided. It gives me hope!

      • Nicole December 5, 2016, 1:51 am

        I am six weeks off. Had a few days of tics but overall – feeling great.

  • chrissy October 11, 2014, 10:39 am

    I stopped over 2 months ago. I don’t know if I was highly toxic or what, but it seems like it’s taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get out of my system. At the same time, I also quit (both cold turkey) stuffing high fructose corn syrup in my face. Lastly, no fast food, no greasy junk, high fats, etc.. It was hard (mentally) only a couple of days, which really surprised me. I figured I’d drool at any chocolate, but it was actually easier in that part. After it had been a month, I noticed a few weird things.

    I’m 41, so I know my body pretty well by now. First, at bedtime, I’d be starving. Like….eat what was in the cat box-hungry. My stomach would growl and rumble, until I finally would have to get up and scrounge around for something at 2 a.m. Finally, back in bed, I lay there, and lay there, and lay there. Now I can’t sleep, which, in the morning I am a complete hazy fog. So I make it to the couch all zombie-like, plop down and watch the news (see… I sound like I’m definitely some 90 year old!).

    I did NOT cut out caffeine, I think I would croak if I did. As I sip my coffee, I realize, “at least caught up on all the exciting happs.” Finally around 2 PM, my day is ready to start. Some things I have noticed – I have not gained weight or lost weight. My muscles do seem a bit wimpier, not that I had much tone to speak of in the first place. I did not bloat and my boobs didn’t get sore during PMS. I do seem more lazy, been putting things off I normally wouldn’t do. My face seems not so clear.

    Have had breakouts pretty much for 2 months straight, (lucky me)! But on the positive side, my brain does seem like it’s smarter. I can’t really explain it, especially since it’s fuzzy the first half of the day. My thoughts have seemed more creative, kind of like I can “think outside the box” a lot better than I ever have before. So, in a nutshell, I would have to say that OVERALL I don’t feel better, but I don’t feel worse. My symptoms now are 100% different than the ones I started with.

    The reason I didn’t want to eat/drink all that nasty junk anymore was because I had achy joints, stiffness, I felt slow and old. My joints don’t hurt anymore, but my head is a lot more fogged. I loved reading the other replies, lots of good stuff!

    • Lou April 28, 2016, 5:03 am

      I can understand the brain seeming sharper, as recent research has shown that many organizations’ pilots are not allowed to fly after aspartame consumption. Have a search online.

  • Kathy October 25, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Hi all, I just started aspartame withdrawl and I feel lousy. Right now I am tired and cranky, but I hope it will get better soon. I’ve been consuming aspartame since it came on the market. My use has been heavy. I am bipolar, so the emotional problems are worse for me. I went to a lecture and the professional said that you will never lose weight if you continue to consume aspartame. My husband has been wanting me to stop consuming aspartame, so I stopped yesterday. I’m headed for the exercise bike now for a work out, maybe that will make me feel less grumpy!

  • Toni December 10, 2014, 7:20 am

    Today is my first day without aspartame. My eyes hurt. I feel like I have the flu. I’m achy and lethargic and I’m craving sugar. I have found myself easily becoming distracted and it has been difficult to staying focused. I’ve had black coffee and unsweetened tea. And I’ve had waves of nausea all day. Very hard to concentrate.

  • Jan December 20, 2014, 3:15 pm

    I was a two-liter a day drinker (if not more) for years. I started losing my hair in April (now December) which is what prompted me to explore the possibilities of this problem. I quit meds used for cholesterol, triglycerides, high blood pressure — all in an effort to control this hair loss. (This decision did not work, although I will continue to stay off of these medications due to their sever side effects). Finally I discovered that aspartame can indeed cause significant hair loss.

    That was the final straw. I’ve had a continuous headache since I quit all aspartame (five days ago), have been told by my EX boyfriend that I have been acting weird (without a doubt he was correct), but I will persist. Aspartame is poison and I’m convinced that my blood sugar and other health issues will improve, not to mention my bipolar disorder and anxiety issues. I am praying for this cure.

    • Jodi August 10, 2015, 2:07 am

      Omg, I was reading your story and thought I was reading my own!!! I see you wrote this in December 2014, so I am curious how the hair loss turned out??? I’m going through the exact same thing!

    • joan jones November 4, 2016, 4:03 pm

      Yes it is poison. Literally! I quit 3 weeks ago. Symptoms were awful. Not going back!

      • Nicole December 5, 2016, 1:53 am

        Six weeks off and my hair is noticeably thicker. Also apparently I no longer get PMS.

  • Betsy December 27, 2014, 4:42 pm

    I quit aspartame 6 days ago. I had a mild chest cold starting the day I quit so I kept thinking my withdrawal symptoms were due to that. I had terrible headaches for about 4 days & slept constantly. Good thing I was off of work this week or I wouldn’t have got through it. I started vomiting every two hours on the 3rd day, it was so severe I thought of going to the hospital but I frankly was just too tired to bother. I noticed that my eyes were very sensitive to light, I kept squinting to watch TV & it made my headache.

    Today I feel wonderful! My body doesn’t hurt anywhere, I have a measure of energy that I have not had in years. I’m happy & less bloated. I have been a heavy consumer of aspartame for years, I switched to decaf 2 yrs ago so I don’t think I’m having caffeine withdrawal. I have to say I think its totally worth it. I have a lot of weight to lose and I have not had any cravings, in fact, its been very easy to walk by sweets… I hope it lasts!

    • Eileen May 15, 2015, 12:21 pm

      This is encouraging as it’s been 24 hours since my last diet coke. I’m going cold turkey and I’m in so much pain. My head is killing me and I just had one glass of coke that my daughter let me have as we decided as I’m in so much pain to switch to tapering off. I was drinking a 2 liter bottle daily And sometimes more. I also need to lose wait and I spoke to a biochemist friend of mine and she said is a appetite stimulant because of the stuff in it. She said it’s worse than regular coke because of the artificial sweeteners.

      So I went cold turkey but it’s killing me. Well feels like it. So had this glass of diet Pepsi just now to see if it would ease the pain of withdrawal and my body just rejected it and I threw it all up. So my daughter has the bottle which we have agreed to last me 4 days. Maybe a glass a day and a smaller glass each day. But as my body has just chucked it up. I think I’m just going to sleep now and see how I feel later. But I’m definitely not drinking this stuff again once I get past this week. No chance.

  • Cassandra December 30, 2014, 2:12 pm

    Today is my third day. Ahhh, headaches galore! My head feels like it has been split open with an axe. Heavy artificial sweetener user for years. I stopped b/c I ran out, and it’s a lot more expensive where I live. Thanks for the support and good luck on your journeys, too!

  • Karen Lincoln January 7, 2015, 11:24 pm

    Hello all, I gave up aspartame 6 weeks ago cold turkey! The best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. I was having diet Pepsi every day and worst I could consume up to 2ltrs a day. I’m 57 at a time in my life where my body is in transition…lol. I blamed everything on my menopause. I had to come off HRT due to deep vain thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. This opened a new door as to how my body was working for me. I will also add that I have suffered serious lengthy bouts of depression since my mid/late teens.

    After my DVT/PE scare everything seemed to be pointing to my hormones/brain chemicals. Talking to my friends about my aches n pains sleep problems, my depression and a number of other issues, I started to think very seriously about my brain chemicals. I do have a pretty good knowledge how the brain and behavior work. I was now listening to my body and making links with physical symptoms I was experiencing and what chemicals I was putting in my body. I was also aware of my moaning about how rubbish I felt and was sick of hearing me!!

    I asked my GP to do a vitamin D blood test and this came back low. I’m into my 4th month of GP prescription vitamin D. A friend had done some research online about aspartame. We looked at the side effects and I was gobsmacked at the amount of symptoms I was experiencing! I stopped diet Pepsi there and then. I check food and drink labels now and don’t buy anything with aspartame in. My whole feeling of wellbeing has improved my appetite and what I eat are are better.

    I want more veg and fruit as it taste better…my teeth are brighter my tongue is clean, my joints are better my sleep pattern is improving, I’m not as fatigued as I was, my moods and my thought process is improving. I’m still having ear buzzing and I do believe it has deteriorated my eye sight. It will be interesting to see when my vitamin D levels are sorted how much more improved my physical and psychological wellbeing will be. Good luck to you and stick with it.

  • Amanda January 17, 2015, 4:35 am

    I’ve been drinking diet coke for 13yrs + I would have 4-5 cans a day. It became so addicting. I didn’t drink it to lose weight… I just liked the taste. I watched a doc. On YouTube and it changed me. I then decided to quit ‘cold Turkey’ now I drink nothing but tea and water.

    Symptoms I’ve noticed WHILE drinking diet coke:
    -mood swings
    -depression
    -ringing in the ear
    -brain fog
    -blurry vision
    -joint pain
    -digestive problems

    I’ve stopped drinking soda for 14 days… WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS:
    -dizziness
    -headaches
    -feels like I’m hungry all the time
    -anxiety

    I wonder when this will all go away :( however I feel like I see life a different way it’s hard to describe. I see things clearer I guess. Feel smarter and I can focus.

  • Jen Meyercheck January 21, 2015, 3:48 pm

    Today is day 5 for me. Days 1-2, I was just lethargic and slept a lot. It was the weekend, so NBD. Yesterday, though, was AWFUL! I was really foggy, exhausted, and had a terrible migraine for the second half of the day. I was begging my kids (3 and 5) to be kind to me because I hurt so badly. Woke up this morning feeling MUCH more human, but we’ll see how I fare as the day carries on. Wednesdays are my longest day (5a-10p), so I’m bracing myself for a rough second half.

  • Debbie January 23, 2015, 3:39 am

    I’ve quit drinking diet soda on December 31, 2014 and anything else containing artificial sweeteners. Oh my…my body went through a few things that I couldn’t understand why this was happening. Reading this forum helped me to see that it was the artificial sweetener that was causing kt. My withdrawal symptoms were….Tiredness, dizzy, lightheaded, cranky, moody, headaches galore!, exhaustion, and binges, cravings and hungry especially at night. It’s been 3 weeks that I’m off the artificial sweeteners and although most of my symptoms are gone, I’m still experiencing the binges, cravings and hunger at night. Hopefully that’ll go away and my body will go back to its normal self.

    I needed to stop using equal and Splenda and diet sodas because it was really taking a toll on me. One thing I noticed that has stopped is that I’m no longer have bowel movements as often as I did. I would have them at least 6 times a day. That would be the norm for me. It would drive me crazy. I would go then 5 minutes later I’d go again. I really though I had IBS that’s how bad it was. Now I go once or twice a day. I’m very happy about that. My goal is to give up sugar altogether but I can’t drink my coffee without it so I use 1/2 teaspoon of sugar until one day I can do without it. Hey it’s progress from 1 tablespoon.

    • Deborah April 13, 2016, 3:31 am

      Hello Everyone, I am about eight weeks into my quit cold turkey. I had such terrible digestive system problems for the last three years that I was desperate to find my problem. Since quitting aspartame my bloating has gone away and I’m not having all the uncontrollable gas problems. And the bowel problems.

      It’s not gone completely but it’s getting better. I am craving a lot of sugar and sweets but I’m trying to get moving and motivated to occupy my time. And trying to keep more fruits and healthy snacks around. Anyway good luck to everyone and keep on keep in on.

  • Greg January 27, 2015, 4:47 am

    I have had many health issues last couple years. I’m 49 male I have been drinking diet coke for 20 years at least 8 to 12 cans per day. I have finally realized how bad it is. Due to my Dr and friends concerns and stomach pain, bloating, throat, esophagus, issues I’m done with the stuff. Today is only 24 hours in and from this much consumption and having bad headaches , eye pain, stomach sounds crazy with noise, and I’m feeling pressure everywhere. I have been drinking water and cranberry juice and I’m hurting already. I hope it gets better sooner than later.

    • Julie January 30, 2015, 6:31 am

      Greg, I can relate! I’m 45 years old and have been consuming Diet Coke for over 20 years. Moderation was not in my vocabulary; I consumed 12 cans a day. I have quit on three occasions only to return after my children were born. It’s a battle to quit. But once you get over the withdrawal, you’re home free. Good luck.

  • Desiree January 28, 2015, 2:17 pm

    I have been drinking coffee for over 10 years and each morning it was 7 packs of splenda into the coffee… It tasted sweet and amazing! HOWEVER I was suffering from unexplained neurologic symptoms that no test could diagnose (i.e. Night time paralysis, Fatigue, Numbing joints, Mood swings and major joint pain. so on. One day I saw a post on Facebook showing what aspartame does and I decided to kick the habit… It took me 4 months to come down from the initial withdrawal of going COLD TURKEY…

    I had horrible headaches, worsened joint pain, Severe Anxiety and panic attacks and cravings. I tried it again after 4 months and it tasted like I drank a bottle of windex and I instantly became ill after consuming my coffee like this ( I didn’t consume much because of the taste). It took me 2 years to get rid of the anxiety, panic and depression, but I have returned to a normal life and limit even regular sugar now as regular sugar can be just as dangerous! I hope this helps someone. YOU CAN walk away from this poison!

    • Tori April 24, 2015, 7:53 pm

      Deb: I am also a big Splenda user, but did you mean to say that you are withdrawing from Splenda or Aspartame? They are not the same thing, of course. I found this site by googling “aspartame withdrawal symptoms,” but now I am curious whether you had Splenda withdrawal symptoms. I quit Aspartame 4 days ago, but I don’t really want to give up the Splenda if I don’t have to. Asparatame withdrawal has made me sleep an extra hour every night. It has also made me clumsy and mentally fuzzy in the daytime.

      • Martha June 19, 2015, 1:32 pm

        I’m curious too. I’m on day 4 with no diet drinks or aspartame. Had a major headache last night. (Minor headaches every day for the last 4 days.) Wished I could just pinch my head off of my shoulders last night. LOL This morning it’s better. I use Splenda to cook with and to sweeten maybe 1 glass of tea a day. I’m not planning on giving up Splenda. I’m diabetic and Splenda makes life without sugar bearable.

        • Jennifer February 22, 2016, 2:06 am

          I just gave up artificial sweetener all together 5 days ago. I didn’t consume much aspartame but I did consume Splenda & Stevia a lot. I’ve had the worst headaches, dizziness, extreme hunger, and cravings for anything sweet. I hope it goes away soon. I really am trying to stay strong but it’s hard.

  • Deb January 28, 2015, 7:18 pm

    I have been drinking diet coke every day for years. I have known for a long time that aspartame is poison, but didn’t want to quit drinking diet soda. I enjoyed the cool bubbles and always had a soda in my car during those long drives when I was taking my kids everywhere. It was a distraction and kept me from munching on other things.

    Now I’m 47 and can’t lose the extra ten pounds I have gained in the last few years. I have even stepped up my exercise and have tried to lose it. I have finally realized that I’m putting all this effort into losing weight and drinking all that diet coke everyday could be just what is defeating all my efforts. I have cut back drinking diet soda and notice that on the days when I consume less, I feel better.

    I’ve been off diet soda for five days now. The first twenty four hours I had a pretty bad headache. Now I get pressure in my head but it doesn’t persist. It comes and goes. I do feel flu-like from time to time. My sleep pattern has changed also. Today my face is scratchy and I notice a little acne that I usually don’t have. I even have a small sore in my mouth which I never ever have. I’m trying to consume more water. I’m not a coffee drinker either.

    I drink Kombucha and have decided to use that during this phase of quitting diet coke. It can be bubbly so I feel like I can enjoy it the way I used to enjoy diet coke. Kombucha is expensive so I can’t drink it every day unless I make it myself. I’ve taken the day off of work today because I feel the worst today. I am fighting the urge to drink a diet coke but resist it because despite the symptoms, I do feel better. My mind is brighter. I really just feel like sleeping so I’m being kind to myself and taking the “sick” day. Grateful to finally quit.

    • Leah March 17, 2015, 8:25 pm

      I am drinking LaCroix & coffee. After day 7 here of no diet coke I decided to research why I feel so “off” and lousy. I have never gone this long without a diet soda. I am not having the caffeine withdrawal, but I don’t feel good, everything aches and I am starving all the time. I think I am starving, I am missing something, the Diet Coke. I have wanted to quit for a long time.

      I am a type 2 and there is nothing to drink other than LaCroix. Can’t really drink any measurable amount of fruit juice or lemonade or OJ or regular soda (not that I want any soda) so have been drinking coffee (always have coffee every morning) and some ice tea. Water is good for you, great but I have been getting up 3X a night. Can’t drink all this water. I can’t say I am ever thirsty.

  • norma January 29, 2015, 12:55 am

    I have been using aspartame since 1968. I have gradually gone from 6 to 5 to 4 to 3 packets a day. This week I am using 2 packets a day. Worst part is migraines eye pain and drowsiness. I am determined to stop completely. Has anyone else weaned themselves from aspartame? How long before normalcy?

    • Nicole October 20, 2015, 5:39 pm

      Hi, I haven’t weaned myself, I am a 2 liter a day diet Pepsi drinker, and didn’t realize the side effects I would experience when they became aspartame free a few weeks ago, I have had debilitating migraines, mood swings, body aches, and skin rashes on my elbows and knees,(don’t know if the rash is connected). I have spinal/neck issues, so I attributed my headaches to that.

      But after reading all these posts, I do honestly believe that it is withdrawal from the aspartame. I always considered myself a health conscious person, with the exception of the diet soda. This is extremely frightening to know this chemical was sold to millions of people everyday around the world! I am afraid of what we will all discover in the months and years to come!

      • Trudie January 19, 2016, 11:46 pm

        I have been off diet coke for 2 weeks and 2 days and counting. I have had neck and head problems also similar to major tension which is causing headaches. I see that this is probably a withdraw symptom.

      • joan jones October 23, 2016, 5:40 am

        I agree. It’s poison!

  • Michelle February 8, 2015, 11:04 pm

    I quit aspartame cold turkey 3 days ago. I know the withdrawals aren’t caffeine related because I am still drinking coffee but have been using Truvia as a sweetener for a few years now. I was sucking down diet Sprite like crazy: 3-6 cans a day. I just had an MRI and had mild brain lesions that I’ve read are caused possibly by aspartame. What a wake up call… A friend of mine has been warning me of the dangers for years. Withdrawals yes, for sure: headache (ouch), groggy, fatigue, racing heart/palpitations, eye pain/twitching, achy flu like, etc. I’ve read that aspartame toxicity is reversible, so I’m happy about that. I’m hanging in there. :) Sending my best to you all. You’re moving in the right direction. Kiss kiss.

  • sarah February 9, 2015, 3:49 pm

    I quit Diet Coke 4 days ago and the withdrawal symptoms are brutal. I would drink 4 to 8 cans a day, I didn’t realize the damage I was doing even though people were telling me. The extent of the damage I did was clear to see when I ended up in the hospital from to bad panic attacks. Since quitting the Diet coke I have had panic attacks, headaches, anxiety, joint pain, and also blurry vision. I have never been scared in all my life. I am on day 4 now and still feel rough, but better then I did in day 1 and 2. Also I kept suffering with a bad chest and coughing up gunk every morning since stopping. I haven’t had this problem before. I just hope I can continue to stay off of the diet coke. Reading your stories has really helped me.

  • Duane February 20, 2015, 1:36 am

    I drank 15 cans of soda a day. Mostly diet coke but it didn’t matter. I got to where I had one open all the time. I caught myself with my jaw clenched a lot. I felt bloated all the time and gained over a hundred pounds. I could not move my head from side to side by late afternoon everyday. I’ve been told I have virtually no metabolism left. I always felt better if I did not eat. I could go a couple days without food and not be hungry. I’ve quit for two weeks now, the headaches have gone away. I don’t know what lasting effects I will have, but hopefully my metabolism will come back.

  • Susan Diroff February 20, 2015, 2:46 pm

    I have had numerous strokes (9) some big, some small. 4 have landed me in Rehab. I have also, in the last 2 years have had 7 kidney stones and 2 surgeries for those. In both illnesses my Dr.’s have put a lot of blame on both my high blood pressure and kidney problems. They have told me for 5 years now to give up the Diet Pop. I felt like it was my one big vice and I should be able to do it. This year I gave it up for lent. I am in day 3 and I am miserable!!!! My head hurts, I can’t keep anything down, I sleep, I cry, I scream at everyone with in my sight. Oh I hope this ends soon. Truthfully I don’t think I can do this.

  • Brenda February 21, 2015, 9:44 pm

    I too gave up diet coke cold turkey 7 weeks ago. I had a cold at the time so attributed the headaches & drowsiness to that… But it took me over 4 weeks to get over that cold & now I’m thinking it was really the aspartame withdrawal symptoms I was dealing with. One thing no one has mentioned & I’m wondering if it could be a symptom is that I’ve been getting a sweet taste in my mouth. Had my glucose checked & doctor said level is normal so ruled out diabetes. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced that?

    • KJ September 18, 2015, 8:21 pm

      I get a sweet taste a couple hours after drinking 3-4 glasses of Coke Zero and now today Diet Coke. I usually only drink sodas when eating out–only 1-2 times per month. I usually order a Coke and get lots of refills when free. If I have more than 3 glasses, I get a lingering sweet taste in my mouth several hours later that lasts for a couple of hours. Before today, I only noticed it with Coke Zero, but maybe that was because I like the taste better and end up drinking more.

    • Christine March 5, 2016, 6:30 am

      Thanks god. I’m going through this right now and thought I was going crazy. I attributed everything to caffeine withdrawal and just now looked into the artificial sweetener part. I am almost four weeks diet soda free and I am having the worst cold on earth and my lethargy is on and off. I thought I was going crazy blaming it on the soda but now I see that it probably is the soda. And that’s scary.

  • lisa February 24, 2015, 2:43 am

    I am going on day three of aspartame withdrawal. I have had it in coffee every day and coke zero… 4 or 5 a day for years. It’s all I really drank.
    I have a huge headache and nausea and my body aches. Quitting alcohol ten years ago seemed easier than this. I hope this feeling goes away soon. I am determined to get this poison out of my body. This crap is like a drug. It makes you feel so crappy giving it up that you just want to cave. This stuff should be banned.

    • Jeff June 24, 2016, 11:28 am

      I agree, it’s like I quit smoking all over again. Bad stuff this aspartame.

  • Sandy March 2, 2015, 1:40 pm

    I’ve had this weird rash on my forearms and chest and experiencing extreme brain fog. I quit real sugar and heavy carbs 2 years ago and lost 104 lbs. However, when I quit real sugar I replaced it with fake sugar packets in my coffee and tea everyday. I finally figured out that the aspartame was linked to the rash. Although I still have it (only been off aspartame 10 days), it does seem to be backing off.

  • Kris March 2, 2015, 9:37 pm

    I had not been consuming daily amounts of caffeine prior to quitting the sugar substitute so I believe most of the symptoms are not due to caffeine withdrawal. I gave up sugar substitute 8 days ago and switched to only drinking water. I used to drink diet soda occasionally, but I was an avid Crystal Light drinker. (8+ glasses per day). The first couple of days were not that bad. I drank a lot of water, felt tired-yet-restless, and had a mild headache.

    I had joint pain from day 3 through day 6 that made it difficult to sit or sleep. I had a severe headache from day 5 through day 7 that Tylenol would lesson, but not completely cure. Today is day 8 and the headache is back to mild but I am still lethargic. I noticed I have fewer cravings for sweets or snacks. I was quite hungry at meal times during the first few days, but that tapered off through the week. I feel my appetite is back to normal.

  • Matt March 9, 2015, 12:57 am

    I’ve been drinking diet soda and iced tea that also contained aspartame for about 5-6 years now, sometimes a whole 12 pack and a gallon of tea in 1 day and I recently decided to quit cold turkey because I heard that diet drinks hinder your weight loss efforts. It’s been about 4-5 days now and I was hit with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, loss of apatite, and fatigue. I’ve also been getting these feelings like I have some life-threatening illness and I’ve been connecting dots that aren’t there and really freaking myself out.

    It has been a miserable and debilitating few days. At first I didn’t know what was going on, I thought I was losing my mind. Then I realized that it might be linked to the fact that I stopped drinking diet soda/tea, so I looked it up and here I am. I really hope that I can kick these feelings and snap back to normal soon because this is just horrible.

    • Jac December 6, 2015, 8:56 pm

      I too have been trying to deal with anxiety about having a horrible illness. It’s been about 10 days since I quit and I’ve gone through anxiety and low mood and scariest of all, palpitations and a racing heart. Now this anxiety although lessened is still there and gnawing away at me that I’m going to have a heart attack. This awful experience is enough to swear me off aspartame forever. I’d love to hear if you got over your health anxiety?

  • NAZ RILEY March 9, 2015, 1:08 am

    I myself have just cut aspartame, ascuflame k, ascorbic acid and several others completely from my children’s diet. I have noticed much improvement in their behavior, but they have had large outbursts of anger and lethargy. My eldest daughter has got ADHD so I see this as a positive thing. However having taken the time to study what I have been giving my children over 10 years I can most definitely say I have noticed several of the side effects in my children. Especially in my two eldest daughters.

    The oldest has had severe chest pains, to which it got so bad we had to call a GP out late night. Both of my girls have also had headaches, dizziness, muscular, and joint pain. On a final note aspartame is the feces(poo) from bacteria while ascorbic acid is derived from fire ant venom and is is classified as a neurotoxin. You can find me on G+ if you have any questions. Thanks

    • Tori April 24, 2015, 8:02 pm

      Naz: I think you mean aspartic acid, not ascorbic acid. Aspartic acid is one of the breakdown products of aspartame in the body. Ascorbic acid is vitamin C, and it is an essential vitamin.

  • Sarah March 9, 2015, 6:43 pm

    I’ve been off the diet coke for 24 days now and have been drinking water the whole time, this is the worst thing I’ve had to go through. I to have had anxiety attacks and depression and I just get moments when I feel like I wanna burst into tears. However I do get a full nights sleep now but I feel I sleep for longer hours and if I don’t get enough sleep it makes me anxious for the whole day.

    I too went to the doctors and had test they all came back normal and I felt I was losing my mind. I’m now into week for and within the last weeks I have had a couple of days that I feel OK. I have found going for works and looking after myself by having a massage and time alone has really helped. I hope this helps you guys

    • Jessie January 20, 2016, 6:30 pm

      How long did it take before you felt completely better? I just passed week three and I still have days when I feel horrible.

  • Patty March 13, 2015, 5:28 pm

    I have been cold turkey off the “diet Pepsi” for 4 1/2 days now, (60+oz of pop a day habit). I went through the headache, which Advil took that away, I still ache all over and the ringing in the ears has not stopped or lessened. My biggest problem is the salty dry taste in my mouth! I can’t seem to get enough water to drink. Which is good as I have got to be flushing my system of the toxins, it is just strange the salty taste I have. I can remember getting this taste before and a “pop” always seemed to take it away! I hope this all will be worth it!

  • Cheri March 20, 2015, 6:10 pm

    I have been drinking Diet Pepsi for 35 yrs. Had a heart scare recently and made a lifestyle change: no diet pepsi, all natural sugars, no breads or pastas or potatoes. Drinking lots of water and have lost 10 pounds in the 3 weeks. Went through the headaches and the blahs, waking up in the wee hours and not being able to get back to sleep and unexplained joint problems that I had never had before. Woke up this morning and felt AMAZING!!! I hope this is the new norm and maybe I can lose some of the weight and belly fat that I have packed on now that I am eating healthier and exercising. I want to be around for my 11 yr old for a long time!

  • Sarah March 29, 2015, 6:31 pm

    Hey guys, looking at your stories have help me to get through this tough withdrawal. I’m 6 weeks off the fizzy diet soda and it has not been easy. My breakdowns in mood have now become a lot less and I’m starting to laugh again. My anxiety is still here but not as serve , also I’m not having half as much panic attacks, my muscles still ache from time to time but I have found that do meditation every evening and finding time to pause throughout the day has really helped. I also sleep a lot better. So if I can’t give you anything I can tell you it does get better.

  • Kathy March 31, 2015, 2:52 am

    I’m 52 and have had different soda addictions at different times in my life. I was addicted to Diet Dr Pepper. I preferred the taste over regular, which I drank when I couldn’t get diet. I also drank Crystal light with caffeine every day. Looking back, I realize I was more afraid of a 12 oz can of high fructose corn syrup so I drank diet soda. I now drink water, a lot.

    I like drinking water and find any kind of soda with sugar or Kool-Aid type drink to be too sweet. I am a couple days short of 4 weeks caffeine and aspartame free. I was sick with stomach flu just before I quit, but my biggest issues had been brain fog and sleepiness/lethargy. I have been experiencing joint pain, insomnia and occasionally cravings and night hunger, also. Most of the symptoms have subsided, but the last few days, I have been having hot flashes.

    I don’t know if they are related, but it stands to reason that they could be. Although I don’t think I lost any weight, or gained it, I do feel less bloated and more “aware” of myself. Once I feel more stable, I am going to request my Dr re-evaluate my medicine needs. Some of the things I am medicated for could be symptoms of aspartame poisoning.

  • Lois April 1, 2015, 10:00 pm

    Hi all, I am 65 years old and on day 4 of my withdrawal journey. I have been a caffeine free diet coke drinker for more years than I can remember and the biggest problem I have faced is being diagnosed with chronic Interstitial Cystitis four years ago. IC is brutal and has resulted in my bladder constantly forming tumors that have to be surgically removed every 3 months and my bladder and pelvic flour having to be injected with hundred of Botox shots just to help with the pain and the constant trips to the washroom (60+ times a day).

    It destroyed my quality of life. No one ever mentioned that it could have something to do with my body (especially my bladder) hating the aspartame. I have already noticed an improvement in the pain level and frequency. I am having the headaches, chills, nausea, insomnia, and loss of appetite, but I feel hopeful for the first time in years that there is something I can do to help my body. Anyone out there with bladder issues should take a good look at aspartame consumption, as well as other additives. You could really help yourself by getting off these unnatural substances. Good luck and I will let you know how it goes.

  • kate April 12, 2015, 5:04 pm

    Am on Day 2 free of Diet Coke, am glad to read these comments: they help :). Have a shocking headache and to be honest this is feeling much like I did when I quit alcohol some years ago.

  • Anita April 16, 2015, 7:43 pm

    After consuming Diet Sodas (a maximum of (4) 12oz cans/day, minimum of 2) for the last 34 years, I finally quit cold turkey. I stopped being able to lose weight and felt bloated all of the time. After seeing all of the research that has come out in the last year about artificial sweeteners causing Insulin resistance and the fact Diabetes runs rampant on my mom’s side of the family I decided it was time to quit.

    In soda’s place I’ve been drinking iced tea and a lot more water. I do use Stevia in my iced tea as many health experts do consider that a natural sweetener, but just today, drank iced tea with lemon only. Only being a week off of it, I have had NO cravings for diet soda, and find myself going immediately for the tea or the water dispenser without a 2nd thought. I have experienced some headaches on and off, but, I’m thinking because the tea (green tea) has less caffeine than soda, that my body is going through a little bit of caffeine withdrawal.

    Once I have my iced tea with lunch the headache subsides, so that is where I got that idea from. I do find I feel less bloated, but because it has only been a week, time will tell if my weight starts dropping – yes, I do exercise regularly and eat very healthy. I will allow myself a Diet Soda once in awhile, but I want to wait until I’ve been off of it for a month to really give my body the chance to get used to not having it.

    • MBH August 21, 2015, 1:50 pm

      Please be careful about allowing yourself “a Diet Soda once in awhile” as this DOES NOT work!! I have also tried this and the chemicals in the diet sodas will have you hooked again in a day or two! These chemicals alter the brain and it is impossible for someone who has been addicted and detoxed off the stuff to “just have one” as they say in AA :)

  • carmen April 17, 2015, 4:16 am

    Hi, I’ve been reading everyone’s comments. I thought I was going crazy and imagining the way I feel. I was drinking 4-5 diet pepsi a day for the past 5 years. I quit cold turkey 4 days ago. I’ve had constant headaches, and eye pain. My eyes hurt and literally feel like they are swollen, blurry vision, nervousness and I feel like my heart is racing at times. I am so glad I decided to stop drinking that poison. I’m also glad I found this page and know that I’m not alone.

  • Jack April 26, 2015, 7:44 pm

    Hey all, I am a 33 year old male, and I finally cut out the aspartame. I have cut it out before but it was not until recently that I have felt the need too. The first time I quit aspartame I was 22 was drinking it since I was 13 approx 3-5 cans a day. It was amazing I went from a 46 belt loop down to a 38. When I went back my belt loop gained and dropped, now I’m sitting at a 54 inch belt loop.

    Recently I was diagnosed with hip bursitis and my Achilles tendons has multiple rips and tears in it. I talked to my doctor and asked her straight up what was with aspartame poisoning, she than listed off everything that I had read, and that I had concerns about, primarily the loss of my cartilage in my hips.
    I am now on day 5 and my head feels like it is going to explode and even blinking hurts it. In the end though, I would rather have sugar in my life than something like aspartame. Good luck everyone!

  • denise April 30, 2015, 11:48 am

    I am on day 4. Probably been drinking diet ginger ale for years up to a 2 liter bottle per day. I am on a liver detox diet to flush out the toxins. I lost 6 lbs in three days. I am sure this lead to the increased belly fat. According to the diet the body processes it as real sugar, storing fat instead of metabolizing it. I have had the fatigue, headaches, burning and blurry vision, and feeling anxious. Hope this all leads to easier weight loss and a feeling of well being.

  • Jill May 1, 2015, 3:36 pm

    I wanted to put a positive note out here. I had been drinking diet Sprite for about 10 years. I seriously drank about 3 sometimes 4 cans a day. I have not had any caffeine in 20 years. I quit all products with aspartame this past Monday (5 days ago). I do NOT have any withdrawal symptoms. I have always had general anxiety issues and such so nothing new from quitting.

    The only difference I can note right now is that I have been sleeping soundly. Last night I slept 7 hours straight thru the night. No headaches, no dizziness. All positive things to report. So I hope I can rev up my metabolism and realize how much control I actually have over my personal health. Good luck to all and don’t give up because of fear of quitting.

  • Dallas Boggs May 6, 2015, 6:15 pm

    Reading your comments is very helpful for me. I quit a Diet Coke habit that I have had since it was introduced into the market, before that I drank Tab, probably the first diet drink out. I drank 6-10 Diet Cokes a day for all these many years. I quit cold turkey 4 days ago…and will ride it out! I have NO plans of going back even though at this point I feel terrible.

  • Tami May 12, 2015, 12:33 am

    I was using 2 packs sweetener in tea every morning. I finally quit cold turkey. I went thru withdraw of crying, crazy thoughts! That is so not my personality. I thought my husband was going to leave me. Crazy! Lost 30 pounds, food cravings stopped. Also when I was using artificial sweetener, I decided to try SPLENDA – it sent me to emergency room with terrible stabbing stomach pains. So glad I am off all sweeteners including sugar!

  • Melissa May 20, 2015, 11:39 am

    Reading your stories helps me feel I’m normal. I drink 6-8 cans of diet coke a day. Its only been 24 hrs and I’m dizzy, have severe headaches and am throwing up! I want to give up already :(

    • Helen June 16, 2015, 2:03 pm

      Keep going Melissa, you don’t want to feel this way for nothing! You’ll get past it.

  • Helen June 16, 2015, 1:55 pm

    Hey all. I’ve tried quitting diet drinks and I’ll just swap one for the other and forget the whole reason for what I’m doing. I am massively addicted to diet drinks and could drink these all day and go without food or water! This is a massive problem and in the past the side effects coming off have been horrendous, this should have been enough to motivate me to keep going and staying off it, scary!

    However, main point for my post is that I’ve put weight on and cannot shift it, I eat healthy and am active, I don’t have any thyroid problems and am otherwise healthy according to the doctors. I’ve done a fair bit of research and can see aspartame is probably what is hindering my weight loss. Have any of you had a problem with weight gain? And have any of you seen any weight loss after coming off aspartame? Thanks.

  • Michelle June 17, 2015, 10:50 am

    Not a softdrink drinker but major coffee drinker with 2-3 equal tablets per coffee and like 6 per day. Day 3 of giving up. Was at work and complaining of extreme head fog, eye heavyiness, eye twitching, extreme fatigue when it hit me… I just gave up equal and googled withdrawl symptoms and here I am. Been meaning to give it up for years and always on my to do list. Never going back would rather drink sugar any day. I am struggling in general at staying focused at work and am hoping giving it up helps me with that long term. I have to say also that these symptoms seem to come and go.

  • Caroline June 21, 2015, 11:12 am

    Seriously been addicted to diet coke for years and was on at least 8 cans a day. Cut them down to 2 this week and have had none yesterday or today and am feeling awful. I’ve had a headache for 7 days, blurred vision, dizziness, extreme tiredness. Bit scary that it can cause all of these symptoms! Trying to ride it out but the temptation to just go and buy some to get rid of this headache is huge right now.

    • Belinda June 23, 2015, 1:49 pm

      Stay strong, Caroline. I am going through the same right now. Diet Coke was my weak point too. We can do it.

  • Belinda June 23, 2015, 1:47 pm

    I recently decided to stop all diet soft drinks. That was about 10 days ago. Since that time, I have had mild headaches, although I have had 2 headaches where I thought the top of my head was going to fly off. So painful, I had to take major pain medication. I have not had migraines for years, but 2 in 1 week is significant. I used to have at least 4 diet sodas a day, more on weekends. It is not caffeine related as I drink black coffee, maybe 2 a day. Never knew aspartame could be so harmful. But I will stick with it and hope the headaches stop on their own.

  • Cherie June 24, 2015, 3:11 pm

    I had severe aches and pains in my neck and shoulders daily. X-ray and sonogram were negative. A massage therapist asked me if I consumed aspartame since this could cause these symptoms. I drank drinks with aspartame all day long. I stopped cold turkey with no side effects and all my aches and pains went away completely!

    • Jenny July 15, 2015, 5:03 am

      Thank you! I have been plagued with disabling muscle/skeletal problems for a couple years now (worse in neck/shoulder area). I’ve been to physio, chiro, massage; and nothing has helped. I have known for a while now that my symptoms are likely related to diet cola consumption but have put off quitting. I am 5 days off now, and feeling hopeful after reading posts. Yes I’m tired, anxious, experiencing craving etc but am looking so forward to getting through this. A lady at health food store told me aspartame is a neurotoxin and would take about 30 days to get rid of.

  • Joanna June 25, 2015, 2:44 pm

    Diet coke drinker for years and years. Initially started with Tab. Only drink fountain diet cokes – some days just one and others up to four or five. I’m on day 10 of complete withdrawal from drinking diet coke. I feel anxious, I have headaches and my emotions are running high. I was told to take Excedrin for the headaches as it has a tiny bit of caffeine in it which will help with the symptoms. Good luck to all.

  • Izzydoesit July 5, 2015, 11:45 pm

    I have been a chain gum chewer for as long as I can remember, sometimes chewing up to 60 pieces in a day. I also drank Diet Coke. I’m a recovering addict/alcoholic/bulimic and this is the one vestige of my addiction/eating disorder that I have never been able to kick permanently. I quit cold turkey recently because I’m tired of all the side effects and have lost a number of crowns, fillings, and teeth because I chew all day long.

    In addition to the terrible bloating, brain fog, and joint pains, I’ve had intermittent, weird pains in my neck and brain recently and plan to ask my doctor for brain MRI when I have my yearly physical this month. So far my withdrawal symptoms have included headache, insomnia, GI sluggishness, intense sweet cravings, and neuropathy in my wrists that I trust will go away in time.

    I’ve researched aspartame toxicity and have read about the horrific things it can do to your body. A study done in Italy linked aspartame to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer I was treated for successfully ten years ago. Yet I persisted in my aspartame habit because, well, I’m an addict. However, I feel like I’m finally ready to give up this toxic crutch because the downside vastly outweighs whatever benefit I used to get from it.

    I cut sugar out of my diet and I’m hoping I can overcome the urge to cheat. I’ve also limited my intake of gluten, grains, dairy, and meat. I feel if I can kick the sugar/sugar-free habit I can do anything. It’s not easy! I wish everyone good luck on their journey.

  • Dee July 7, 2015, 12:46 am

    I’m on day five of no diet coke. I have had about 2 cans per day for 12 years. Last night I woke up at 2am, head and neck absolutely killing me as well as shoulder and hip pain. I was literally thrashing around in my bed trying to get comfortable. Today I had a TON of anxiety, went into extreme fear and terror.

    I finally calmed down this evening and things are fine. Neck and shoulders, hips all fine. I have been craving sweets even though I went off of sugar in 2003. I just found both Zevia soda (made with a Stevia extract) and La Croix. The La Croix tastes VERY dry and the Zevia tastes too sweet, so I ended up mixing half zevia and half pellegrino. Perfect if you want nice cool bubbles without the sickening sweet. Zero aspertame. 3G or less carbs.

  • Cathy July 8, 2015, 4:04 pm

    I have been reading the posts and I would like to know how some of the people from the older post are doing. I have drank Fresca and Vodka for years and years. I am only on day 3. No headaches yet. I have had a hard time sleeping the last few night. Lots of sweats. From everything I have read, it sounds like it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

  • Jeff July 13, 2015, 2:41 am

    I recently quit all aspartame cold turkey due to over a year of significant fatigue that led to misdiagnosis over and over. I tried sleep apnea remedies, adhd treatments, depression, etc. Nothing stopped the fatigue and my joint pain and brain fog worsened over the last few months and I had tried cortisol therapy (biggest mistake ever).

    I was struggling at work to the point where I considered changing jobs (I manage a group of professionals for a financial institution so not being clear is a bad thing). I quit that following shortness of breath, dry mouth and heart palpitations. I stopped that and aspartame at the same time and I crashed hard on day 4 of cortisol withdrawal and day 2 of aspartame, but I knew I had to get through.

    The following day came the severe panic attack that sent me reeling to the doctor. Just to be clear. I abused diet soft drinks. Pepsi max and crystal light (yes. The healthy sounding diet water additive is laden with aspartame) were my guilty pleasure. I thought if that was my vice, better than alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc.

    Not true…tomorrow will be a week for me. I am running a detox through my system, drinking safer things with no aspartame, more water and have added a few supplements my doc recommended from a multi to magnesium. I have reduced my fatigue significantly, am sleeping better, and my brain is starting to have moments of clarity again. I hope this helps others to serve as a reminder. All things in moderation. Even drinks that serve us no purpose.

    • Nathan August 26, 2015, 3:53 am

      Hey Jeff. I’ve been drinking diet drinks like water for years now. I’m 32 & I started when I was about 24. I’ve been running a detox through my system as well & have cut down to a diet drink maybe once every other day. I have felt horrible! I felt like I had the flu, felt very fatigued, & even took a day off work to recoop!

      It was bad but worth it. I’ve had one diet drink today, but honestly they don’t even taste good anymore. My appetite has decreased & I wondered why. Nothing has tasted the same in days. But I realize why now. It is due to the withdrawal from the aspartame. It is by far the worst feeling going without it, but it is worth it! Keep it up man. I will too.

  • Danielle July 21, 2015, 9:43 pm

    I cannot tell you how much these posts have helped me. I gave up Diet Coke four days ago and it already feels like a lifetime. What gave me comfort is that I am experiencing the same withdrawal symptoms as everyone else (one more day and I would have been at the doctors). I have been drinking 2-4 cans of Diet Coke and other aspartame products (yogurt, etc.) for 25+ years.

    I had to stop cold turkey when I got an upset stomach and had no choice but to drink water as experts advise to prevent dehydration. I experienced a mild headache and the depression and anxiety I already dealt with has magnified. What really bothers me and I can’t believe this could happen – is the intense joint and muscle aches (especially in the lower back and right hip/pelvic area) – Advil and a heating pad have been my best friend.

    I have been sleeping way better and instead of being restless, I am now out like a light the minute my head hits the pillow and have been sleeping for nine to 10 hours! I do feel like I am going a bit crazy thinking that other things are wrong with me instead of a simple withdrawal. I swear the withdrawal symptoms are worse than when I drink Diet Coke, so tempted to go back to make this detox stop.

  • Lori August 1, 2015, 5:40 pm

    Well…I ended up on this site because I had no idea why I have been feeling ill for the past 2 weeks. I finally realized that Diet Pepsi switched their “formula” from Aspartame to Sucralose and googled Aspartame withdrawal symptoms! I called my doctor this morning to make an appointment before realizing that my body is probably in withdrawal! I have been drinking canned Diet Pepsi 6/day probably for about 20 years!

    Even though my doctor has told me numerous times to quit! For the past 2 weeks I have had such major joint pain that I can hardly walk! Neck, shoulder pain and excruciating headaches! So..in a panic once I found this site, I went to the store to see if I could find the “old” diet Pepsi with aspartame in it and see if I drank a few if my joint pain would go away! I have the appointment with my Doc this upcoming week and if my joint paint subsides I know it’s the Aspartame and I’ll ask the doc what I can do to withdraw from it because this is just CRAZY!!!!

  • Dave August 5, 2015, 5:42 am

    Gave up drinking Diet Coke last week, have been drinking at least 6 cans a day for the past 7 years and didn’t think anything of it. In that 7 years I put on around 10kgs in weight, became lazy and lethargic, and started getting pretty bad joint pain in my fingers, elbows, knee and shoulder. 4 days straight without any aspartame related ingredients in my diet.

    Migraine, blurred vision, poor concentration, hungry for carbs, fingers are aching more than ever. Have been drinking fizzy water with a squeeze of lime as a sub. Relieved to see many people reporting similar side effects. Think/hope this is the worst of it and looking forward to recovering from this crappy habit!!

  • Sharon/Mary August 5, 2015, 3:03 pm

    My friend and I enjoy our spiced rum and diet pepsi in the evenings… mainly 2 drinks a day… sometimes 3. I am at the point of not being able to walk and my friend is also experiencing the same joint pains. We both have decided to quit the diet Pepsi, switching to ginger-ale and other cola with sugar. We are on day 4 of withdrawal and the joint pain is unreal. Hopefully within a few weeks this will disappear and we will feel much better.

  • spt August 6, 2015, 7:23 pm

    Wow. So glad I found this page. I felt like it was only me. I quit diet coke for what seems like the 40th time. I’m a week in today. I’ve known it’s bad without doing much research (though I did this morning!!!!). I can just feel it. I want to kick myself for the day I ever started. We did not drink soft drinks growing up (very very rarely). I’m pretty sure it will stick this time.

    I’m so disgusted and worried about all the harm it can do. I usually failed the times I’ve quit because the caffeine withdrawal was so horrible and I lean on diet coke when my job is very stressful. Now I’m quitting in a period when I have some time off. I haven’t had the headaches and irritability I normally get and I’m 7 days in so I couldn’t figure out why I was dealing with extreme fatigue. Last night it was like I was having the flu which is why I looked this up today.

    And I am having aches and joint pain. So weird. I’ve had skin sensitivity and rashes while drinking diet coke heavily that I know was related (partly, now guessing maybe fully) to my consumption. Am having a little bit of skin stuff as I’m coming off of it. I can’t wait to feel good again. I’ll be curious to see if a little bit of weight comes off too. It has in the past when I’ve quit before. And then it kinda helps weigh loss initially when I start drinking it again.

    It’s not worth the health risks anymore to me. I started drinking diet coke primarily to help with weight. Funny, all these years, in spite of some great eating and excellent workout habits, 10 pounds wouldn’t budge and I wonder if that was the diet coke? Hmm. Anyway, thank you. I will try to post an update of how long it takes for all the symptoms to go away. Thanks!

  • Filip August 13, 2015, 6:20 pm

    Still awful headaches after four days. Find it hard to sleep. Exhausted and yet nervous. Done some thorough research about aspartame, that helps, opens your eyes. Tried to quit before, but it’s so addictive. Nothing I liked better than an ice cold can of diet coke. Feel ashamed it took me so long to quit. But this time I’ll be damned if I ever open one more can. It’s good to hear from other people, it does give me courage to hold on.

  • Christi August 17, 2015, 2:15 am

    I am on day 3 of no coke zero, no diet coke, no diet Mountain Dew. I feel like I’ve been hit by a mac truck. I’m sore, dizzy, hungry, spacey, cranky, and tired. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I’ve been drinking diet coke since I was 10 years old… And I just turned 35. That equals way too many years consuming this stuff. No more, I’ve read every single comment, and I’m telling myself it will get better. It HAS to get better than this!! Good luck to everyone trying to get off this poison.

    • Chris Baker November 21, 2015, 9:01 pm

      Hang in there, I was drinking sodas for 45 years. I still do but as soon as I am over the aspartame withdrawal I’m going to switch to distilled water. So out of one withdrawal and into the next. I suspect they will be much easier to do separately.

  • Upstate NY August 20, 2015, 5:03 pm

    I have been diet coke free now for four days and I feel terrible. I would drink so much diet coke in a day for so many years until family members would keep telling me the harm that it would do to my body. I am just hoping it starts to get better soon. I don’t think it is the caffeine as I am drinking unsweetened tea. This is tough. I am so tired, tense, feel like I could just sleep for days. Best of luck to you all.

  • MBH August 21, 2015, 2:06 pm

    On day #3 of abstinence from Diet Coke. I was up to a SuperDuper Big Gulp (52 oz) fountain soda every morning from my local “dealer”, the Gas & Go at the corner of my street. I feel very lethargic and sort of flu like. Hard to get things done but I have had to run my 89 year old mother to a few doctors appointments. This totally drains me and I end up on the couch unable to move. I know this will end and am committed to never again letting this poison past my lips…Good luck everyone. Stay strong!

  • Christine August 23, 2015, 1:40 pm

    I stopped using aspartame because diet pepsi removed it. Since then I have had heart racing, headaches, and such severe panic attacks I have been in the ER twice. I am now regretting ever consuming the stuff. The MD said the panic attacks might never go away. Lucky me…live and learn.

    • Chris Baker November 21, 2015, 8:59 pm

      He’s probably wrong. I suspect they will go away in time. You have to be strong. Hang in there, you can do it.

  • Deborah August 28, 2015, 5:15 pm

    I am now on my fourth week of withdrawal. My first week was pretty hellish – terrible headache behind the eye, neck pain, terrible fatigue, aching joints, nausea and dizziness. I was only a three to four cans a day girl which crept up on me over the years. After visiting doctors, consultants and physios with constant headaches, neck pain and back aches, I now understand the problem.

    What a fool I have been. Four weeks down the line and I have amazing days full of energy. I do crave sugary foods however, but I now check every single thing that comes into the house for aspartame/sweeteners. My shoulder pain during the night which was agonising has disappeared. I can sleep at night after years of anxiousness, stress attacks and general depression. The pain in my left side has also gone.

    However, yesterday I used mouthwash and today I have the humdinger of all headaches again!!! I checked the bottle and it contains sweeteners. I think I have sensitized my system now – has anyone else had this? I will never, ever drink that poison again. Stay strong anyone who is withdrawing – it is worth it in the end.

  • susan August 31, 2015, 4:47 am

    I am 50 year old female, overweight and my last blood test showed I was heading towards having diabetes 2. It was a bit of a shock as I was in denial. I decided the first steps were to cut out the diet drinks and chocolate. I stopped cold turkey and I am into my second week of not drinking diet drinks. Day 1-4 I fled like hell, really lethargic and flu like after that I have started to feel better. I have however had diarrhea on and off since I stopped drinking diet drinks, I am not sure whether this is part of the withdrawal process and I am contemplating seeking medical advice. Apart from that I am feeling better and I have vowed not to drink/eat anything with aspartame again.

  • Darla September 1, 2015, 10:58 am

    I quit drinking diet soda cold turkey, 6+ sodas a day for 15+ years. Went through depression, anxiety, and a list of other negative mood swings. I was seeing a therapist and taking anti-anxiety drugs I was uneasy, scared, insecure and felt guilty. This has lasted for 3 months. My husband said it all started when I quit drinking soda, needless to say I am drinking 3 sodas a day not taking any anti-anxiety drugs and not seeing a therapist and I feel great. Back to my happy healthy self. I did read that saccharin can effect dopamine levels and I might have low dopamine and soda keeps my dopamine level in balance. Hope others do have to go through what I did.

  • Shannon September 3, 2015, 9:16 pm

    I quit almost 2 months ago drinking diet Dr. Pepper. Since then I have felt miserable! Cheat pain, headaches, lethargic, foggy, joint pains, moody, anxious. Will this ever stop? I felt so terrible the other day, I got a diet dr P and it immediately made me feel better and I felt great for a day. But now I’m back to misery! Is it worth it?

    • ray November 6, 2015, 10:15 am

      I’m 46 male, I stopped Oct 25 for good. I’m no expert. But I see a pattern those that are ++5 sodas @ 10 years have different experiences. Myself after one week. My stools are returning to normal. They are beg to get defined again, there not long and brown yet but getting there. My urine is perfect after one week. It was yellow now its clear again. I’ve had all the normal stuff. But like most people, who are 10 year + drinkers.

      Yes I do feel worse now. I think time passes I’ll get better. My doctor told me it’s getting use to a whole new diet. More fiber, veggies, fruits. I think it’s important to not underestimate the dependency that a 10 year drinker had on this stuff. And that it’s gonna take time for the body to re organize. If you were drinking soda for 10 years. It was half of your diet. It’s became a food source to your body. Your body used its sugars for food. With fruits and veggies now your body has real food to run on.

  • juliette September 4, 2015, 12:05 pm

    Interesting to see all comments, I started drinking diet coke 3 years ago due to a diet, fizzy drinks had never darkened our door before (Im 55) . Friends and relatives kept telling me the perils but I love it! I was soon drinking 3 cans per day, with a very occasional 4th! Five days ago I made a decision to try and stop, I’m now down to 1 a day but (having given up coffee for 10 years) and having an expresso coffee – feel fine at the mo, though sleep a little disturbed!

    Interesting that my doctor (in UK) said generally speaking only fat people drink diet soda (I’m 5’5 11s 7lbs and need to lose a stone) and they are doing themselves real harm and not helping their weight in anyway in fact quite the reverse- however surely our governments should be protecting us too? Seems a huge amount of evidence here of the harm of these substitutes! Good luck everyone!

  • Jim M. September 18, 2015, 2:45 am

    I drank 2-3 liters a day for over 7 years. I am still having severe pain from nerve damage from a foot injury 3 years which left me struggling to walk more than just a short distance. So I figured maybe all the diet soft drinks are preventing the nerves from healing. I drank Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper and a grocery store generic of Diet Dr. Pepper.

    I was an off and on coffee drinker and knew what caffeine withdrawal was like. In the past I went to the ER with headaches so bad I thought I was having a cerebral hemorrhage! I quite coffee and then 3 days later tapered off in 3 days – day one – no diet coke before 11 Am, day 2 none before 5 Pm, day 3 none before 10:30 Pm, day 4 – only water from here on out.

    I read up on reducing caffeine withdrawal symptoms and also began taking extra B12 and magnesium. I also got the homeopathic remedies Nux Vomica (strange name), Phosphos, and Chamomilla. I tried to drink as much water as I did soda, but its tough. The first few days were rough – fatigue, some headaches, but after day 3 felt I purged most of the caffeine. When I quit coffee before, that’s usually how long the symptoms lasted.

    Then other things started happening = Blood pressure through the roof – 167/123! Extreme fatigue. Numbness in my right hand from an injury a year ago. Numbness and tingling in my left hand and arm – with racing pulse. I will try to go to the doctor, but I don’t think he knows about diet soft drink withdrawal. I just hope I don’t get put on a lot of drugs to reduce symptoms that he mistakenly correlates to problems I don’t have.

    It’s been over a week and I am still dealing with hand tingling and super high blood pressure and excessive fatigue. I don’t know if its the lack of aspartame, caffeine, or both.

  • Kathy September 20, 2015, 1:08 am

    I was getting up at night sometimes 6 or more times. I quit the diet sodas I was drinking; the most was 2 cans a day. Since quitting, my bladder has quieted down and I usually only get up once at night time. I have experimented using non-diet Coke, and noticed less bladder activity than with the diet, but caffeine is a diuretic and now I stay away from all of it. I’m so glad I have finally conquered the soda habit!

  • Li September 23, 2015, 2:48 am

    I had 2 cans of diet Coke for about 15 years. Had no negative effects. I stopped cold turkey 1 month ago. Didn’t feel much different at first, but I had a bad cold shortly after, and first I thought the effects of the cold were not going away: extreme fatigue, nasal congestion, headaches behind the eyes, anxiety, increased feelings of anger, depression, loss of appetite (nothing seems to taste good, can’t taste anything except spicy foods), increased thirst.

    The husband, who kept telling me I needed to quit, now is irritated by the fact that I don’t feel well. I feel sorry I started drinking this stuff. Don’t want to go back because of my kids: I keep telling them it’s best not to eat/drink artificial chemicals. On the other hand, I feel like I don’t feel any support from my husband – just the opposite. It’s been a month, and I’m not feeling better – only worse. Not sure it’s worth it.

    • Chris Baker November 21, 2015, 8:52 pm

      Pass this on to your husband: Ephesians 5:25-29 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,

  • kelly October 9, 2015, 2:38 pm

    I’m 2 months in and I feel worse. I am scared that my symptoms are not from aspartame at all. Please…if there is anyone out there that had to wait months to feel better please reply.

    • Naomi November 1, 2015, 10:45 pm

      Hi Kelly, I was off all drinks for 3 months once – I know how it is – for me I was feeling horrible but I got over it by not thinking about it and drinking excess amounts of water- but if you think that is might not be from aspartame, perhaps visit a doctor about it just in case. Good luck for the future!!!

    • Chris Baker November 21, 2015, 8:47 pm

      Hang in there, it takes longer for some people. Remember this…EVERYONE is different. Get a check up to make sure it’s withdrawal and not something worse, but hang in there.

    • Shannon November 23, 2015, 3:22 am

      I am a diet Pepsi drinker…not 1 or 2 more like 20-24 cans a day for about 15 yrs. In October they removed aspartame but I knew it was coming so I alternated 12 packs since November, though no more aspartame to be found! I’m not giving up the soda (no caffeine w/d) but this aspartame w/d is making me feel awful STILL! These last 2 weeks have actually been the worst..migraines, body aches, no attention span, anxiety, cravings of something I would assume “sugar” but nothing takes it away. I need to feel better so I even thought about a diet coke!!! I totally feel your pain so if you figure out how to make us better please let me know…something’s got to give…feel better…Thanks.

  • Becky Hausermann October 19, 2015, 6:21 pm

    I quit sugar and diet coke Oct 11th at the same time. LOL! I figured if I was going to have symptoms from one why not both then?! I experienced sluggishness, tiredness, slept a lot, muscle aches & joint stiffness and a headache for the first 3 days or so. 8 days later, I feel good, increased energy, less anxiety, clear thinking and feel better overall. I am eating healthier, feel great now and never going back!!

  • ray November 6, 2015, 10:02 am

    I did not know so many women were addicted. And so many my age. And so many drinking soda. I’m male age 46. I rocked a 260 on my cholesterol and 190 triglyceride. And 54 out of 1-45 in my liver test. When I said that was it. I’m from NYC area. So you don’t have to tell me anything twice, on October, 25 I quit forever cold turkey. I have had cravings. But they have been related to incidents not than need. First 3 days head aches were massive.

    The body felt like it was re arranging itself. I could feel the blood going crazy looking for this stuff. There was sensation and pain everywhere. But there was no real desire to go back my body was ready for the change. I drank 8 Pepsi a day since 2001. Pepsi made you feel great if you have no friends no wife hate your job, society makes you sick. LOL. But my body was ready to move on.

    It’s been one week. And I feel worse than when I was on it. I feel like I have a disease. There are momentary palpitations, small regurgitation, lack of strength. And feeling of disease. But this is normal. I have transformed my diet to include only bread, fruits veggies, eggs, fish, turkey. I need to reduce cholesterol, and triglycerides. This is not easy. Even eating great and exercising its like when you were 20.

    There is no bounce back. What there is a steady re organization of the nervous system digestive enzymes brain stomach liver. The body for the heavy addict time to reorganize. I was at 5 Pepsis for 20 years. So you have to give it time. My urine has returned to clear white after one week. And my stools while still soft and not hard. Are slowly getting there edges back. And I had a brown stool first time in a while.

    So that’s where I’m at. It’s November 5. And I’ll update you how its going. One side effect is you have more money in your pocket. If you’re 40 plus. The time is now. Start quitting and don’t look back. You don’t need this stuff.

    • Chris Baker November 21, 2015, 8:44 pm

      A suggestion… Get rid of the bread. My cholesterol was 232 and I switched to mostly Atkins diet and recently my cholestorol was 170. Wheat should be banned.

  • Christine Bennett November 8, 2015, 1:59 am

    Day 3 without Diet Coke. Terrible abdominal pain and headache. I appreciate all these posts, I don’t feel so alone. Why is this poison being put in our food and drink? Big company lobbyists?

    • Chris Baker November 23, 2015, 12:21 am

      They get away with it because people get addicted before they find out how bad it is. Back in the late 50’s and early 60’s Doctors recommended you smoke. They thought it would calm your nerves and it did. Last picture of the Marlboro Man he had an oxygen bottle strapped to his saddle and a cannula in his nose. Asbestos was the insulator of choice for buildings that kids went to school in before they found out about asbestos.

      Doctors don’t know everything and companies exist to make a profit so if something is allowed they will do it if it makes money. The try to sell what the customers want. Now that customers want the aspartame out, it’s being replaced. I just hope the sucralose doesn’t turn out to be bad for us.

  • Mariza November 11, 2015, 6:47 pm

    I’ve gone cold turkey on Coke Zero for almost two weeks now. I never realized how many of the symptoms I was experiencing, was due to the withdrawal. I drank at least 3 glasses a day for a few years after I joined Weight Watchers and if you know how it works, you’ll know it counts no points (they do warn though of Aspartame and high Sodium it contains) but still say you can drink it, it’s zero points.

    Yesterday (into my 2nd week) I had the most severe muscle and joint pain. My mother has Arthritis and I’ve thought its onslaught had begun but it hit me after my husband said it could be withdraw symptoms. I’m sooo grateful for your comments as I’ve found the cause of the pain (and so many of the others I’m experiencing). Stomach growls, headaches, light-headedness, migraine initially, pregnancy brain (without being pregnant) and even clumsiness.

    Today I woke up with most of the pain gone and I’ve found after day 3 the bloatedness was gone (I lost cm’s across my stomach). Some if these symptoms I also experienced while on Aspartame but it’s much more intense with my body craving it. This was the best decision of my life for my health and well-being and I knew it was very long overdue! Come on all you fellow quitters STAY STRONG & PUSH THROUGH – WE CAN DO IT!!! ?

  • Teresa November 13, 2015, 6:42 pm

    I had a very tough time! I experienced a racing heart with anxiety, trouble sleeping and cravings. I replaced Diet Coke with coffee, refreshers, green tea and water. I didn’t notice the caffeine loss because I replaced it with other beverages. Some joint pain has improved, swelling in my legs has decreased. Most importantly, my eczema has improved.

    • Jac December 6, 2015, 9:16 pm

      How long did it take for your palpitations to settle?

  • Vicki November 18, 2015, 6:41 am

    I drink at least one 12 pack of Diet Coke a day. Many days I drink more. I take a full one to bed with me each night so I can have a drink of it during the night when I wake up. I have to have a full can as soon as I wake up, so I keep another full one at my nightstand. I have done this since aspartame came out.

    My daughter is an EMT and has been on me to quit for years. I am afraid. I have all of the symptoms of too much aspartame consumption, but I am still afraid. All of your comments have helped me to get up the courage to do this. Have anyone of you gotten any medical advice for help with the symptoms?

    • Chris Baker November 21, 2015, 8:40 pm

      Just switch to the 2 liter bottles and use a one liter bottle as your “drink from” bottle. With the aspartame out of diet pepsi now you should be able to quit easy peasy. The withdrawal will happen, but you can handle it.

  • Chris Baker November 21, 2015, 8:38 pm

    Diet Pepsi just switched from using aspartame as their sweetener to sucralose. I usually drink about 4 liters a day in winter to 6 in summer. Obviously I’m still getting the caffeine but I have the same withdrawal symptoms as before when I quit pepsi completely, minus the headache. Lethargic, not sure how to describe this one so while I’m sitting here typing, my knees are bouncing up and down like crazy. Started a couple of days ago when I ran out of old diet pepsi. Sleeping more. That’s about it. I hope it goes away soon. Oh, and my appetite is off. Heh, maybe I’ll lose some more weight. Comments and replies welcome.

  • Valerie December 2, 2015, 3:32 am

    Gradually cut back from up to 5 cans of diet coke a day down to nothing with aspartame over a months time. It wasn’t until I stopped completely that I started to feel better. Was having bloating, joint pain, headaches, blurred vision in my left eye, swelling and fluid retention. None of it explained by any illness.

    Also had severe fatigue and mental grogginess at times. Today is day 4 of being aspartame free and feel like my mind is brighter, my joints don’t hurt for the first time in forever. I read that aspartame converts to formaldehyde in the body. Talk about toxic poison. Why is this stuff even allowed on the market?

  • Jac December 6, 2015, 9:23 pm

    This website is a Godsend. I thought I was going mad. Normally a level headed person I found myself anxious. I started drinking Diet Coke about 20 years ago and over time got up to 6 cans per day. I didn’t know it was poison but I was hooked. I decided to quit because I was spending a fortune on the stuff plus I intuitively realized over time it wasn’t good for me.

    It’s been about 10 days and I’ve had fogginess and some aches and pains and gnawing anxiety but I also feel clarity coming back and I know I’m getting there. The most worrying symptom for me is palpitations and a racing heart; has anyone else had this and when will it stop? It’s scary and the anxiety feeds it. I want to go to a cardiologist, but my sensible head says I need more time and to chill out.

    • Clare January 15, 2016, 7:45 pm

      Hi was wondering how long the heart palpitations lasted? I am on day 5 of giving Diet Coke up and today I feel like my heart is going to come out of my chest.

  • Char December 12, 2015, 11:51 pm

    I quit drinking non-caffeine diet soda about a month ago due to the extreme joint pain I was experiencing. I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms then and was really beginning to feel better. However today I decided that I could have “just one” and am I ever paying the price with unbelievable joint pain. Not ever again.

  • Amanda CdeBaca December 16, 2015, 4:21 am

    I was reading all the comments! And found my courage through them that I am not alone. All my life I have drank Dr Pepper Pepsi and Cokes through out my day!! Chug a coke in the fridge then get coffee. Then noon get another coke go home open another can and by night I’ll have a can of coke. Hardly drank water! I quit cold turkey about a month ago!! I’m 27 and lately I get dizzy spells out of nowhere!

    My anxiety is worse then ever too! When I sipped a half cup of sprite I got a huge headache the other day! But I have faith that I made the right choice for my health. My grandma died in 2006 from Sirius in the liver excuse my spelling!! She didn’t drink alcohol just cokes… I’m sure my sugar levels are low and prob causing me to feel like crap!

    But I have a Dr Appt next week. And putting my faith above I have a four year old that needs me to stay strong!!

  • Leyna December 26, 2015, 8:09 pm

    2 days ago I quit drinking the powder mixes from a local big box store. I had always diluted it heavily, due to not liking the drink to be excessively sweet. My daughter who is an extreme advocate for a healthy lifestyle suggested I quit using it. I rarely drink soda, so this was my drink of choice. Almost immediately I felt symptoms, headache, neck pain, over all blah feeling, I feel like I am getting the flu.

    This is extremely hard. I know it’s not the caffeine like the article suggests because I rarely drink carbonated sodas. So I felt like I should report my symptoms, because they are definitely from the aspartame in the powdered drink mix. I hope I can last through the withdrawal symptoms. Maybe it will relieve the sciatic muscle spasms I have been dealing with the past year. It will be worth a try!!!

  • Leyna December 27, 2015, 7:19 pm

    I quit using flavored drink mixes that contained aspartame 3 days ago. I woke up this morning feeling better than I have in a very long time. My headache from the last 2 days is almost non existent. My body is not achy like it used to be every morning. I do not feel as sluggish or bloated. My mind feels more alert. An over all good feeling. I will be anxious to see if this persists.

    If it does, I definitely will never consume anything with aspartame for the rest of my life so help me God. It thoroughly p***es me off that chemicals such as this are permitted in our food and drink!!! I wonder how many others feel this way and have no idea why they feel the way they do? I for one am grateful to the other viewers who have expressed their experiences with this substance. I truly had no idea how harmful this was!!!

  • John Thomaa January 4, 2016, 12:18 am

    Just read through all of the comments. I stopped drinking diet coke four weeks ago after having close to six cans per day for fifteen plus years. Initially, I had severe constipation that required self administration of drug store remedies. Also, started losing weight on a daily basis. Also, have lost cravings for snacks and general appetite reduction. Continue to have abdominal pressure. Have been wetting tongue throughout the day we with a 12 oz bottle of real coke.

  • Melissa B January 6, 2016, 10:08 am

    I am 43. I have been drinking diet pop since around 1998. I was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia about 5 years ago. Amazingly I stumbled across this article 2 days ago and stopped aspartame cold turkey. It seems that a lot of my symptoms from fibromyalgia may not have been fibromyalgia after all. I believe I am addicted to aspartame.

    It all came to a head when almost all of my hair is missing from my head. I have tried different things and nothing seems to help. My doctor prescribe tramadol and lyrica for my fibromyalgia pain. It causes severe depression which he had to prescribe an antidepressant. I have gone the last 6 months without any pain medication for my fibromyalgia and finally have had enough of the pain.

    I was in the hospital this past weekend with pains in my chest and I thought I was having a heart attack. They said it must be angina which is the muscles around the heart not getting enough oxygen. I got scared and came home and quit all of my eating habits cold turkey. I am eating leafy green salads, lean meats and water only all in moderation. So far in the last four days I have noticed blurred vision, severe migraines and lethargy.

    At the onset I noticed gobs of hair coming out of my head. I have already noticed I am losing weight. I thankfully do not have any food cravings, not even pop. The next few weeks will be tough but I should have done this a long time ago. Good luck to everyone.

  • Sarah S January 8, 2016, 5:34 pm

    I stopped sugar and diet colas five days ago. Holy body aches, unbelievable! Chest pain, legs aching, sleep problems, hips ache, no energy! I feel like crap! I put packs of sweetener on everything! I have gone through caffeine withdrawal before and had a headache and cravings, but no body aches so I googled and found this.

    My body aches are so sever that I feel like jumping out of my skin. After reading this I thought maybe I should not have stopped cold turkey and almost went to get a diet Dr. Pepper but stopped myself. I don’t want to ad another hour to this misery.

    As I was driving to work today, late because I felt terrible, I could hardly stand the car seat pushing on the back of my aching thighs. I hope this goes away soon. Anyone know how long it lasts? Did anyone else have terrible body aches?

  • Leyna January 11, 2016, 12:16 am

    To reply to the above questions. Personally I believe the more aspartame that was ingested and the amount of years would determine how long it will take for the withdrawal symptoms to subside. I rarely drank diet or regular pop, only occasionally. I mainly ingested aspartame from the Great Value fruit drink mix powder.

    I would make a pitcher of it every few days. When I quit drinking that I felt terrible, head pain, stiff neck, overall blah feeling. It took approximately 3-4 days before I felt better. Try to stick with it if you can, it was worth it for me. I do not have the joint pain any longer, also I am no longer bloated as before, the other problem I had was not being able to think clearly, my brain feeling foggy, do not know how else to explain it. I no longer have that symptom either. I will never knowingly drink or eat anything with this substance in it again.

    I recently noticed a commercial on TV for Diet Pepsi, the advertisement is stating it no longer contains aspartame!!! Must be something to it, right?? Why would one of the leading soft drink manufacturers make that kind of announcement if aspartame was okay??? Where in the hell is the FDA ?? Wonder who paid them off to allow this chemical in our food!!!

  • Tommy January 14, 2016, 8:55 pm

    Im a 34 male healthy and fit, other than drinking diet Mt. Dew for over ten years in excess. Sometimes up to 10 cans a day. I definitely found everyone’s comments to be comforting since I had no idea aspartame withdrawal could be so scary at times. I decided to pay it forward and give a breakdown of my symptoms and timeframe it took me to feel better.

    Within a week I noticed dull headaches started middle of my head and day to day would move around my head. I seriously thought I caught a flew since one day all I wanted to do was sleep. If I would get up I could feel my heart beat in my head. I had been working out threw this whole time when I could. I also noticed prickling… kinda like little needle pokes around my whole body, sometimes intermediate pains in muscles.

    My heart rate had been elevated for days since quitting diet Mountain dew… still is but not as bad now. When I noticed the worst withdrawal issues was around the end of week two. I seriously thought I was having a heart attack one day. It started with adrenaline like shooting in my head and sometimes feet, followed by tingling in my left arm mostly with the pins and needless feeling.

    I had pain in my chest really bad that day over a half hour period… I thought I was having a allergic reaction at one point. This happened less in severity over the next few days, but was extremely worrisome. I pinpointed what was the cause for me that triggered it the most (any sugar, or caffeine) so the only thing that would calm me down was my sleep aid (Benadryl) or a natural supplement I bought called Anxie-T. So I’m guessing it was a panic attack.

    Watch the way your body feels… for me some days I was tired and could handle some caffeine and sugar… but some days I had more energy than I knew what to do with, and those days it helped tremendously to avoid sugar and caffeine. I would change from sleepy to total energy sometimes in one day without any stimulants! I also had intermediate joint pain mostly in my left elbow but it would move around… lots of headaches… and also after I would consume sugar (second week) my head would plug up off and on like I needed to yawn to pop it, along with ringing in my ear.

    Freaky and scary stuff aspartame is! I will never again use anything with that in it again!! Also be very mindful of other things you consume as they may contain sucralose as well as aspartame that you are not aware of. My protein bars had sucralose and that could have made it worse for me coming off of aspartame. One huge thing I found interesting is I do not sweat hardly at all while working out like I used to… while having a lot more energy after my workout, along with a clearer head!

    Good luck to everyone giving this crap up!!! Hang in there it gets tremendously better right after it seems the worst! 3 weeks for me total, but im sure longer without my gym time in. I hope this helps someone else out! Tommy

    • Gina June 30, 2016, 12:06 am

      Thanks, Tommy! I’m on day 13 and just started noticing symptoms yesterday (headaches, lethargy and hot flashes). I was so relieved to make it through the first week without issues that I couldn’t figure out what was going on now. So glad I found this article and comments.

      I’ve been a fountain soda (diet) addict for 10+ years and have tried to quit numerous times. I’m also a registered dietitian and eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Happy to get aspartame out of my life, just hoping the withdrawal symptoms end soon!

  • Jessie January 20, 2016, 1:32 am

    I’m on day 21 and I’m still getting horrid headaches and body aches. The symptoms come and go though – I can feel great one day and horrible the next. Has anyone else experienced this?

  • gigi January 23, 2016, 9:54 am

    I have been vomiting every day after drinking one diet pepsi. I’m trying to wean off them because I’m not tolerating the new sweetener. My stomach has never been an issue until the change. Gonna have to find an alternative drink. Diet pepsi may go bankrupt when I fully quit.

  • Tasha February 7, 2016, 6:55 am

    After years of no consumption of artificial sweeteners, 6 weeks ago I started chewing Orbit gum again. One pack turned to three packs the last few days of my binge. Being very much a clean eater the poison really accumulated and created a slew of symptoms. Nutrasweet is definitely addictive and creates a physical and mental dependency.

    The chemicals and other sweeteners added make things worse. I retained fluid, got very puffy in the face, felt nauseated, had low blood sugar, gas and bloat, irregular heartbeats, and more. I quit cold turkey 3 days ago and feel horrible. I didn’t leave the bed the first day. Depressed, weak, tired, anxious. My skin is dry and bumpy and my hair is falling out in masses.

    That’s my last bout in this lifetime with that toxic stuff. I believe gum could be made with Stevia, but Monsanto will do everything in their power to continue to monopolize the market.

  • Kelly February 10, 2016, 1:30 am

    Am I the only one who throws up when I quit diet coke? I’m sold on it being aspartame withdrawal symptoms because if I substitute caffeine from another source I still have the migraines, shakes and vomiting. I’m quitting for lent tomorrow and praying I never go back.

    • Sabrina February 26, 2016, 3:05 pm

      How’s it going? I’m having a hard time… lots of anxiety… weird sensations… sleeplessness. I’m on week 5.

  • brittany March 3, 2016, 9:06 pm

    Drank diet coke for 20 years and drank up to 184 ounces a day. Stopped diet Coke 7 weeks ago today. My first night was so bad that I was physically sick and had the worst migraine.

    • Sabrina March 5, 2016, 9:46 pm

      Are you feeling better now? Did you have anxiety?

  • Franc March 6, 2016, 4:37 am

    I have quit caffeine free diet coke 3 weeks ago. I would drink an average of 5-6 cans a day, since… forever. I drink low sodium soda water instead, Zevia soda and sleepy time tea at night. I simply wanted to see if I could do it and what it would do. Well, I see some positive changes. But I don’t have any negative withdrawal symptoms at all. Lately, I don’t feel like drinking soda that much.

    I will have 1 or sometimes 2 cans of Zevia a day. I drink soda water instead. As strange as it may sound, I sort of forgot that I ever drank diet coke. I thought I would die of not having any but nope….no effect what so ever. As a matter of fact, there is 2 cans left in the fridge and I barely noticed it. At first, I thought that Zevia tasted odd but now I find it good.

    It is 3 times the price of Diet coke, but I drink 4 times less…so it balances. I also noticed that I hardly have any sugar cravings. I used to want to stop at Bulk Barn all the time for a few pieces of chocolate, but that seems to have vanished. Although I don’t have a weight problem, I believe that I have lost a few pounds. I have to put a new battery in my scale to find out..lol.

    But definitely am less hungry. I find that my mind seems more tranquil. I don’t seem to jump from thought to thought as much. And I have less negative thoughts. I still hate my computer and all the other computers I have owned, so my PC crankiness is still there… I guess it was not related. Although I don’t have a sleeping problem, I do sleep a bit better (don’t wake up in the middle of the night).

    And that’s about all. Overall, I find I feel better…although it could be just because I expected to feel better. Could also be because winter is almost over… bye bye. ;)

  • Sillywishes March 10, 2016, 10:31 pm

    I’m a 71 year old woman who has always thought that artificial sweeteners were a wonderful way to enjoy food without more calories. I loved diet Dr. Pepper and Splenda for a substitute in cooking – I even used it in my margaritas. Worse I was addicted to orbit chewing gum. Five days ago, I stopped all artificial sweeteners after experiencing stomach pain and bloating – I knew they could cause this.

    I have been there before. Well, I feel like I could jump out of my skin! The muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue, headache, anxiety, and worse the trembling, vibrating feelings. At my age, I was heading to the doctor’s office – I must have something life threatening. First I thought I would search the internet. The more I looked at my symptoms, the more I thought it sounded like withdrawal.

    Withdrawal from what? DUH. And then I was lucky to find this site. The information and the posts have been very helpful. Thank you! I am no longer as afraid as I was before reading your posts. I hope these symptoms will not last too long. Good luck to everyone.

  • Dee March 15, 2016, 1:04 am

    I’m 53 and I drank at least 64 oz or more of diet coke daily for probably about 25 years or more. I don’t think I was addicted but I do know I didn’t have the will power to stop drinking it. It became a routine, a habit. I stopped on my way to work every day and purchased a 64 oz of diet coke from the fountain machine and if that was broke, I’d buy the bottles.

    In November, 2015 I just made up my mind to stop. Now, I drink one cup of coffee p/day with just a bit of brown sugar, water and really trying to increase how much of that I drink and once in a while some hot tea in the evening. I have not experienced withdrawal, thankfully. I haven’t really noticed any change in my health; however, I just started to walk about 2 miles p/day at lease 4 times p/week.

    I’m walking rather fast and it takes me about 30 minutes to finish; however, as some of the weight drops from my hips, hopefully my time will decrease! Overall, I’m glad I stopped this bad habit and am trying to change other bad habits too such as eating and exercising. I don’t smoke and am only a social drinker so if I can change the eating and exercising ones, I feel like I’ll be on the road to a healthier lifestyle!

  • Mikey March 18, 2016, 1:39 pm

    I am 42 and type 1 diabetic – diagnosed way later in life. I was drinking 3 cups of coffee every morning with splenda/sugar substitute and would drink diet coke/pepsi, coke zero’s multiple times a day. I started getting headaches/migraines every single day. I was taking migraine relief every 24 hours for a few weeks. I quit drinking all sugar subs and diet sodas a week ago. I had headaches major for two days after, but they have stopped thank God! Now, my stomach is out and have diarrhea, with some other withdraw symptoms others on here are mentioning. How is this crap even legal?

  • Jenny March 28, 2016, 4:34 pm

    I was a Diet Coke drinker for 35 years… 6-10 cans a day! I just turned 50. I don’t take any medications, rarely go to the doctor and try to get regular exercise. My kids have been after me for years to stop with the Diet Coke. I did stop when I was pregnant with them 20 and 22 years ago. I did get sick then but brushed it off as morning sickness then I picked it up again in the hospital after I had them!

    Since quitting cold turkey a week ago I have suffered from what can appear to be like an alien living inside of me. Bloated and a very noisy stomach. I throw up, have diarrhea, can’t sleep, cry for stupid reasons, get hot and cold and hot and cold, jittery and have no appetite but not losing weight among other symptoms. I am trying to find some relief.

    I am taking vitamins and have been drinking insane amounts of water. My mom suggested that I not go cold turkey so I had a sip of Diet Coke. Couldn’t stand the taste of it and didn’t go any further with that one… While I wait this thing out my work life is on hold (luckily I am self employed) and I have considered going to a clinic to detox with medical staff around if there is such a thing for something like this.

    Some of my friends cannot believe what is going on and truthfully neither can I but I will get through this and come out on the other side looking and feeling wonderful. Is there anyone out there who can tell me just how long it took them if you have a similar duration of being addicted to this horrible stuff? I am reading anywhere from a week to 18 months. Thank you everyone.

  • tracy March 28, 2016, 8:46 pm

    For about 20 years I drunk diet coke, ate well and exercised; I was fit and healthy and apart from having bipolar I had no other major symptoms. 10 years later my joints are so weak I find walking a challenge, my once friendly personality had become impatient, hostile even and I regularly have to have fluid removed from my joints to relieve them. I’ve known for a couple of year that aspartame was more than likely responsible for some, if not all of my symptoms.

    I’ve tried on numerous occasions to quit but ended up justifying it by saying “it’s only a drink.” So here I am on day 4 of complete abstinence from all aspartame and coffee. I can honestly say I now know how important this journey is. I’ve had bad headaches, my joints are a lot more sore than usual and the swelling is crazy. I can’t sleep and I’m feeling restless and frustrated.

    However interspersed with these feelings is clarity, a head that wants to work for me, I am thinking clearer and not hating myself or the world quite as much. The night times are difficult because my legs are so restless and my shoulder really ache but I’m trying to keep it in my head that patience is the key. This will pass and I am confident my life will improve at least 50 fold.

    I wish you all the best in your quest for freedom from the chains of poison and to remind you THAT YOU CAN DO IT!

  • Steven April 6, 2016, 1:42 am

    Just ending day two of a cold-turkey quit. I found this site as I noticed some changes from ending my love affair with Diet Coke. I drank at least a 12 pack of cans or a couple 2 liter bottles every single day. I also belong to the Coke Rewards points thing. By saving those points under bottle caps and inside the cardboard Coke boxes I was able to quite often save enough points to get 4 coupons, each good for $3 off a 12 pack.

    I even dug through the garbage hoppers at the bottle return looking for Coke boxes to cut the rewards code out. I saw this as more FREE Diet Coke. So far I have a nasty headache. Haven’t had one of those in a very long time. Years. And both eyeballs are very sore. My body is sore at most of the joints. This right now is tolerable. I don’t know about the sleep thing as I have not been able to sleep a full night in a very long time. Started taking Melatonin (5mg) and that only makes me a sleepless zombie.

    I don’t drink coffee and rarely eat chocolate so other sources of caffeine are not a problem. I was a smoker for around 35 years. Quitting that addiction was the most difficult thing I ever quit doing. From what several people have shared here it sounds like quitting Diet Coke will be easier. I remember back around 1990 I quit drinking all soda pop.

    Diet Coke was my favorite even tho I drank others. After a few months of not consuming any of it I had a can. It was like I just ingested some kind of a drug. I got real dizzy and had to sit down. I think my body was freaking out over finally getting more of that stuff in it. I also remember I really did not like the taste of it. That alone told me I was addicted to it. At first I thought it was a caffeine addiction.

    Now I know it is the aspartame and caffeine I am addicted to. The weight gain is something to consider, too. I lost 103 pounds back in 2008 from Bariatric surgery. Have kept most of it off all these years. There is no way I am putting on any weight over quitting Diet Coke.

    Am going to see this to its end. The fridge has a water filter on it and I drink water from a Brita bottle filled from the fridge. Just as fast food joints, junk foods and the tobacco industry lost a customer Coke just lost another. Me.

  • Plien April 16, 2016, 10:33 am

    I have been drinking 3 cans each day for more than 25 years. For sure, I was addicted to diet coke. I have been diagnosed with MS without having the golden standard for MS, although now I think it might have been the aspartame. Recently I started to have extreme heart palpitations, bandpain and pain on chest and high pulse and fluttering of the heart, I have been brought to the hospital in an ambulance.

    They could not find a cause for this, now I read all these horror stories it must have been the aspartame, that I have been using for so long! I have quit 5 days ago and I have had no heart issues anymore and I haven’t been dizzy once. I am very tired though and feeling depressed, that is new to me.

    I feel like there is fog in my head and my shoulders and neck are aching and I feel cold/warm. I think it is a crime that it is still sold, I thought it would do no harm, the dutch government here says it is fine to use. It should be forbidden.

    Thank you all so much for your honesty and please come back when you are further in the detox process. I will try that too. all the best to you all, keep up the good work.

  • Julia April 22, 2016, 2:28 am

    I started with 3 weeks of just one can a day. I used to drink 8 cans a day for years. I was feeling bloated way more then usually last couple years. At first I thought it was just being 36 versus my 20s. But my friends were not experiencing the same symptoms. I knew in my heart it was the diet coke drinking.

    This week is my first week completely off.I have replaced it with sparkling water. I feel hungry,tired and slight dizziness by the end of the day. I also have noticed my bowls different colors. Has anyone else noticed that? I have to get throw this! They need to take Diet Coke’s off the shelves!

  • jana May 6, 2016, 6:28 am

    I have noticed a ton of difference. I wanted to stop drinking king diet coke because I use to be 140 pounds. Over the course of 2.5 years of my normal diet, I increased the intake of diet coke and now I am 200 pounds. I am still taking caffeine pills and I have noticed that I am having a harder time getting off the aspartame than caffeine. I am having hard core cravings for diet coke.

    1 week off diet coke and also 5 hour energy shots and switched to caffeine pills and I lost 3 pounds already. My food cravings stopped. No more midnight snacks, like cookies or potato chips. Yes I am tired as hell, but I’m only on 80mg of caffeine pills. I found taking 2 pills picks me up as drinking 4 cans of diet coke an hour.

    I am still drinking soda, but I am off the artificial crap and feel much better. I’m probably going to find stronger caffeine pills. I don’t take the caffeine pills oddly enough as much as I drank the diet coke. I think the aspartame is harder to get off than anything I have ever tried. Caffeine wasn’t as bad either when I tried that for a week.

  • Courtney June 2, 2016, 2:17 am

    Today is when I had my last drink with Aspartame in it and I’ve been noticing withdrawal symptoms right away. I’ve been having a lot of cravings especially for that same artificial sweetener. I’ve experienced eye pain, mild headaches, sometimes it would feel like I was getting stabbed in the head for at least 3 seconds.

    Joint pain, and heart palpations along with some anxiety yet I struggle with generalized anxiety and I can control it so it’s very tolerable. I’ve also experienced on and off nausea as well as some mild abdominal pain. I’ve been using this stuff ever since a few days ago so I’m sure the withdrawal symptoms won’t last very long. Aspartame’s some pretty nasty stuff so please stay away from it.

  • William Grant June 3, 2016, 8:24 am

    I became aware of the danger of aspartame about a week ago. Have stopped all intake, cheap supermarket diet coke, and all food with it in it, my use in coffee was the real problem I think, I used it to cut out sugar, I actually put weight on over the last year (about 27lbs). In my case, the withdrawal symptoms are combined with mild hay fever, which I get at this time of year, so not sure of exact symptoms.

    Have had kind of realistic bad dreams for about four nights, also sleeping perhaps an hour longer. Had a minor problem solving thing yesterday which I resolved, clarity coming back (I hope!). Will monitor my progress from now on. Am still drinking coffee, so no caffeine withdrawal, will eat just fruit/veg and detox as best I can.

  • Steve June 11, 2016, 1:20 pm

    I am a type 2 diabetic on 2 different insulins. I have drinking diet soda for years, approximately seven to ten cans a day. I quit drinking them about two weeks ago and have had a big change in my blood sugars. I have had too many low which is not good and yesterday had something happen that scared the dickens out of me. To me it was like a deep depression, everything good was now bad.

    I’ve never had any issues with depression and don’t want any. I have temporarily stop taking my mealtime insulin to stop the low sugars. Stopping diet soda is the only change I’ve made in my diet so for me aspartame is the culprit. I would like to know if other diabetics had similar results. Will never drink diet soda again.

  • Robbie June 17, 2016, 3:10 am

    I am glad I found this thread – I am almost a week in and came home from work early due to lightheadedness, congestion, etc. I am really, really thirsty! I keep on drinking water, water and more water. I eat pretty healthy and am watching my calories and realizing that any additional cravings are what I call toxic hunger. One good thing about getting sick during this detox from Diet Coke (still drinking coffee) is that I will not want to go through this again… this is awful.

  • Leyna June 20, 2016, 6:19 pm

    Well it’s been several months since I jumped off the band wagon of aspartame, sucralose or any other kind of chemical sweetener. I feel great!! No more headaches, joint issues etc. I still feel my blood boil when I think about the FDA allowing this to be put in our foods. Oh and I also quit the Orbit White Gum.. since it too has aspartame…

    I order gum online and make sure it has ingredients that are not harmful. I have even quit buying drink mixes that I am not sure about their ingredients. I purchase Hint Water, has a slight taste of fruit, and now that I have been off of all the artificial sweeteners, my taste buds are tasting again!! Hallelujah!!!

    • Heather July 11, 2016, 11:56 am

      How long did it take you to feel better? I’m going on week 5 of the withdrawal from aspartame and sucralose, and I still have a gritty, weepy, sticky eye and trouble sleeping, no energy, irritable. I consumed these for 2-3 years and wish I knew how long it would take to detox.

  • Heather June 30, 2016, 4:25 pm

    Can anyone tell me how long it would take to get aspartame out of your system if you consumed several sugar-free cough drops a day for 1 year and 9 months? That was a small amount consumed at a time, but it built up in my system after less than a year, and it was only several months later that I discovered my eye problems were related. It’s been 2 and a half weeks now and I still have grittiness in my left eye, which is the one worst affected.

  • Clara July 6, 2016, 3:19 pm

    I’ve gone wild, in the last month I’ve quit (in this order) alcohol, caffeine, aspartame (in fact ALL artificial sweeteners). I’m now looking into going organic with fruit & veg to avoid harmful pesticides & I’ve bought a fluoride filtration system which should arrive any day soon.
    The first week was hard I as exhausted, I’m in week 4 of pure cleaning eating only drinking water & cooking healthy meals and I feel amazing.

    I’m more alert, less fatigued & for someone who spent 6 months bed bound with depression I feel like a completely different person. I do believe we are being slowly killed by this stuff as if you try to look for anything without it in it really limits your choices. Almost everything you can buy now is harmful in some shape or form & that’s scary & a lonely place to be.

    I have a 6 year old who misses juice and fizzy drinks so she is going through it all with me. Well done for looking at what your consuming and not playing ignorant like the majority of the population. If we all get smart to this hopefully the sales will plummet & they will be forced to stop poisoning us! Until then I’ll stick to water & organic fruit & veg. :( Getting bored of it though!!

  • Jlyn July 21, 2016, 1:17 am

    I have been drinking diet coke since I was 8 yo. I am 43 now, and I drink a lot! I had weight loss surgery and only was able to stop for 3 mo. I drink as much diet coke as pre-surgery. I have all kinds of health issues and everyone tells me to stop the diet soda.

    I tried and had good intentions many times! I just cannot do it. I have to though. Do you think I will have bad withdrawals from all those years? I going to quit cold turkey because weaning never worked for me. I applaud all of you, great job!

  • Angel August 1, 2016, 6:26 pm

    I’m on week two. Seizures are every day now. Started on day four. They were contained with medication. Maybe I should have checked with my doctor before doing this?

  • Arletta August 3, 2016, 12:11 pm

    A couple of years ago, or so, when the gas prices had risen to the point of the usual, non-fancy, groceries not being affordable, I cut way down on my diet soda consumption. I did this, in part, by drinking more water and more unsweetened tea (hot or cold) and in part by drinking seltzer water when I just had to have the bubbles. Eventually, for a time, I got to the point where I was only having sodas if I went out to eat – which was seldom – and, after a while, not even then.

    I noticed that I felt… well, basically… more functional. I can’t say it was such a significant change that it was even noticeable at first, but, it was an all-over being less hot, less achy, having less trouble getting to sleep, feeling more awake, being able to exercise better, being able to breathe a little easier. Mind you, I was also eating far less meat, far less processed foods of any sort, eating a lot more vegetables including leafy greens and eating a lot of grapefruit, and, because such things cost too much, I was having basically nothing like candy, cake, cookies, etc.

    I was still having some,but, very little amounts, every now and again. There was nothing I could point to and say “Ah ha! I am detoxing from…” about anything that people like to say makes one ill – not aspartame, not meat, not high fructose corn syrup – because I had significantly changed several things. I do know that, even though I was finally losing weight. I still didn’t feel real good, so that made it hard to believe that aspartame was a cause of anything.

    But, on a whim (though based on research) I eventually self-tested myself and found out I had a serious problem with wheat. So, I pretty much got rid of that in my diet. I say “pretty much” because, sometimes, if I am out with a family member or a friend and I can’t find anything else, I’ll eat a hamburger or some-such, or, I’ll eat a piece of fried chicken on occasion. And, this is something I have to work on. Bear with me – there is a point to my telling you all of this!

    The point is that AFTER I got rid of most of the wheat, had already gotten rid of dairy as fully as possible without having fully gotten rid of the wheat, quit drinking coffee, quit smoking, taking up eating a cup of berries on an empty stomach (mostly) every morning – which is supposed to help jog your lymphatic system so that you can finally lose weight on your belly – eating mostly just veggies, nuts, and occasional lean meats, besides the berries… after all this… my gut is still getting swollen up, my joints are still aching, I am extremely hot internally, I have trouble breathing and all sorts of other things.

    And, this time, I have noticed that it all directly corresponds with having an excessive amount of diet soda. Now, when I was drinking a far lesser amount, I was losing weight but not feeling any better really. When I was drinking none (but had also made many other healthier choices) I lost weight and was feeling better. When I got to the point where the drinking of diet sodas escalated to fairly ridiculous proportions – and, this happened more than once, over the last few years – I quit losing weight, and, eventually, started gaining weight.

    I was also more prone to eating candy or not being able to say no to wheat. So, for me, I would say that my experience is that not drinking diet sodas at all is the best way to go. Because, as soon as I made the mistake of letting them a little bit back into my life, I was on my way to drinking mostly diet sodas. Now, I don’t know how much of the problem with that is what I am taking into my body (aspartame) and how much is what I am leaving out (just good, normal water), but, in the end, it doesn’t matter – because, I know that drinking the drinks with aspartame is the cause of the problem, since, when it is in my life at all, it is in my life too much. So, at the very least, I get addicted to it and become uninterested in more healthful drinks.

    That’s actually why I am here. I was reading up on aspartame, again, and, considering the further experience I have had since the last time I read up on it and tried to decide if it was causing my symptoms (Fibromyalgia, thyroidal troubles, a belly that pretty much hasn’t changed sizes even when I lost over 50 lbs, current inability to lose weight ramping up to inability to not gain weight even when otherwise eating healthy). It only makes sense that it can’t be GOOD for humans.

    Nothing artificial is actually GOOD for us, though, some things are less bad or have some benefit that might outweigh the perceivable bad. IE: Man-made fabrics can be made to be long-lasting and wrinkle free, and, they are less likely to be eaten by insects or rodents. However, they are more likely to give you a rash due to lack of breathability, if not a worse problem. So, sometimes, the balance is to where the man-made fabric (nylon) with the addition of some natural fabric (a cotton shield), or, to wear the man-made fabrics for certain occasions, only.

    Aspartame is not good. It gives no benefits that outweigh the bad, even if all the bad there is consists of it keeping you from drinking adequate amounts of water and being diuretic. That’s enough to give one reason to say no to it. Even more so, if one feels so drawn to it that it cannot be reasonably limited to the status of being an occasional treat. And, even more than that if one finds that it is a “necessity”, but, not really an enjoyment, anymore. And, I don’t enjoy it, anymore.

    I want it, I am glad to have it so that I don’t have to suffer not having it, but, it is not a treat. Therefore, it is an addiction. But, I do believe, based on what has happened most recently – when so many other allergens and potential things I could be affected by have been removed – that aspartame does more than gets in the way of water drinking while flushing out more liquid than should be happening. I believe it makes me crave the things I am allergic to, makes me want more sweets, and, makes me gain weight even if I do not eat more sweets.

    It throws off my self-control and disrupts my schedule, so that I am eating too late at night too often, having trouble sleeping, buy greens and ignore them, etc. I believe, now, that most of my health problems, and, my lack of will power to deal with them, stem from allergies and intolerances and that I am seriously intolerant of, possibly allergic to, aspartame. And, since it has no health benefit that can outweigh even the lesser degrees of trouble it causes, because, in point of fact, there is no health benefit at all, it is time to kick the habit again and permanently.

    • JoJo November 7, 2016, 7:47 pm

      I so agree!

  • Melissa September 5, 2016, 9:06 pm

    I’m so glad I’ve looked at all the posts. I tried to cut out Pepsi a few years ago I only managed 2 weeks because of the headaches. I’m now going to try again and go cold turkey. Headaches have been bad already but going to take one day at a time.

  • angelina September 11, 2016, 5:35 am

    I’m on day 5 I think quitting cold turkey! I used to drink tons of diet coke for over 20 plus years. Withdrawals include panic attacks, anxiety, restlessness, heart palpitations, stomach aches, feeling like I’m gonna die seriously! I felt in my heart time to quit and THANK GOD I’m trying. Its rough but I’m sticking to it! Wish all the very best, I’m much happier outside the withdrawals, and consistency in a better mood!! Determined and hoping normal nerves soon!! :)

  • Natasha Tarrant September 21, 2016, 7:04 pm

    Well I am now just completing day 2 going Cold Turkey from Diet Coke. I was so addicted I would have over 12 cans per day. I would carry a 24 pack in my car and always one in my handbag where ever I go. Before I go to work I would have 3 cans. This has gone on for years but I am off to Zambia canoeing up the Zambezi and there won’t be a can of Diet Coke in sight.

    I feel dreadful. I need to sleep all the time (not easy when I have work, 2 children and 3 horses to look after). My head aches and I feel my stomach is empty. I brought a McDonald’s today (my fav) and struggled to eat it! I also struggled to eat my dinner tonight but I feel hungry.

    I hope it’s stops. I feel weak and exhausted. I’m hoping I don’t put weight on. I am struggling to continue but as I live in the middle of no where and no Coke in the house I have no choice but to drink water haha! I actually feel like I have flu. I seem to have developed a cough? Did anyone else?

  • Tenley September 22, 2016, 7:03 am

    I have been drinking caffeine-free diet sodas for years (and before that, diet sodas basically my entire adult life). I haven’t had caffeine in years. So I was shocked to learn I was having aspartame withdrawal symptoms. Headaches – severe. That is my No. 1 symptom and seems to be overwhelmingly common in these comments. Also, I was stunned by how noticeable the reduction in bloating was within just 48 hours – initially I took that to be due solely to cutting out carbonation.

  • Melissa September 22, 2016, 11:47 am

    I’m on day 6 of no aspartame. I was drinking 7-8 cans of diet Sunkist for years. Headaches, fatigue, irritability upset stomach, nausea, foggy brain, and noted swelling of my hands since my last drink. Has anyone else had swelling in hands and upset stomach?

  • Jude Toy- Keet September 28, 2016, 5:36 pm

    Today is day 8 of my quitting drinking two to three cans of diet, non-caffeinated soft drinks with aspartame. I’ve had small headaches (Day 1-4), bouts of nausea, stomach muscle discomfort and nervousness. My stomach still feels bloated and probably will take a while to get back to normal. I’m 66 years old and have been drinking diet sodas for about 20 years.

  • Lee Hart October 4, 2016, 2:53 pm

    I had a 8 to 10 can a day diet coke habit. I decided 4 years ago in January that as much as it helped me function, that it was not healthy. I knew I’d have the symptoms of both caffeine withdrawal and Aspartame withdrawal to face and I had no idea how tough that would be. It was hell. I had headaches, mood swings, headaches, full on flu like symptoms, sweats and sleep problems.

    I continued through it and after a month I managed to feel things getting back to normal. Like with some addictions you can replace it with another and I found I was left with more of a sweet tooth than I had ever had. I am now looking at reducing my sugar intake but I am aware when I reduce it too much I start to crave carbs and probably because of the sugars in them.

    From not drinking diet coke I feel much better. I would never touch it again as for me it is like a poison. I have sparkling water as that satisfies my craving for fizz and it is cheap and legal to drive after consuming. ;-)

  • Jill October 22, 2016, 1:08 pm

    I’m so glad I looked into this! Diet Dew was my pal. Every morning (my coffee) I’d tell myself. Two-three a day for years. Since stopping I’ve had…

    ° High levels of anxiety, I couldn’t figure it out. Now I know.
    ° Some headaches
    ° Insomnia and sleeping very lightly, waking often.
    ° Lethargy
    ° Flu like symptoms
    ° Dislike for junk food. I love chips and dip, now not so much. That’s a nice feeling.

    Glad I read this article. No intention to go back. A Coke now and then but don’t even enjoy that like I use to. Great feeling to be done!!!

  • Kathy B October 23, 2016, 12:39 am

    I was having problems with bloating, mental confusion and difficulty in losing weight. I’m 12 years sober and have well managed bipolar. My Diet Coke Zero consumption had gotten so bad that some days, that’s all I drank. I’m sure I was getting dehydrated. I’d read about diet soda being bad for you. The doctor who prescribes my bipolar meds has been mentioning how aspartame contributes to foggy thinking.

    So I decided to quit three days ago. I’m not saying it’s worse than alcohol withdrawal I had two seizures from that and nearly died both times.
    Aspartame withdrawal feels like you have been poisoned and your body is screaming to get rid of it. Mental confusion, bloating, dull pain over my liver and gall bladder, my hands and fingers feel like plastic are clammy and my fingertips are sensitive to touch.

    My eyes feel bloated and ache. I have little appetite and my intestines are cramping. I don’t have headaches but I do have anxiety and am lethargic. I had to take yesterday off work. Tried to do data entry today and it took me three times longer than it should have plus I had to recheck my work. I know now that Aspartame breaks down into Formaldehyde and wood alcohol.

    Over time this has got to wreak havoc with your body. And It’s definitely addictive. And buying all that soda gets expensive. So yes, I fell terrible. No. I will not drink another 12, 20 or 44oz of poison. No matter how long the symptoms last I know that drinking water, eating healthy foods and exercising work. As we say in AA “This too shall pass…”

  • JoJo November 7, 2016, 8:37 pm

    Hello all – Prior to work today, I stopped and got my normal two large ($1.00) diet cokes at McDonald’s. After arriving at work I received results via my “chart” for some blood work that had been done last week. Same concerns for the past many, many, many years. I cannot tell you how many tests and diagnosis’ I have experienced in the last twenty years! Docs can only tell me what it is NOT…not what it is. I have had enough!

    Just out of curiosity, I did a google search on ASPARTAME ADDICTION. OMG! I am addicted to aspartame! I ran across this chain, and am so glad I did. I have been dealing with so many of the symptoms that have been mentioned in the above posts for years. So often I have tried to give up diet-coke, only to feel like total crap (withdrawal) only to return to my daily routine… have a couple diet cokes, my symptoms went away!

    I had my last two diet cokes this morning… I am going cold turkey! I was getting sick to my stomach reading these posts… I thought to myself… this is me! As I read through this entire thread, I have been chugging a bottle of Ice Mountain WATER. I’ve determined that my day-to-day, long term dealing with ailments far outweighs the withdrawals symptoms everyone has mentioned!

    I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by at least giving it a try for more than a couple days. I will keep you posted on my progress… wish me luck! Five hours and counting…

  • Chris December 2, 2016, 1:01 am

    Thanks to everyone who has posted here. It has really helped me. I am a 54 year old single male and have (but hopefully soon will have had!) a pepsi max addiction. I used to drink so many different drinks, but one by one they all dropped away until the only thing I was drinking was pepsi max. I would have to have an 8 pack in the car at all times. I would honestly panic if I ran out.

    My shopping trolley was becoming more and more full of this poison. It was embarrassing. I would easily drink around 8 to 10 cans per day. The strange thing was the pepsi max never quenched my thirst. I would always be thirsty after drinking it. I was eating very healthily, swimming 1 hour per day and 1 hour on the treadmill, but my weight wasn’t going down.

    I don’t drink alcohol or smoke and pepsi max was my only vice. I tried on many occasions to give up, but the side effects were always insurmountable. I tried replacing it with regular fanta, but my body felt cheated and I would become like a wounded lion. So I have gone on holiday to Spain alone for 14 days and given up pepsi max and replaced it with mineral water. The side effects I am having are ridiculous and worrying.

    It’s day 4 and today I have a major headache, blurred vision, very, very thirsty, eyes very sensitive to light, inability to think straight, I ache all over, my sleeping pattern is nonexistent (sleep 4 hours, awake 4 hours, sleep 4 hours, awake 4 hours). Incredibly, my hearing has become like Superman. Most worrying is my right side (kidney?) is very painful to lie on and is ‘growling’ constantly like your stomach does when you are hungry.

    I know it’s the aspartame because I have started drinking coffee for the caffeine (even though I don’t like coffee). At the gym today I started crying for no reason. Yesterday I had a major migraine and diarrhea and was really light-headed all day. I know for a fact that all these symptoms are a direct reaction to stopping Pepsi Max. There is nothing else it could be.

    But I am determined to kick this drug, once and for all. Being away from home I can sleep, when my body needs it. Exercise. Went for a 2 hour walk today on the beach. The hotel has plenty of healthy food. I am going to take control of my life and am prepared to face whatever this drug can throw at me. But as addict for over 30 years, I do know it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

    But for anyone reading this, don’t think you have control of the drug ( it is a drug. It’s an addictive drug). The longer you drink it, the worse it becomes. And if you don’t believe me – switch to regular cola for one week and see how badly your body reacts. Go on, I dare you. :) Good Luck to anyone who is trying to get off this drug.

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