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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: phenylalanine, 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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207 thoughts on “Aspartame Withdrawal Symptoms: List Of Possibilities”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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. ;)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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

    • 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!

  14. 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!!!

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!!!

  19. 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!!!

  20. 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!!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

    • 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.

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

    • 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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!!! ?

    • 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.

  28. 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.

    • 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.

  29. 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!!

  30. 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.

    • 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!!!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  31. 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.

    • 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,

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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?

    • 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

    • 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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!!

  47. 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!!!!

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

    • 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.


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