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Is your sugar free gum making you sick?

March 28th, 2010 in Earnest Holistic Health by 5 Comments

Most of us chew gum on a daily basis, I know I do especially when I’m sitting in a long meeting and boredom hits, chewing a piece of gum usually keeps me awake. I have noticed that I get headaches when I chew sugar-free gum. I never really paid any attention to the labels until a few weeks ago and I notice that they all (sugar-free gum) have one ingredient in common. Aspartame.

Aspartame was first used to treat ulcers; it was not created to be an alternative sweetener. It has been linked to headaches and seizures, but headaches are the most common side effect. When aspartame breaks down in the body the byproducts are:

  1. aspartic acid ( an excitotoxin; stimulates hyperactive behaviors)
  2. phenylalanine
  3. methanol ( poisonous free radical, deadly neurotoxin, carcinogen)
  4. formaldehyde ( embalming fluid to keep bodies preserved after death)
  5. formic acid

Aspartame can be found in food products that are advertised as low-calorie or sugar-free and include the following:


Chewing gum

Soft drinks

Cookies and candy bars that are made for diabetics

Frozen desserts

Artificial sweeteners

Cough candies, drops, and syrups

Chewable vitamins

Some common adverse reactions to aspartic acid are:



Abdominal pain,


Sleep disorders,

Vision problems,

Anxiety attacks,


Asthma/chest tightness.

Too much phenylalanine causes:


Elevated blood plasma levels

Can cause birth defects in children (when used by pregnant women)



Severe mood swings.


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Author: Blessing Anyatonwu

Earnest Holistic Health in Austin, TX, provides nutritional counseling services to clients looking to improve their health.


My husband stopped smoking and to substitute that he has been chewing a lot of sugar free gum. He has has sever insomnia the past few night and the only thing that he is doing differently is the gum. I had a hunch that it could be that. He was chewing 2 packs a day ranging from 14-20 pieces of gum a pack.



Hi Stephanie. Thanks for your comment. I have worked with many people who have stopped smoking and used gum to substitute. The best thing to do is ditch all gum with aspartame. While his brain and body are weaning off of the nicotine he doesn’t need to add aspartame to that mix. There are aspartame free gums like Pur, Glee, Spry or more natural solutions that include chewing licorice root, seeds and nuts or parsley. The aspartame free gums can be found at natural food stores.

Hope this helps.
Dr. Blessing Anyatonwu

Blessing Anyatonwu


THANK YOU…I started having horrible insomnia. In fact I haven’t slept for 8 days except a few hours. SOmeone pointed out that it could be my gum. I am healthy excpet after quitting smoking I am (HATE TO ADMIT IT) chewing 100-200 pieces of trident a day. I knew it was crazy. But I am pretty sure after reading this and other things..that my anxiety, sleeplessness etc. is from this…THANK YOU

Nancy Vogel


Hi, I use to a lot of products with aspartame in it, but no longer. I’ve been breaking chronic hives for the last 14 years, every doctor doctor told me it was stress. The light bulb came on and decided to eliminate aspartame, no more hives.
Thank you



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