If you’ve been looking for an alternative to sugary drinks, you may have turned to Crystal Light or other water-enhancers that are purported to be healthier for you than soda. Unfortunately, Crystal Light might not be as good for you as one might think. Some flavor varieties (not all) of the powder contain aspartame – a controversial and potentially dangerous food additive.
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, created in a lab, that is much sweeter than sugar. It is often marketed as Equal or Nutrasweet and is widely considered to be a “diet” sugar alternative. It can be found in products like diet soda and “fat free” yogurt.
The FDA has approved the use of aspartame as a food additive at regulated levels. The Acceptable Daily Intake recommended by the FDA states that daily consumption of aspartame should not exceed 50 mg/kg of body weight per day – a figure higher than the 40 mg/kg recommendation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). According to the Code of Federal Regulations, products containing aspartame must feature the label: PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.
Though multiple studies on rodents by the European Ramazzini Foundation (ERF) suggested a link between aspartame consumption and cancer, both the FDA and EFSA have concluded that aspartame is still a safe food additive.
Nutritionist Dr. Janet Hull, author of the book “Sweet Poison: How the World’s Most Popular Artificial Sweetener Is Killing Us – My Story,” and others disagree that aspartame is safe for consumption by humans.
Livestrong.com has a section on aspartame poisoning. According to Livestrong, aspartame can cause psychological symptoms like mood changes and memory loss; neurological issues like dizziness, fatigue and migraines; and physical symptoms like diarrhea, high blood pressure and fluid retention.
Nutritional advice forums are teeming with people professing adverse health effects as a result of drinking Crystal Light flavors that contain aspartame including severe dizziness and abdominal pain. Another alarming trend in these forums are confessions by Crystal Light drinkers that they turn to products like Crystal Light because they “aren’t fans” of water. An aversion to drinking water (essential to human life) by a large number of people speaks to today’s chemically-driven, completely unnatural modern diet.
Drink Actual Water:
If you’re concerned about aspartame in water-flavoring products, instead of using a powder try putting real fruits and vegetables in a carafe of water at home. This is a truly natural way to flavor water.
I recommend using a glass carafe (to avoid the leaching of chemicals from plastic into your water). Fill the carafe with water and add one of the following healthy water-enhancers:
Fresh Mint: Take a handful of fresh mint leaves and add it to your water. Fresh mint is fairly strong, so you don’t need to add a whole lot. Mint is credited for health benefits including aiding digestion, improving mood and bolstering the immune system.
Lemon: Fresh lemon does more than flavor your water. It can help cure canker sores, boost the immune system and even helps detoxify the liver.
Cucumber: Adding cucumber to water creates a fresh, summery flavor. Cucumber is known for a variety of health benefits. For instance, it contains silica, which is important for joint health. It is also a good source of B-vitamins and can be used to combat bad breath.
Keep the carafe in the refrigerator. Clean the carafe and replace the fruit or herbs every couple of days. There are water containers available that include an infuser space to keep fruit separate, or you can simply put the fruit right in with the water in a regular carafe.
Some people who have grown attached to carrying their “on-the-go” Crystal Light packets with them to restaurants and public places argue that adding fresh fruit or herbs to water is not convenient for when they leave the house. However, it’s just as simple to cut up a lemon, put it in your metal reusable water bottle and take it with you. Also, having worked in restaurants for years, I can attest that servers very rarely mind giving you a slice of cucumber or a wedge of lemon or lime with your water.
Switch to this natural alternative to avoid any potential health risks associated with artificial sweeteners and chemically-created flavor powders.