Chat and Community Forums Closed

Due to the popularity of social media, we have seen decreasing engagement on our forums and chat. Please know we want to keep talking to you about epilepsy, seizures, and what you need. We want to stay connected with you.

Community Forum


Wondering if Aspartame also known as nutrasweet, (common sweetener in sugar free sodas and sugar free gum) is a trigger for anyone?



I used to be the kind of epileptic who could drink three cups of coffee a day, but one day, after a year, BAM, I just became realllllly sensitive to stimulants... (Neuro can't explain the switch...) Now I can't touch coffee, tea or chocolate (it contains theobromine - the chemical cousin to caffeine). Sigh... So I gave up Coke and started drinking Tab, a diet cola that contains no caffeine or sugar but heaps of ASPARTAME. But... I then noticed that if I had more than two glasses, I felt all funny and wired and wouldn't sleep a wink that night... even if I drank it round 12am! And my pupils would go all HUGE!!!  

So, it looks like no aspartame for me. Dunno if my story will help anyone, but those are the facts. ;-)

(Just so you know, I've got catamenial epilepsy and take 75g of topamax at night.)  




yes.  there are many products with it in it.  i stay away from anything with artificial sweetner.   some medication are effected by it.    hope it helps.  rikk


A. attenuata is a native of central Mexico and is uncommon in its natural habitat. Unlike most species of Agave, A. attenuata has a curved flower spike from which it derives one of its numerous common names - the foxtail agave. A. attenuata is also commonly grown as a garden plant. Unlike many agaves, A. attenuata has no teeth or terminal spines making it an ideal plant for areas adjacent to footpaths. Like all agaves, A. attenuata is a succulent and requires little water or maintenance once established.





when aspartame first came on the market , i thought oh great. so i started drinking diet sodas with it. then my hubby noticed i was having lots of abscence siezures from a couple of cans a day. went to my neuro at the time and he told me to stop immediately. he said that there was a medical paper sent to imabout the dangers of aspartame and siezures. stopped drinking it, they went away.  

God Bless,


life is fragile, handle with prayer.


I have never noticed seizures, but it gives me terrible migraines. I don't drink it anymore. I started a diet and was going to the ER about once a week. They gave me a pamphlet on things that trigger them and Aspartame was one of them. I gave up diet pop and don't get them anymore

I was diagnosed with temporal

I was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy at 16, however had never lost consciousness, I was told that I was having absence seizures which I always disputed since I only 'lost time' once.Fast forward 13 years, not really had issues, never been on AEDs, got a driving licence. However, was getting married and trying to keep the weight off. I began hammering diet coke, and tbh probably not eating enough actual food. And bam! I have the worst episode I've ever had. I didn't know where I was, I literally couldn't speak or do anything, and along triggered my premenstrual 'episodes' every month, about 7 times a day and debilitating. I ended up back at neurology where I was diagnosed with auras, I've had my driving licence removed. Once I thought aspartame might me the culprit... I've totally cut it out. Even if I accidentally have something with it in... I can immediately taste it, it's like poison. It's disgusting. I still have th auras, but maybe one or two each month and they're barely noticeable. I'm hoping that eventually they'll completely go away. Coffee doesn't affect me THANK GOD. 

Alernative to Aspartame: Splenda!

I quit drinking diet colas with aspartame (Nutrasweet) because even though it's low cal, it does still mess a little with a person's blood sugar levels.

However, I do love diet cola, so now I drink Diet Rite brand, which uses Splenda instead. It tastes better and has no side effects (at least for me). It's not as easy to find (no vending machines or restaurants) but most grocery stores have it.

Just sayin'! 


If you are interested in this topic check a book out of the library entitled "Treating Epilepsy Naturally : A Guide to Alternative and Adjunct Therapies" by Patricia A. Murphy.  She lists  several common foods that have been likely and common seizure triggers, and that is only one of them.  I thought it looked interesting when I was there, but I had no idea how many foods could be harmful.  There is also a whole section of foods that heal in the book as well.


Dianne in CO- Wow! I am so glad I typed in a research on the effects of aspartame! I have just recently stopped drinking diet pop of anykind. In only 3 days, I have notices a HUGE difference in the way I feel. I have found so much research in regards to the effects of artificial sweetners, it amazes me how the hide it from the public.  Its time to tell people that it is POISON!! It causes MS, depression, obesity,....... the list goes on and on. I am ready to feel like myself again. I do beleive that Splenda was one of the worst ones for me. Thank God for people telling their stories online!:o)

RE: Aspartame anyone???

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener. But as to whether it is a seizure trigger for epileptic seizures varies from one person to the other: Some people say that it is but for me it isn't. Others argue that the case against aspartame is because of the sugar industry who don't want to lose profits because of a diet conscious population. There may be other sweeteners that aren't artificial like honey if a person doesn't want either sugar or artificial sweeteners. I don't know about Stevia which claims to be natural but isn't FDA approved. I have met other people who take Stevia beside myself with no ill effects. It is up to the individual as to whether they want to take the risk.


I first had a fit in 1986. By 2003 I was having 4-6 absences per day, 4-6 partial complex per week and a tonic clonic every 5 weeks. My neuros considered me impossible to treat any further.

I read an article about how horrible aspartame was and how it affects epilepsy sufferers. I also read something else saying the same thing about caffeine!.

I started taking Keppra in May 2003. I realise this is a US based site - I hope you have heard of Keppra - I am from UK. I also completely stopped taking aspartame and caffeine. These poisons can be found in many other foods and drinks - not just diet coke - look carefully at the labels.

I had nothing at all until July when I had some very strong coffee on holiday in Italy (I drink decaffeinated coffee - but it is like an insult to Italians!) by mistake. As a result I had a day of partial complex.

Then there was nothing until November 26th 2003. I was made redundant after more than 20 years in my job. Stress triggers me so I had that day of partial complexes.

Since then nothing. In UK you can drive after 1 year being fit-free. I have had my driving licence since December 2004 and am now leading a "normal" life.

Was it starting Keppra, stopping Aspartame or stopping caffeine that worked a miracle for me - who knows - it just does.

I think everyone with epilepsy should avoid aspartame and caffeine (in my opinion). They are poisons and you can easily live without them.


Okay, okay, just to eliminate anything that can be a trigger for me, I'm starting to watch for things that contain Aspartame, anything that helps me get my seizures under control. I've started drinking regular Coke instead of Coke Zero. Regular Coke doesn't contain Aspartame.


Yes.  Not only is aspartame a seizure trigger, but it can do permanent brain damage resulting in lifelong need for anti-epileptic drugs.  See Aspartame Sickness.

Mark Yannone


My daughter, who is on Keppra, is only 8 but I do not allow her or her brother to have any diet foods at all other than Trident gum.  I never have.  Even though I feel better about Splenda, they don't get that either.  I have taught them that they can have sweets, just not all the time.  I give them natural foods, i.e. butter and brown sugar, instead of chemicals, i.e. margarine and aspartame.  My son was 9 before he would eat american cheese because he grew up on aged cheeses.  my daughter still won't eat american cheese.  They are both a healthy weight and in great shape.  

I am not epileptic but aspartame causes me to have panic attacks and migraines.  I found this out in 1997 when I "discovered" diet soda.  Before this I only drank regular soda but I wasn't a big soda-head.  After I started drnking diet soda, I noticed that I was having panic attacks that would wake me up in the middle of the night or when I woke up in the morning.  Funny thing though, my mother just called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I remember telling her about that happening.  She just thought that it was something I was experiencing and didn't pay me any attention.  However, this year she has been drinking her morning tea with Equal and guess what?  She started having panic attacks that wake her up in the middle of night or early morning.  She told me, "Well, you told me, didn't you."

Someone here mentioned MSG.  This is a thorn in my side because it can be hidden in seasoning packets and unless you are looking for it you just don't think about it.  My husband cooks with those spaghetti and chili seasoning packets and I always know when he just bought the first thing he laid his hands on or the cheapest becuase I wake up with swelling around my eyelids and the edges of my lips.  And if I ate a lot of the foods, I have severe migraines.

So, I say all this to tell you to pay attention to your body and how you react to certain foods and additives.  Just because a doctor doesn't tell you to stay away from a food doesn't mean that it will not adversely affect you.  We are all individuals and medicine is not an exact science.  Pay attention to you and how you react.

ChiTownMom Just A Mom Doing Her Best For Her Child



oh yeah, i'll take none.  if i do then please seize with me.  you are not alone.  rikk

I have been having mostly

I have been having mostly Hemiplegic Migraines and an occasional starring episode for the last 2 years. After 5 days of EEGs was diagnosed with mini seizures. Started medications and are down to 2-3 episodes a day. Last  1 1/2 years have been trying to lose weight as well as increasing artificial sweeteners. Also lately my meds are increasing, but not seeing any improvement. Was suggested to get off all artificial sweeteners, which I will try. Do sucralose and Splenda count as contributors to epilepsy? would love some relief from these daily episodes. Thank you, 


I have had seizures while drinking Coke Zero but don't think it was the cause of my seizures. I don't eat right and I know it's my own fault and think that was more the cause of my seizures than drinking Coke Zero. Just to eliminate the chance of having a seizure caused by Aspartame, I've stopped drinking Coke Zero and read labels of things I eat just to avoid it. I'm just doing anything I can to avoid having any seizures. I posted above that I've never had any problems with Coke Zero, but just to avoid the possibility, I've started drinking regular Coke if I do drink soda and I'm trying to drink plain water rather than anything else.

A briefly overview about

A briefly overview about Aspartame keto friendly:The keto diet or ketogenic has increased a great deal of traction in recent years as a keto weight loss apparatus. It includes eating not many carbs, moderate measures of protein, and high measures of fat.By evacuating the body of carbs, he keto diet incites ketosis in the body and metabolic state in which your body start to consumes fat for fuel rather than carbs.If you staying in ketosis it can be challenging for you,and a portion of the individuals go to utilize fake sugars like aspartame which help to keep their carb admission at a low level. in any case, you may wonder to know whether the employments of aspartame influences ketosis or not.If you want more review then follow Aspartame Keto Friendly


Yes!!! People are very skeptical when I tell them this, but I cannot have aspartme, or I can just plan to have a bunch of CPs for the rest of the day. (I should have drank diet soda during my VEEG, duh!)

I can't even have a piece of sugar free gum.

 My mother swears that it causes cancer in rats, so it's just as well. ;-)


Yesterday, after many days with very low meds and no crises, I had a glass of diet coke - as result I had a patial crises.

I wondered what I have done differently and, bingo, I remembered the coke (I dont have soft drinks as I feel weird after it and my diet during the day was just normal).

I this led me to these forums and researches about aspartame and epilepsy. I tend to believe it is true. Ijn any case, I will avoid it.


Dianne in CO- I wrote recently about how good I have been feeling since eliminating Diet soda from my body. The amazing thing is I asked my Dr. and she totally supported this!!! Now, the change in my body and mind is ASTOUNDING!!!! I am not scared to use my head to remember things. I feel like using it for the first time to create things like stories for my children, new dinners, ideas for having fun!!! I also am bringing up memories and am not scared to do it! My kids are enjoying me sooo much!!! It feels GREAT to feel SO GREAT!!!!!! I thank my God for allowing me to see what I was doing to my body that He wonderfully created.  God didn't cause the sickness. I did!!!! :o)


Trident, contains aspartame in addition to Xylitol. Orbit gum contains sugar alcohol but also contains aspartame AND sucralose (Splenda). Spry is the best.

Rriefly overview about Aspartame keto friendly

The keto diet or ketogenic has increased a great deal of traction in recent years as a keto weight loss apparatus. It includes eating not many carbs, moderate measures of protein, and high measures of fat.
By evacuating the body of carbs, he keto diet incites ketosis in the body and metabolic state in which your body start to consumes fat for fuel rather than carbs.
If you staying in ketosis it can be challenging for you,and a portion of the individuals go to utilize fake sugars like aspartame which help to keep their carb admission at a low level.
in any case, you may wonder to know whether the employments of aspartame influences ketosis or not.
If you want more review then follow Aspartame Keto Friendly

"Potentially beneficial

"Potentially beneficial dietary interventions include identifying and treating blood glucose dysregulation, identifying and avoiding allergenic foods, and avoiding suspected triggering agents such as alcohol, aspartame, and monosodium glutamate."

Aspartame is a known trigger to some people with epilepsy.


Re: "Potentially beneficial


Sol- thanks for your response. I had stopped drinking diet coke about 10 yrs ago because it led to a severe HA then I accidentally ingested aspartame in chewable vitamin c and I got such a bad HA that I was paralyzed on my L side and became incontinent of stool. Now an epileptic with tonic clonic seizures it makes me leary of going out to eat because, for me it can trigger the seizures as well. I wish the FDA would take this product off the market. I wonder how many others have this problem. Thanks for the web address. God is good. God Bless you. lb


Any one with Seizures should stay away from any artificial sweetners, Splenda is at the top of the list! I strarted using Splenda thinking it was this great new safe sweetner, it tasted great also! It is any thing but safe, and it could have been the cause of my seizuring again after being seizure free for three years. Google Splenda and you will find many sites with information on the dangers of Splenda, and the likenss to all the other sweetners and the dangerous side effects they all have. With that in mind NO ONE should use these sweetners. I can't remember the site I came across, but the one I had read listed all the (incrediably scarry)serious health problems that can occur, one being the cause of seizures. So no more diet sodas! You can buy diet products that are low in fat and sugar,(the real stuff) but for the drinks...stick to water we all need more of it anyway!


For those who cannot tolerate artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, there are a couple of natural sugar substitutes on the market which are available from any health food shop...


Stevia is a natural sweetener but in my opinion has an aftertaste, but it is available in tablet form (like splenda or any number of the artificial types) powdered form (for cooking/cereals) or liquid form.

 I personally prefer Xylitol which comes in either handy sachets or powdered form. There is no aftertaste and it's perfect for diabetics/epileptics who like a sweet treat sometimes. It does not affect epilepsy or blood sugar levels.

There are a number of different brands but Sweetlife seems to be the most popular. It can also be purchased over the net and if you check out Fran Gare's site she has some 'ready to make' deserts/lollies/gum which are extremely tasty.


Might cost a wee bit more, but it is definitely worth it.


Jo x



dbmomma, Thanks for the info! I always new I wanted to stay away from aspartame because I heard it crossed the blood brain barrier but this is the first I am hearing about splenda. I will definitely google it when I am more wide awake. I am going to bed now but thank you so much. I have my water bottle beside me now. No more diet drinks. Thanks again. God bless you and good night.

Not all neuros agree with

Not all neuros agree with this...I asked mine and she said no need to AUTOMATICALLY cut it out... Aspartame and Splenda were fine in moderation. So not all the studies are in agreement aparently that these chemicals were always a problem.

If you are concerned, this is my suggestion:: stop the Aspartame and Splenda for a few weeks (read labels too as many packaged foods sneak them in) and if the headaches and auras ease off, you have learned something. If you want to be sure, start up again, and if they come back you know for sure. Playing detective we can figure a lot of these things out for ourselves. :)

This is how we work the elimination diet for food sensitivities as well. It can be a long drawn out process to be sure but it does work.

"If you can laugh at it you can survive it'---Bill Cosby

Change is inevitable. Stress need not be...

Be well!



You should take a look at the GARD diet, I learned about it from another post on this forum in the alternative therapies section. The link is People with epilepsy can be very sensitive to certain foods, as the previous comments were saying.


My daughter, who is 5, starting having seizures in Nov. Her seizures were hard to control with medicine and became more and more frequent. In Feb and March she had to hospitilized 3 times for status. The last time she was admitted, I had read about the possible link with aspartate, and immediatly stopped allowing her to have it. My husband is diabetic so she did ingest it probably more often than the average child, in sugar free pudding, jello, taking drinks out of our sodas, ect.. The only other thing that changed was the doctors increased her Keppra by 100mg twice daily. She has not had a single seizure since then. At first I just thought it was a coincidence and that the aspartame had nothing to do with it. But I work in a pharmacy and after doing lots of research as to how certain seizure and other neuro drugs work, I believe without a doubt that asptartame can and does cause seizures and many many other neurological conditions.

As for me and mine, we will no longer use anything with aspartame in it!! I recently drank a diet soda because nothing else was available and I had a headache within an hour.


Hi Sydlee06,

 I don't know if you ever check this website anymore but I came across your story of your daughter and am looking for answers myself for my 2 year old son who has had 5 seizures since he was 16 months old. All tests have come back normal and the neuro cannot give us any answers as to why they are happening. Upon all my research the subject of aspartame is high on my list and am trying to find other parents who have taken their children off aspartame and resulted in no more seizures. If you happen to still be on this discussion board I would like to know if your daughter is still seizure free and if you have happen to found any other cases that are the same as yours and successful. Thanks!

 Worried momma, Jennifer


I drink Coke Zero and it contains Aspartame. I asked my Neuro about it and, told him it contains Aspartame and he didn't have any objections. It doesn't seem to be a trigger for me, and I do drink quite a bit of it.


My life has changed so much since I quit drinking diet soda. I went to the Galapagos Islands for a month in July. There are no diet drinks there, so I didn't have a choice. When I got home the first thing I did was buy a soda, and it tasted awful. Now I don't touch it. My seizures immediately lessened. Instead of 2 or 3 a week I now have maybe 1 or 2 a month. I regret not having done this soomer.


Kelly; I'm so glad that your seizures are less frequent. My daughter has the same reaction to the poison Aspartame. We also have eliminated all the MSG's from her diet and she goes for long periods without seizures. These MSG's are close chemical cousins to the poison Aspartame and we've had success by getting them out of her diet. I'm not sure if you're aware of them, but if you want our list of the food chemicals that food companies dump in food in ever increasing amounts, here's my email best of luck -Jeff


I hope your Neuro is right. I know it is a definite trigger for me. What concerns me is that it can take up to fifteen years to build up in your system to the point where it does damage. If you are interested in reading about it there are a lot of good sources on google scholar under aspartame. Hope you are getting some relief from your seizures.


Well that's weird. The first time I ever had one of my little erm...dramatic paralytic episodes, which I now think was the after effect of a long a$$ SP seizure that my body and brain just hadn't learned how to cope with yet, I had just drank like 4 cups of coffee with nutra sweet in it, and I never drink that stuff except that the office was out of normal sugar.

Of also could have been the fact that I stayed up almost the whole night before which was what drove me to drink the 4 cups of nutra sweetened coffee in the first place that triggered it. I find the sleep deprivation the more likely culprit.



So as it turns out it had nothing to do with the aspertame, and everything to do with the fact that I was totally sleep deprived, stressed, nervous, and had just drank 4 cups of coffee loaded with caffine, had been sitting in a chair for two hours straight, and was suffering from autonomic dyfuction.. These factors pushed my heart rate up and caused me to hyperventilate, which I'm pretty sure is what bring on the paralysis episodes. 


I drink so much diet pop it should be coming out of my ears! As I read this I'm drinking a diet pepsi. I had no idea that aspartame would effect my epilepsy at all. I have been seizure free for 4 years, I don't think aspartame will effect me any time soon. I wouldn't be too worried about it.


Oh, my yes. I first discovered aspartame triggered seizures back in the 80s. My case is well documented with my neurologist, but he has no explanation for me. I avoid the stuff like the plague. A half-liter of diet anything and I'm in the ICU. I've been seizure free for more than 15 years, partly due to the fact that I avoid this food additive.  The consequences are so severe, that I rarely drink soda, and avoid "diet foods" as well.  If the label says "sugar free" or "diet" it doesn't go into the grocery cart.


Well, I have not had a seizure since 1981 and guess what? I had one in late July 2008. I do not drink any diet drinks, at all, but, who really knows how much aspartame is in our food supply these days. Our government is doing their best to reduce the human pop by 80%. Check it will be shocked and amazed. God Bless!

Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

24/7 helpline