Aspartame: Is the sweet taste worth the harm?
By Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.
Aspartame, more commonly known as NutraSweet or Equal, is one of the most toxic substances being consumed today. The artificial sweetener, currently used in over 4,000 products worldwide, entertains a sordid past and has been one of the most tested and debated food additives in the history of the FDA.
While the manufacturer maintains that aspartame is not a danger to your health, the scientific studies don't necessarily agree. The FDA has approved the product for mass consumption, in spite of overwhelming evidence that aspartame can have neurotoxic, metabolic, allergenic, fetal and carcinogenic effects.
When you question how such a substance has not been banned, one simply needs to look at the billions of dollars generated by the sale of aspartame each year. In light of the staggering number of dollar signs involved, it's easy to see that the artificial sweetener industry has reached Big Tobacco status. With so much money at stake, the truth suffers almost as much as the health of the consumers, while the shareholders' wealth continues to grow exponentially.
The IngredientsIn 1965, James Schlatter, a chemist for G.D. Searle, was developing an anti-ulcer drug when he accidentally stumbled upon aspartame. Made up of aspartic acid (40%), phenylalanine (50%) and methanol (10%), aspartame is 200 times sweeter than natural sugar.
- Aspartic Acid
In 1971, Dr. John Olney, neuroscientist and one of the world's foremost experts on excitotoxins, informed G.D. Searle that his research had revealed that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice. Searle did not inform the FDA of these findings until after aspartame's approval in 1981. This would prove to be one event in a startling pattern of lies and deception.
Studies conducted on rats by G.D. Searle found phenylalanine to be safe for humans. However, Louis J. Elsas, II, M.D., Director of Medical Genetics and Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine told the U.S. Senate in 1987 that, "Normal humans do not metabolize phenylalanine as efficiently as do lower species such as rodents and thus most of the previous studies on aspartame effects on rodents are irrelevant." Unfortunately, this fell on deaf ears and failed to garner additional testing.
The EPA recommends a consumption limit of 7.8 mg/day. A 1 Liter aspartame sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol, seven times the EPA limit.
The most common maladies related to methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage and blindness.
Interesting Aspartame Statistics
- In 1984, 6,900,000 lbs of aspartame were consumed in the U.S.
- In 1985, G.D. Searle (NutraSweet) was bought out by Monsanto, 14,400,000 lbs. of aspartame were consumed in the U.S. that same year.
15,700,000 lbs of aspartame were consumed in the U.S. in 1986.
- 17,100,000 lbs were consumed in 1987.
- NutraSweet stopped providing consumption data to the USDA after 1987!!! (Can you imagine what it is today!)
- In 1996, the FDA removed all restrictions on aspartame and authorized its use in all products, including heated and baked goods. This was done in spite of the fact that aspartame breaks down into formaldehyde above 86 degrees F.
- Today, aspartame accounts for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. How sweet it is?A few of the 90 different documented symptoms include: headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss and joint pain. Which one are you ready for?
Have you or anybody you know experienced any adverse reactions to Aspartame? Please share your comments on this dangerous substance below.
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