Aspartame – sold under the brand names NutraSweet, Sugar Twin and Equal – is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners available on the market. It is used as a low-calorie sugar substitute in more than 6,000 processed products worldwide, especially in diet or sugar-free foods and beverages.
While it remains the most used artificial sweetener, it has also faced controversy in recent years. As more and more research links aspartame to severe health effects, increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of this hidden poison and are trying to avoid it at all costs. That’s why Pepsi proactively removed it from their diet soda last year.
Complaints of various health issues have been filed since aspartame first appeared on the market in the 1980s. As reported by The Nutritional Source, aspartame is one of the most exhaustively studied chemicals in the human food supply, with more than 200 studies completed.
Dr. Betty Martini, the founder of the worldwide volunteer force Mission Possible World Health International, which is committed to removing aspartame from our food, notes that aspartame has brought more complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) than any other additive; it is responsible for 75 percent of such complaints.
Over the years, more than 90 side effects – including vision loss, seizures, brain tumors, cancer and mild rashes – have been associated with regular consumption of aspartame. Furthermore, it can mimic the symptoms of diseases such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue and depression.
When aspartame is processed by the body it breaks down into phenylalanine (50 percent), aspartic acid (40 percent) and methanol (or wood alcohol, 10 percent).
Aspartame can make you blind
We have all heard the stories about alcoholics ending up blind or dead after drinking methanol during Prohibition. Aspartame consists of 10 percent methanol which our body further breaks down into formaldehyde and formic acid. These compounds accumulate in the retina of the eye and destroy the optic nerve, causing vision loss and blindness.
Furthermore, methanol poisoning may cause central nervous system depression, and can lead to metabolic acidosis and coma.
As reported by Dr. Martini, in 1986 the Community Nutrition Institute petitioned the FDA to ban aspartame because so many people had gone blind and had seizures. Despite the apparent link, the FDA, backed up by the drug and chemical industry, refused to take aspartame out of production.
It messes with your brain
Excessive amounts of phenylalanine block the transport of essential amino acids to the brain, which contributes to reduced levels of dopamine and serotonin. While our brains need this amino acid, too much of it has been linked to emotional and behavioral disorders and brain damage.
Furthermore, too much aspartic acid, another amino acid present in aspartame, can cause over-stimulation and death of brain cells. It leaks too much calcium into the cells and triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which may damage and kill neurons.
G.D. Searle, the company behind the discovery of aspartame, was warned as early as 1971 that excess amounts of aspartic acid caused holes in the brain of mice and posed a serious threat to human health, yet nobody found it necessary to remove aspartame from the shelves.
Induces brain tumors
Before its approval, aspartame had been rejected multiple times over fears of brain tumors and cancer, the Huffington Post reported. In 1996, Dr. John Olney, who founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity, and attorney James Turner, attempted to stop the approval of aspartame.
Even the FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, told Congress that aspartame could cause brain tumors and brain cancer, and that approving it would violate the Delaney Amendment, which forbids putting anything in food known to cause cancer.
Sadly enough, Donald Rumsfeld – who was CEO of G.D. Searle and part of Reagan’s transition team – and Monsanto joined forces. In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the company that held the patent to aspartame. They managed to pull a few strings and played a substantial role in the approval of aspartame by the FDA.
Sources for this article include:
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