Aspartame and Artificial Sweeteners

Because many people have come to consider sugar as a bad guy, the ever-alert food companies long since grasped the opportunity to develop artificial sweeteners.

These chemicals enable society to supposedly satisfy its sweet tooth in a way that doesn’t result in weight gain, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

But unsurprisingly, the insertion of unnatural chemicals into the food supply brought about profound adverse health consequences, which aren’t openly reported by the mainstream media.

Unfortunately the majority of people consuming artificial sweeteners are unaware of the risk they’re taking and if you’re using them, I encourage you to stop immediately!

According to Wikipedia:

“A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners. Alternative sweeteners are highly consumed in America. According to research studies explained by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in 2003-2004, Americans two years of age and older consumed 585g per day of beverages and 375g per day of foods with caloric sweeteners. More than 66% of Americans consumed these beverages with alternative sweeteners and 82.3% of Americans consumed foods with added caloric sweeteners.”

Typical artificial sweeteners you’d see on ingredient labels are:

  • Aspartame (E951 in Europe)
  • Saccharin
  • Acesulfame-K
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Neotame.

The food industry touts these products as being safe for human consumption, but is this actually the case?

Aspartame

Aspartame (brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Candarel, Benevia) is approximately two hundred times sweeter than sugar and is engineered using amino acids from genetically modified E. coli bacteria.

On its own, knowing this is probably enough to put you off. Numerous studies and thousands of consumer complaints have linked aspartame to symptoms in the Seven Areas of Health.

An aspartame molecule is composed of three units – methanol, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, as shown below:

aspartame1

According to food science professor Woodrow Monte, one of these units, methyl ester, converts to methyl (wood) alcohol, a poison that can accumulate in the body. A single ounce can be fatal.

Prof. Monte says, “Methyl alcohol then converts to two other known toxins – formaldehyde and formic acid.”

The other two sub units in aspartame are the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine. According to Dr. H.J. Roberts, MD, author of Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, in aspartame these two amino acids are present in a dangerous structural configuration.

When these amino acids interact with methyl alcohol they become harmful. Dr. Roberts says the phenylalanine in this particular form reduces seizure threshold and triggers psychiatric and behavioral problems.

Neuroscientist John Olney, who founded the field of neuroscience known as excitotoxicity says that aspartic acid is an “excitotoxin” that stimulates nerve cells into hyperactivity until they exhaust and die.

Roberts, H.J. Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic

According to psychiatrist Ralph G. Walton, cited in Jeffrey Smith’s Genetic Roulette, Aspartame is a multi-potential toxin and carcinogen, which also lowers seizure thresholds, produces carbohydrate and sugar cravings, and in vulnerable individuals, can cause panic, depressive and cognitive symptoms.

Dr. Walton, medical director at Safe Harbor Behavioral Health, had to stop his own clinical trial on Aspartame when some of his subjects developed side effects and serious reactions.

The United States FDA compiled a list of 92 symptoms from more than 10,000 consumer complaints they received about Aspartame. These included four kinds of seizures, blindness, memory loss, fatigue, change in heart rate, difficulty breathing, joint, bone and chest pain, speech tremors, change in bodyweight, lumps, blood and lymphatic problems, developmental retardation and problems with pregnancy, anemia conjunctivitis, male sexual dysfunction and even death.

Dr. H.J. Roberts’ medical text – cited above – also identifies neurodegenerative disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and sudden cardiac death as unwanted outcomes from Aspartame consumption.

I have to admit I find it amusing to see carbohydrate cravings, weight gain, obesity and type II diabetes on this list of reported symptoms – these are the very concerns artificial sweeteners are supposed to alleviate!

In the US, the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network (ACSN) serves as a support group and clearinghouse for information. The organization produced a book called The Deadly Deception, which reports that 85% of all complaints registered with the FDA relate to aspartame’s adverse reactions.

Saccharin

Saccharin is a non-nutritive sweetener that passes through the body unchanged and is excreted in the urine. A handful of studies have suggested it may cause cancer.

It is widely used in soft drinks, as a sweetener in hot drinks, in jams, jellies, gelatin desserts, puddings and salad dressings.

According to Dennis Remington, MD in the 1987 book The Bitter Truth About Artificial Sweeteners saccharin may lead to an increase in cravings for sugar and sweet foods.

Acesulfame-K

Acesulfame-K is primarily used in packet or tablet form. If you check the labels on processed foods you’ll see it appear quite frequently.

Like saccharin, acesulfame-K has been implicated as a carcinogen in animal laboratory tests. As per all other artificial sweeteners I don’t go near it and I suggest my clients adopt the same strategy.

What Do You Do?

It’s clear that artificial sweeteners have no place in the human diet. Their presence in so many foods clearly represents a significant health risk.

When white sugar is broken down in your digestive system, it results in glucose and fructose molecules being absorbed into your body. Your body can use these molecules to make energy as long as you don’t consume too much.

In most cases, small amounts of sugar (by the half teaspoon, for example) aren’t going to cause any problems. It certainly isn’t worth switching to artificial sweeteners for the sake of avoiding this small amount of sugar!

Raw honey and the herb stevia are great ways to sweeten your drinks and recipes without the need for dangerous artificial sweeteners going near your mouth.

Nutrition Perfection?

By following the program outlined in Hompes Method Basics, my clients automatically eliminate all artificial sweeteners from their routines. In section x you too will learn how to successfully eliminate these potentially harmful foods once and for all. Further information on this specific topic is available in an excellent DVD, entitled Sweet Misery – A Poisoned World by Cori Brackett and J.T. Waldron. This product is one of the 12 DVDs offered in the Hompes Method Education Toolkit.