If someone came up to you on a hot summer’s day and offered you a cold refreshing glass of formaldehyde, would you drink it? Hopefully not! Well, unknowingly, you could be doing just that.
Everyone is talking about how bad sugar is for our health. It’s talked about in books, magazines and on television. This is not without good reason. Sugar has become a big part of the Standard American Diet (abbreviated SAD – what a fitting acronym). So in a renewed effort to preserve our health, we grab that diet soda or sugar free snack, forgoing that white poison. A smart health choice, right?
Chances are that low calorie product contains aspartame. You may know it better as NutraSweet or Equal. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is comprised of: 50% phenylalanine and 40% aspartic acid (both amino acids), bonded together by 10% methanol. Yes, I said methanol. You may know it as wood alcohol, the chemical that causes blindness when ingested. (Methanol is sometimes used in moonshine to improve it’s “kick”. Hence the term, “blind drunk”.)
Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are are harmless when consumed in their natural form as constituents of protein. However, these amino acids have been isolated, altered and concentrated into a powerful neurotoxin. In this denatured form, these amino acids are not processed in the same way as when obtained naturally through complete proteins. Instead, they overstimulate brain cells, literally “exciting them to death”. This is why aspartame is classified as an excitotoxin. Leave it to modern ingenuity and corporate greed to take two natural substances, combine it with a known poison and call it safe.
Further contributing to it’s toxicity is the methanol component of aspartame. When ingested, methanol is converted by the body into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the maximum safe intake of methanol is no more than 7.8 milligrams per day. Yet, one 12 ounce can of diet soda contains 20 milligrams of methanol from aspartame. So that one “harmless” can of diet soda exposes you to more than double the amount of methanol that is considered safe. (FDA.gov, August 2002) Methanol has a very slow rate of excretion and is regarded as a cumulative toxin.
One of the things that they don’t tell you about aspartame is that in liquid form, it’s not all that stable. During storage and when heated, aspartame spontaneously breaks down into formaldehyde and DKP. DKP is a tumor causing compound produced from decomposing phenylalanine. How many times have you left your diet soda in a hot car? Or had one that has been “around for a while”?
Contrary to what you have been led to believe, aspartame is not a diet product. According to a study by the American Diabetes Association, diet soda drinkers were shown to have waist line increases 70% greater than non-diet soda drinkers. If two or more diet sodas were consumed daily, that number jumped to 500%! (Huffington Post, 2011). Ignoring all the other bad side effects, isn’t this one study reason enough to stop using aspartame?
In 1992 the FDA was supposed to have released a list of 92 side effects attributed to aspartame. I was unable to find this document on the FDA website. After contacting the FDA, I was advised that I would need to file a Freedom of Information request to obtain this information. In lieu of the official document, I have compiled a list of reported side effects gleaned from various websites. When I receive the official document from the FDA I will post it, so stay tuned!
Aspartame Side Effects
Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
Shortness of breath
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Decreased vision (blurring, tunnel vision, “bright flashes”)
Decreased tear production
Decreased night vision
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Pain on swallowing
Blood in stool
Endocrine / Metabolic
Diabetes and increased diabetic complications
Weight gain / loss
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Headaches / migraines
Loss of balance
Severe drowsiness / sleepiness
Paresthesia (“pins & needles”, “tingling” and / or numbness of the limbs
Atypical facial pain
Irreversible brain damage
Psychological / Psychiatric
Aggravation of phobias
Skin / Allergies
Itching (with or without a rash)
Lip and mouth reactions
Aggravation of respiratory allergies
Burning on urination
Given all these documented side effects, it’s very easy to see how one could be misdiagnosed with any number of different illnesses. If you’ve been to the doctor with any of these complaints, did they ever ask about aspartame consumption? Probably not, as most doctors are ill-informed about this insidious food additive.
But the plot thickens. Chronic aspartame poisoning may mimic, trigger, worsen or even cause the following illnesses:
ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
Arthritis (including Rheumatoid)
Brain tumors / lesions
Breast and Prostate Cancer
Everyday our bodies are bombarded with toxins. One has to wonder how this is contributing to the rapid rise of these diseases. So why would we add insult to injury by chronically consuming a known poison? If you have any of the reported symptoms and or suffer from any of the diseases mentioned above, you should definitely stop using aspartame. Likewise, pregnant women and children should not use aspartame as it’s affects on the developing brain are not yet fully understood. I would be surprised if the rising rate of autism was not, at least in part, due to the consumption of aspartame.
There have been more complaints filed with the FDA about aspartame than all other food additives combined. (Alexander Law Group, 2010) It has already been removed from the market once due to safety concerns. Scads of physicians and researchers have documented the negative health effects of aspartame. So why is this dangerous toxin still being added to our food? I can only think of one reason, money. Unfortunately, greed potentiates bad science. Why does the FDA, the agency who’s charter is to protect us from such things, seem to blatantly ignore the facts? If aspartame was an herb or some other nutritional supplement, it would have been outlawed long ago.
If you use aspartame, whether you realize it or not, it is affecting your health. My advice, stop being a human guinea pig and avoid aspartame like the plague. Don’t wait until your health or the health of your children is irreversibly compromised. If only half of what is said about aspartame is true, is it really worth the risk?
Please feel free to share your personal aspartame experiences in the comments section.
Best in Health,
CBS 60 Minutes piece on aspartame and cancer
Letter to FDA on aspartame and seizures
Letter to FDA on aspartame toxicity
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine article on artificial sweeteners and weight gain
Pub Med abstract on aspartame and liver damage
CBS News story “Study Links Aspartame to Cancer”
Medical News Today article “Aspartame Causes Cancer in Rats at Levels Currently Approved for Humans”
Donald Rumsfeld and Aspartame