Scary Sweetener Haunted by Ugly Past
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” claimed Shakespeare. Conversely, a sweet name for a potential toxin, does not make it sweet.
Aspartame, has had a makeover. Thanks to slick marketers, the artificial sweetener now goes by the ever-so-sweet-sounding name of “AminoSweet.” Surely a substance with such a lovely name is safe for use? Before I answer that, let’s consider aspartame, er, I mean AminoSweet’s history.
First developed in 1974, by 1980, an FDA Board of Inquiry voted unanimously AGAINST approving aspartame for human consumption, but the vote was overruled by the FDA commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. by 1983. Only one year after the approval, an FDA task force learned that some of the original data showcasing aspartame’s safety had been falsified to hide results showing animals fed aspartame had developed seizures and brain tumors; however, the FDA maintained its approval of this product.
In 1983, the same year aspartame was approved for use in carbonated beverages, a neuroscientist published reports in The New England Journal of Medicine that aspartame may increase body weight by stimulating a craving for calorie-laden carbohydrates.
By 1991, the National Institutes of Health catalogued 167 adverse effects linked to aspartame use. In 1992, the U.S. Air Force issued a warning to pilots not to fly after ingesting aspartame. And by 1994, the US Department of Health and Human Services had linked the artificial sweetener aspartame to the risk of 88 symptoms of toxicity.
learn about the symptoms and conditions linked to aspartame…page 2
Research confirms that aspartame is an excitotoxin. An excitotoxin is a substance that literally excites brain or nervous system cells until they die.
According to Lynne Melcombe, author of Health Hazards of White Sugar, research links aspartame to the following health conditions: anxiety attacks; appetite problems such as binge-eating and sugar cravings; birth defects; blindness and vision problems such as blurred vision, bright flashes, and tunnel vision; brain tumors; chest pain; depression and emotional problems; dizziness and vertigo; edema; epilepsy and seizures; fatigue; headaches and migraines; hearing loss and tinnitus; heart palpitations and arrhythmia; hyperactivity; insomnia; joint pain; learning disabilities; memory loss; menstrual irregularities and PMS (premenstrual syndrome); muscle cramps; nausea; numbness of extremities; psychiatric disorders; reproductive problems; skin lesions; slurred speech; and uterine tumors. Research even links aspartame to death. Aspartame’s effects can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, Epstein-Barr virus, Huntington’s chorea, hypothyroidism, Lou Gehrig’s disease; Lyme disease, Ménière’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and postpolio syndrome.
According to Randall Fitzgerald, author of The Hundred-Year Lie, some of the cancers linked to aspartame include: brain, liver, lung, kidney, and lymphoreticular cancer.
Aspartame is found in many diet products, including soft drinks, as well as a wide variety of prepared foods. Shockingly, it is also found in some multivitamins, supplements, and pharmaceutical drugs.
And, here’s a shocker. According to the authors of the book Hard to Swallow: When a diet drink containing aspartame is stored at 85 degrees Fahrenheit for a week or longer, “There is no aspartame left in the soft drinks, just the components it breaks down into, like formaldehyde, formic acid, and diketopiperazine, a chemical which can cause brain tumours. All of these substances are known to be toxic to humans.”
Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM