Aspartame: NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure are all under the toxic umbrella of Aspartame. This compound was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug.
Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr. John W. Olney and Consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974 as well as investigations of G.D. Searle’s research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D.
Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries. 1
Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many are very serious including seizures and death. A few of the close to 100 different documented symptoms listing aspartame as the cause include:
- muscle spasms
- heart palpitations
- anxiety attacks
- memory loss
- joint pain
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol.
Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, published a book thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame. Blaylock uses hundreds of scientifically documented references to demonstrate how excess free excitatory amino acids such as glutamic and aspartic acid (about 99 percent of monosodium glutamate — MSG — is glutamic acid) in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and several other serious symptoms.
Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by helping along the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing too much calcium into the cells. This triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. This is why are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They stimulate or “excite” or neural cells literally to death.
The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons. Three-quarters or more of neural cells in a certain part of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. A few of the many chronic illnesses that have been shown to be contributed to by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include: multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, brain tumors, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and fibromylagia.
One common complaint of persons suffering from the effect of aspartame is memory loss.
Studies done by Dr. Harry Waisman in 1969 were deleted when aspartame was first submitted to the FDA. His studies showed that after 300 days on aspartame, one of his lab monkeys died and five others had grand mal seizures. Later research revealed that holes developed in the brains of mice fed aspartame.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Individuals with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine. This leads to perilously high levels of phenylalanine in the brain (which can be lethal). Ingesting aspartame, especially along with carbohydrates, can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the brain even in persons who do not have PKU. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of seratonin in the brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression. It was shown in human testing that phenylalanine levels of the blood were increased significantly in human subjects who chronically used aspartame.2
One particularly alarming account of the results of spiked phenylalanine levels can be found in a Wednesday Journal article titled “An Aspartame Nightmare.” John Cook drank six to eight diet drinks every day. His symptoms started out as memory loss and frequent headaches. His craving for these drinks intensified. He began to experience violent ranges and severe mood swings. Even though he did not suffer from PKU, a blood test showed a phenylalanine level of 80 mg/dl. Safe levels of phenylalanine are under 10 mg/dl.! He also showed brain damage and abnormal brain function. When he cut aspartame out of his diet, his symptoms vastly improved.
Methanol/ wood alcohol is a poison. The absorption of methanol into the body is sped up when free methanol is ingested. Free methanol is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 86 Fahrenheit (30 Centigrade). This would occur when aspartame-containing product is stored in the sun or when it is heated (such as when it is included in a food items such as Jello).
Methanol breaks down into formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. The EPA states that methanol “is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic.” The EPA recommends a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day. A one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.3
Problems from methanol poisoning include: blurring of vision, retinal damage, and blindness. Before airline pilots realized the danger of consuming aspartame, some were passing out or having seizures at the controls. When changes in air pressure occur, as in take-offs and landings, blood vessels dilate in the brain, allowing aspartame to cross the blood/brain barrier to alter regular function. Hypoxia is also probable at high altitudes as a result of the methanol in aspartame binding with oxygen molecules, literally suffocating the brain. Many pilots today will not consume any aspartame product at least forty-eight hours before a flight. In addition, many avoid aspartame two days before their annual physicals because the effects have been known to spike EKGs. 4
Formaldehyde (also used for embalming) is a known carcinogen, causes retinal damage, causes birth defects and alters DNA replication.
In 1993 the FDA approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous food items that would always be heated to above 86 degree F (30 degree C).
DKP is a byproduct of aspartame metabolism. DKP has been implicated in the occurrence of brain tumors. Olney noticed that DKP produced a compound that was similar to N-nitrosourea, a major brain tumor-causing chemical. DKP has also been implicated as triggering changes in blood cholesterol and causing uterine polyps by FDA Toxicologist Dr. Jacqueline Verrett in her testimony before the U.S. Senate.4
Nutrasweet will highjack your dieting attempts
Many people turn to diet products to aid them in their weight loss efforts. However, aspartame greatly increases cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. When something sweet touches that tongue, a message is sent to the hypothalamus that sugar is approaching. That message is forwarded to the pancreas to secrete insulin to handle the sugar. In the case of artificial sweeteners, which are significantly sweeter than sugar, no sugar arrives. The secreted insulin does its job by lowering the blood sugar — but there is no sugar to compensate for the lowering. The lowered blood sugar level drops even more to where the brain can no longer function, causing lethargy and faintness. Cravings continue to increase. Fainting spells, headaches, dizziness, and even seizures can occur.
If it’s sugar-free, let it be!
Aspartame is commonly found in (but not limited to) the following:
- Breath Mints
- Carbonated Soft Drinks
- Chewing Gum
- Flavored Syrups for Coffee
- Flavored Water Products
- Frozen Ice
- Frozen Ice Cream Novelties
- Fruit Spreads
- Gelatin, Sugar Free
- Hard Candies
- Ice cream Toppings
- Ice Creams, No Sugar Added or Sugar Free
- Iced Tea, Powder
- Iced Tea, Ready to Drink
- Instant Cocoa Mix
- Jams & Jellies
- Juice Blends
- Juice Drinks
- Maple Syrups
- Meal Replacements
- No Sugar Added Pies
- Non-Carbonated Diet Soft drinks
- Nutritional Bars
- Powdered Soft Drinks
- Protein Nutritional Drinks
- Soft Candy Chews
- Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup
- Sugar Free Cookies
- Sugar Free Ketchup
- Table Top Sweeteners
- Vegetable Drinks
- Yogurt, Drinkable
- Yogurt, Fat Free
- Yogurt, Sugar Free
Sweeteners we recommend
- Coconut Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Raw Honey
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