Aspartame: Sweet and Deadly
Aspartame is the ingredient used in most synthetic sweeteners. The chemical was first synthesized by G.D. Searle in 1965, but when G.D. Searle was bought-out by Monsanto Company (in 1984), Aspartame became a subsidiary of Monsanto (known as NutraSweet). Aspartame is currently used in millions of products including:
- instant breakfasts and cereals
- sugar-free chewing gum and breath mints
- cocoa mixes, shake mixes and topping mixes
- gelatins, yogurts, candies and frozen desserts
- juice, teas, coffees, wine coolers and soft drinks
- pharmaceuticals, supplements, OTC drugs, Laxatives and Multivitamins
- and of course: artificial sweeteners
Though most people are aware of the benefits of a zero-calorie sweetener, many are not aware of the mounting research suggesting the dangers of Aspartame use. In fact, 85 percent of all complaints registered with the FDA are for adverse reactions to aspartame (including 5 assumed deaths).
Monsanto Company funded a research project to investigate the potential of Aspartame to cause birth defects. This study was quickly halted when evidence suggested Aspartame could cause brain damage including minor changes in the brain, dizziness and even retardation.
The Delaney Amendment was created to prevent cancer-causing substances from entering the market, however, the approval of Aspartame by the FDA is considered a direct violation of this amendment, since research specifically showed that even low levels of Aspartame could cause brain tumors. An FDA toxicologist even testified before the U.S. Congress that Aspartame was capable of producing brain tumors.
The effects of Aspartame on mood disorders were so seriously increased, that the Institutional Review Board had to halt the study for the safety of it’s participants. Three of the participants felt they had been “poisoned” by the sweetener.
In a study conducted on 80 people who had suffered seizures from consumption of Aspartame, the Community Nutrition Institute said, “These 80 cases meet the FDA’s own definition of an imminent hazard to the public health, which requires the FDA to expeditiously remove a product from the market.”
Though Aspartame sweeteners are often directly marketed toward diabetics, research has shown that Aspartame can cause precipitation of clinical diabetes in patients who are already genetically prone, poorer diabetic control for insulin or oral drug users, aggravation of retinopathy, cataracts, neuropathy and gastroparesis, and can even cause convulsions.
A List of Known Side-Effects
Blindness in one or both eyes, decreased vision and blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, or tunnel vision, pain in one or both eyes, decreased tears, trouble with contact lenses, bulging eyes, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing sound), severe intolerance of noise, hearing impairment, epileptic seizures, headaches, migraines, severe dizziness, confusion, memory loss, severe drowsiness and sleepiness, paresthesia or numbness of the limbs, severe slurring of speech, severe hyperactivity and restless legs, atypical facial pain, severe tremors, severe depression, irritability, aggression, anxiety, personality changes, insomnia, phobias, palpitations (tachycardia), shortness of breath, high blood pressure, nausea, diarrhea (sometimes with blood in stools), abdominal pain, pain when swallowing, itching without a rash, lip and mouth reactions, hives, aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma, loss of control of diabetes, menstrual changes, thinning or loss of hair, weight loss, gradual weight gain, aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), severe PMS, frequency of voiding and burning during urination, excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling, bloating, increased susceptibility to infection, death, irreversible brain damage, birth defects, mental retardation, peptic ulcers, aspartame addiction and increased craving for sweets, hyperactivity in children, and suicidal tendencies.
Aspartame may also cause, trigger or mimic, the following:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein-Barr, Post-Polio Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Grave’s Disease, Meniere’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, ALS, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), EMS, Hypothyroidism, Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Lymphoma and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Safe Alternatives to Aspartame
In comparison, the natural sweetener Stevia has been shown to promote insulin production, reduce hypertension, and even have positive effects on osteoporosis. Though Stevia is all natural (derived from the Stevia plant), it was banned by the FDA in 1991, because of a “anonymous industry complaint,” which many believe derived from Aspartame producers such as Monsanto.
This ban was also directly against FDA’s own policies, which state that natural substances used prior to 1958 (with no reported adverse effects), should be generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Though Stevia has been used for centuries in countries such as Japan, no one has ever presented any known side-effects or reactions from Stevia use (therefore it should be considered safe). Though Stevia is now legal in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, it does not share the status as a safe food additive that Aspartame currently controls.