Artificial sweeteners are frequently recommended as a practical way of replacing sugar found in the modern diet. But the research on nonnutritive sweeteners such as these three shows they’re far from healthful alternatives to sugar. (A recent article on HealthyFellow.com lists a few of them as a hand referenceii .First of all, contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can:
- Stimulate your appetite
- Increase carbohydrate cravings
- Stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In fact, diet sodas, which are well-known sources of artificial sweeteners, may actually double your risk of obesity!
So much for being a dieter’s best friend… Furthermore, aspartame (rebrandedAminoSweet two years ago)—best known under the names of Nutrasweet and Equal—is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined.
The artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium (Acesulfame-K) has been linked to kidney problems, and sucralose—best known as Splenda—has been found to wreak havoc with the healthful bacteria in your gut… All in all, I believe ALL artificial sweeteners are bad news for your health.
Why Aspartame is FAR Worse than Sugar
While many of the artificial sweeteners have reportedly similar side effects, aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death. About 90 different adverse effects have been linked to aspartame, including:
Headaches/migrainesMuscle spasmsTachycardia/heart palpitationsAnxiety attacksDizziness/vertigoWeight gainInsomniaSlurred speechSeizuresRashesVision problemsLoss of tasteNauseaIrritability and depressionTinnitus and hearing lossMemory lossNumbnessFatigueBreathing difficultiesJoint pain
Recent research also suggests diet sodas may increase stroke risk, and according to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:
Brain tumorsMultiple sclerosisEpilepsyChronic fatigue syndromeParkinson’s diseaseAlzheimer’s diseaseMental retardationLymphomaFibromyalgiaDiabetes
Aspartame—”A Chemical Poison”?
The book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" by James and Phyllis Balch lists aspartame under the category of “chemical poison.” While many still refuse to believe that toxic or otherwise health-harming ingredients would be allowed to be used in food manufacturing, the evidence against aspartame and other artificial sweeteners is, in my opinion, overwhelming…
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals:
- Phenylalanine (50 percent)—Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in your brain. Persons with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine and must avoid it at all costs to prevent the accumulation of phenylalanine in their brain, which can be lethal. It has been shown that 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 your brain can decrease your serotonin levels, which in turn can provoke emotional disorders such as depression.
- Aspartic acid (40 percent)—According to the work of Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, there are about 500 scientific references showing that excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid (about 99 percent of monosodium glutamate (MSG) is glutamic acid) in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.
Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in your brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Excess aspartate or glutamate in your brain can kill off neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into your cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They literally “excite” or stimulate your neural cells to death. It is important not to confuse this with the amino acid glutamic acid, which is a normal part of foods and an important nutrient.
- Methanol (10 percent)—Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a deadly poison. It is gradually released in your small intestine once the methyl group of aspartame encounters the digestive enzyme chymotrypsin. Inside your body, methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde, the latter of which is another lethal neurotoxin and a known carcinogen, which passes freely through your blood brain barrier to cause brain damage.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 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 limiting consumption of methanol to 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 can consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily, or 32 times the EPA limit. Signs and symptoms of methanol poisoning include:
HeadachesTinnitusDizziness / vertigoNauseaGastrointestinal disturbancesWeaknessChillsMemory lapsesNumbnessBehavioral disturbancesNeuritisVision problems: misty/blurry vision, contraction of visual fieldRetinal damageBlindnessShooting pain in extremities (arms and legs)
Do Your Own Research, and Know what Side Effects to Look for…
Those who defend aspartame argue that phenylalanine and aspartic acid are a harmless and natural part of your diet. Indeed, both of these amino acids can be found in most of the protein foods you eat. However, phenylalanine and aspartic acid can only be considered natural and harmless when they are consumed in combination with other amino acids in the correct ratios—NOT when consumed as isolated amino acids… When they’re consumed as free amino acids not part of food, they enter your central nervous system in abnormally high concentrations that can cause your neurons to fire excessively, and potentially lead to cell death as explained above.
Unfortunately, adverse effects are severely under-reported, which makes it far more difficult to get dangerous ingredients like aspartame off the market. When it comes to side effects from drugs and vaccines, a mere 1 to 4 percent of all adverse events are ever reported, which leads me to believe that adverse reactions from other FDA-regulated products, such as aspartame, is likely even lower…
It’s important to realize that in order to truly alert the FDA to a problem with a product they’ve approved, they must be notified by as many people who experience a problem as possible. I strongly recommend learning everything you can about the potential side effects of artificial sweeteners and keep a watchful eye out for adverse signs and symptoms (if you consume them). And if you experience side effects from aspartame or any other artificial sweetener, report it to the FDA.
The FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator page lists the phone number for each state where you can report adverse reactions to any FDA-regulated product.
The following video will familiarize you with some of the side-effects you could encounter if you consume products containing this artificial sweetener. For more in-depth information about the chemical makeup of aspartame and its adverse health effects, please see this previous special report on aspartame. I also highly recommend Cori Brackett’s documentary film Sweet Misery.
Read the whole article and watch video: