Artificial sweeteners fall into two categories. The bulk sweeteners, such as mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol and hydrogenated glucose syrup, have approximately the same calorific value as sugar and replace it in many processed foods, but they are not so readily absorbed. The sugar alcohols, hydrogenated glucose syrup and xylitol, actually help to prevent tooth decay.
However, any of these bulk sweeteners can cause diarrhoea if consumed in quantity. Intense sweeteners, such as aspartame, acesulfame K and saccharin, provide virtually no calories and are mainly used in diet products.
It is these intense sweeteners that have produced worrying adverse reactions and are cause for concern.
Aspartame sugar substitutes cause worrying symptoms from memory loss to brain tumours. But despite US FDA approval as a ‘safe’ additive, aspartame is one of the most dangerous substances ever to be foisted upon an unsuspecting public.
Aspartame is an intense sweetener, approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. It has been used throughout the world in soft drinks and other low-cal or sugar free foods since 1974. It was first approved for use in the UK in 1982. It is known by the name NutraSweet, aspartame or E951.
Despite being widely used 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives that were reported to the US Food and Drugs Administration have been concerning aspartame. These reactions have included: headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, muscle spasm, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, vision problems, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, vertigo, tinitus, memory loss and joint pain.
It is also believed that certain chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting aspartame. For example brain tumours, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, birth defects, diabetes and ME.
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: Aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol:
Aspartic acid - 40% of aspartame.
Too much of this amino acid can raise the blood plasma levels of aspartate, which in turn can then enter the brain and slowly destroy neurons. Up to 75% of these neurons can be damaged before any clinical symptoms are noticed. In certain individuals the risk is greater due to areas of the brain not being fully protected by natural barriers (for example during childhood or minor brain damage by other acute conditions).
Phenylalanine – 50% of aspartame
This is an amino acid normally found in the brain. People with a certain genetic disorder (PKU) cannot breakdown this amino acid and high levels in the brain are lethal. It has been shown that ingesting aspartame can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the brain even in people who do not have PKU. This can be especially dangerous for infants and foetuses.
Methanol (wood alcohol) – 10% of aspartame
This is a deadly poison that has caused the deaths of many alcoholics. The methanol is gradually released in the small intestine when the aspartame encounters the enzyme chymotrypsin. This absorption is increased when the aspartame is heated above 30°C, and the body breaks down the methanol into formic acid and formaldehyde. US troops during Desert Storm were treated to vast quantities of aspartame-sweetened drinks that were then heated in the Saudi sunshine. These same troops are now suffering from illnesses similar to formaldehyde poisoning.
DKP is a by-product of aspartame breakdown. It is formed in liquid aspartame-containing products during prolonged storage. DKP, when nitrosated in the gut, produces a compound which is similar to N-nitrosourea, a powerful brain tumour causing chemical.
Birth Defects - Dr Diana Dow Edwards was funded by Monsanto (owners of NutraSweet) to study possible birth defects caused by the ingestion of aspartame. After preliminary data showed damaging information, funding for the study was cut off.
Brain Cancer – in a two-year study, 12 out of 320 rats fed on aspartame, along with their normal diet, developed brain tumours, whilst none of the control group developed them. Dr Adrian Gross, an FDA toxicologist, testified to US Congress that aspartame was the cause of brain tumours, but the FDA dismissed his research as flawed. Since aspartame was passed as safe for consumption, the incidence of brain tumours in the over 65-age group, has increased by 67% (1973 – 1990).
Diabetes – According to research by HJ Roberts, a diabetes specialist and a member of the American Diabetes Association, aspartame:
· leads to the precipitation of clinical diabetes
· causes poorer diabetic control in diabetics on insulin or oral drugs
· leads to the aggravation of other complications such as retinopathy, cataracts, neuropathy and gastroparesis
· causes convulsions (insulin reactions)
It was noted that there was ‘dramatic improvement of such features after avoiding aspartame and the prompt recurrence when the patient resumed aspartame products’.
Emotional Disorders – a recent study by Dr RG Walton showed a large increase in serious symptoms shown by people taking aspartame.
Epilepsy – American aviation publications have issued warnings against the consumption of NutraSweet following pilots reporting grand mal seizures. This was confirmed by a 1969 study by Dr H Waisman after 5 out of 7 infant primates suffered grand mal seizures during aspartame safety trails.
The Food Standards Agency in Britain has said that; ‘an adult would have to consume 14 cans of a sugar free drink every day before reaching the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) and assuming that the sweetener was used at the maximum permitted level, before there would be an appreciable health risk’.
The UK Food Standards Agency has undertaken surveys of sweetener ingestion by diabetics (large scale customers of sugar free products) and considers them to be under the limit for safe consumption.