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Aspartame - a Bitter Sweet Substitute

Aspartame - a Bitter Sweet Substitute

Monday, December 9th 2002

Aspartame is a chemical substance used as an artificial sweetener. Originally developed as a drug by G.D. Searle, a subsidiary of Monsanto (a large chemical and GE production company).

Widely used in the food industry, approved by the FDA in 1981 as "safe for consumption", after a roller-coaster ride of previous opposition and rejection. The FDA based its' decision almost entirely on studies conducted by G.D Searle & Co., the manufacturers of aspartame!

This highly toxic chemical breaks down in the body to 50% Phenylalanine, which can be neurotoxic and in some susceptible people will cause seizures (those with a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria), 40% Aspartic acid, an ant sting poison which can cause brain damage in the developing brain and 10% methanol a wood alcohol which turns into formaldehyde (an embalming fluid).

Many studies have been conducted on the "safety" of aspartame. As yet not one has shown it to be without side-effects. Even the original clinical studies by G.D Searle resulted in the development of brain, pancreatic, uterine and breast tumours in the test animals. Yet the substance was still approved for human consumption.

During the Gulf war several major soft drink companies shipped free expired diet sodas to the Desert Storm troops. The artificial sweeteners broke down in the desert heat forming highly toxic substances. The symptoms reported by sufferers of "Gulf War Syndrome" mimic many of the symptoms being reported and associated with aspartame use.

Pilot's now have a hotline which has logged over 800 calls, with pilot's reporting loss of vision, vertigo, memory loss and seizures, including grand mal seizures, whilst they are in the cockpits of commercial aircraft. Some pilot's have lost their medical certification to fly due to seizures. The majority of these symptoms have been associated to use of aspartame.

Aspartame must be broken down by the detoxification systems in the liver thus increasing the workload and toxic load of the liver - much more than natural sugars. If you increase the workload of the liver's detoxification systems, you will use up valuable energy in the liver cells that is required for fat metabolism. The body's ability to burn fat will be compromised and most people will experience weight gain rather than weight loss. Studies conducted on the use of aspartame for weight loss found that it does not satisfy hunger or suppress the appetite, and in some individuals actually increased feelings of hunger and cravings for carbohydrates.

Pregnant women or those trying to conceive should avoid artificial sweeteners. Foetal tissue cannot tolerate methanol. Dr James Bowen calls NutraSweet® 'instant birth control'. The foetal placenta can concentrate phenylalanine, which may increase the risk of mental retardation. Aspartame tests on animals produced brain and mammary tumours.

Even Sandra Cabot, in her book "Boost your Energy" states that "Artificial sweeteners are dangerous toxins in our society because of their ubiquitous presence in thousands of foods, they are found on restaurant tables and in hotel/motel rooms, even supplement's, children's vitamins and medicine,"


There are alternative sweeteners such as Stevia which is reported to not be harmful in any way. In fact, it has many health benefits, and does not affect blood sugar metabolism, so is great for diabetics. In fact, in certain parts of the world it is used as a diet supplement to help regulate blood sugar levels.

Stevia comes from the leaves of a South American plant that the native Indians have been using for hundreds of years as a sweetener. In its pure form it is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar - but it is not sugar! And has no calories.

Stevia can be purchased in a number of different ways - As a 100% extract powder, which is an ideal substitute for sugar in drinks and It comes in a liquid. Stevia can be used in drinks and cooking, as it is heat stable. There are two books also available from Health & Herbs; 'Stevia Rebaundiana Nature's sweet Secret' and Stevia Sweet Recipes', which shows you endless ways to use this great natural sugar alternative. This is the Stevia we stock Stevia 100% Extract Powder',

Source: Health and Herbs International

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all natural sweeteners and contain natural sweeteners:

Super Family C 2000
Aloe Vera Juice
Stevia Sachets
Stevia Liquid Extract
Stevia Sweet Recipes
Stevia Tablets
Vitamin C powder with Hesperidin

Related health information can be found here:

Yeast Infections

Related articles can be found here:

Gymnema Sylvestre - traditional herb to help control blood sugar

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.



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