WHAT IS ASPARTAME?

Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by a researcher, Mr. James Schlatter, at G.D. Searle & Company. Aspartame is more known by people in its brand names NutraSweet, AminoSweet Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure.

Aspartame is composed of three chemicals namely aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol: –

– The second component of aspartame is Phenylalanine is another amino acid that is normally found in the human brain. Persons suffering from phenylketonuria (PKU) don’t have the ability to metabolize phenylalanine. This results in dangerously high levels of phenylalanine present in the brain. Too much high levels of phenylalanine in the brain may cause a severe decrease in the serotonin levels of the brain. This causes emotional disorders such as depression.

– Lastly, methanol which is the third component of aspartame is considered as a deadly poison by many people. Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde the moment it is ingested in the body. Formaldehyde is also considered very dangerous and a deadly neurotoxin. Once methanol is absorbed in the body, it would be very difficult to excrete it. This would lead to severe toxicity in the body that may eventually lead to death.

Schlatter was a scientist doing research with amino acids, working to develop a treatment for ulcers. When he licked his finger to pick up a piece of paper he tasted a sweet attractive flavor. James Schlatter inadvertently had the first taste of aspartame and helped create a product that would revolutionize the category of “sweetener” for individuals and food companies.

Since that time aspartame has become one of the most highly valued and widely used sweeteners in the world, known for its clean taste and amazing sweetness (180-200 times sweeter than sucrose). Aspartame also quickly became a highly valued ingredient among people with diabetes because it literally changed their lives, allowing them to enjoy foods that are sweet and tasty without ingesting sugar.

Aspartame approved for general use in the United States, August 1, 1996.

Aspartame, a low-calorie artificial sweetener, has been permitted for use as a food additive in Canada since 1981 in a number of foods including soft drinks, desserts, breakfast cereals, and chewing gum and is also available as a table-top sweetener. It is made by the bonding together of the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are normal constituents of proteins, to form a dipeptide which is further esterified with methanol.

In Canada, food additives such as aspartame are subjected to rigorous controls under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations. Before any food additive is permitted for use, manufacturers are required to file a food additive submission in accordance with Section B.16.002 of the Regulations. A submission must contain detailed information, including the results of safety tests, as well as information respecting the utility and potential benefits to the consumer of the additive in question.

The following letter appeared in The Lancet on 3 July 1999. It is reproduced here with the permission of the publishers of this respected journal.

Sir – Patients at our diabetes clinic have raised concerns about the information on the internet about a link between the artificial sweetener aspartame and various diseases. Our research revealed over 6000 web sites that mention aspartame, with many hundreds alleging aspartame to be the cause of multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosus, Gulf War Syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, brain tumors, and diabetes mellitus, among many others. Virtually all of the information offered is anecdotal, from anonymous sources and is scientifically implausible.

Aspartame, a dipeptide composed of phenylalanine and aspartic acid linked by a methyl ester bond, is not absorbed and is completely hydrolyzed in the intestine to yield the two constituent amino acids and free methanol. Opponents of aspartame suggest that the phenylalanine and methanol so released are dangerous. In particular, they assert that methanol can be converted to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, and thus cause metabolic acidosis and neurotoxicity.

The anti aspartame campaign purports to offer an explanation for illnesses that are prominent in the public eye. By targeting a manufactured chemical agent, and combining this with pseudo-science and selective reporting, the campaign makes complex issues deceptively simple. Sensational web site names (eg, aspartamekills.com) grab the browser’s attention and this misinformation is also widely disseminated via chat groups and chain e-mail.

People consult the internet about medical issues for various reasons and many users regard online sources as being authoritative and valid. The medical profession has a role in teaching our patients to be discriminating consumers of the information offered there.

Anthony Zehetner, Mark McLean Department of Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney NSW 2145, Australia

Choosing foods and drinks with aspartame is not only beneficial for your health but also has significant advantages for the environment.

aspartame side effects

To make the sugar that we eat, the raw materials, including sugar beet, sugar cane, and corn starch, are harvested and shipped for refining. The refining process entails extracting the sugar from the crop by crushing, chopping or grinding and treatment with water. High fructose corn syrup undergoes an additional step in which the atoms within the molecules are re-arranged. The raw sugars then undergo further processing, depending on the final use that is required.

Aspartame is made using a fermentation process to produce amino acids from a feedstock of molasses (a thick syrup from sugar cane or beet), soy, and corn. The amino acids are then combined to form aspartame crystals. These crystals are purified and converted into finished aspartame.

Aspartame is almost 200 times sweeter than sugar, which means that much less is required to sweeten foods and drinks. As a result:

  • Less packaging is needed 
  • Less Water
  • Less Land 
  • Easier Storage
  • Less Fertiliser and Pesticide 
  • Less Bulk
  • Less space is required for storage 
  • The carbon footprint is reduced 
  • Natural resources are conserved 
  • Emissions from manufacture and transportation are reduced.

Betty Martini – a tireless campaigner against the use of aspartame – says that many people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis have lost all symptoms once they stopped using aspartame.

There are several known Aspartame side effects that a person may not know exists in his system. Others may even register at a later time in their lives. Most of the known side effects that may affect the eye are blindness, decreased vision or eye problems such as blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines or tunnel vision, decrease in night vision, pain in one or both eyes, decreased tears, trouble with contact lenses and bulging eyes.

Side effects of the ear include tinnitus or the ringing and buzzing sound, severe intolerance of noise, marked hearing impairment. Others complain of neurologic side effects such as epileptic seizures, headaches and migraines, dizziness and unsteadiness, confusion and memory loss, severe drowsiness and sleepiness, paresthesia or numbness of the limbs, severe slurring of speech, severe hyperactivity and restless legs, atypical facial pain and severe tremors.

Others report of psychological and psychiatric side effects such as severe depression, irritability, aggression, anxiety, personality changes, insomnia, and phobias. Other patients report having chest palpitations and tachycardia, shortness of breath, and increased high blood pressure. There are also gastrointestinal side effects that may lead to nausea, Diarrhea sometimes with bleeding stool, abdominal pain, and pain when swallowing.

There are also very critical symptoms of Aspartame intake such as irreversible brain damage, birth defects including mental retardation, peptic ulcers, Aspartame addiction and increased craving for sweets, hyperactivity in children, severe depression, aggressive behavior, and suicidal tendencies.

It is also contributory in the development of certain diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein-Barr syndrome, Post-polio syndrome, Lyme’s disease, Grave’s disease, Meniere’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, epilepsy, Multiple sclerosis, EMS, hypothyroidism, mercury sensitivity from amalgam fillings, fibromyalgia, lupus, non-Hodgkin’s disorder, lymphoma, and Attention Deficit Disorder.

Aspartame modifies the proportion of amino acids in the blood, lowering the levels of serotonin, tyrosine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. It was noted that this is the reason why symptoms leading to Aspartame intake is not distinguished in the laboratory tests and even x-ray results

There are several known Aspartame side effects that a person may not know exists n his system. Others may even register at a later time in their lives. Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener but may come with side effects to your health.

Commonly Known Side Effects of Aspartame:

  • Blindness     
  • Decreased vision
  • Blurring
  • Bright flashes 
  • Squiggly lines or tunnel vision
  • The decrease in night vision 
  • Pain in one or both eyes 
  • Decreased tears
  • The trouble with contact lenses
  • Bulging eyes

Side effects of the ear include tinnitus or the ringing and buzzing sound, severe intolerance of noise, marked hearing impairment. Others complain of neurologic side effects such as epileptic seizures, headaches and migraines, dizziness and unsteadiness, confusion and memory loss, severe drowsiness and sleepiness, paresthesia or numbness of the limbs, severe slurring of speech, severe hyperactivity and restless legs, atypical facial pain and severe tremors.

Psychological and Psychiatric Side Effects

  • severe depression
  • irritability
  • insomnia and phobias
  • aggression
  • anxiety
  • personality changes

It is also contributory in the development of certain diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein-Barr syndrome, Post-polio syndrome, Lyme’s disease, Grave’s disease, Meniere’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, epilepsy, Multiple sclerosis, EMS, hypothyroidism, mercury sensitivity from amalgam fillings, fibromyalgia, lupus, non-Hodgkin’s disorder, lymphoma, and Attention Deficit Disorder.

Aspartame modifies the proportion of amino acids in the blood, lowering the levels of serotonin, tyrosine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. It was noted that this is the reason why symptoms leading to Aspartame intake is not distinguished in the laboratory tests and even x-ray results.

Aspartame can be found in such products as soft drinks, chewing gum, flavored drinks, candies, syrups, and ice cream. You will find that Aspartame is found in some of the most popular foods sold.

An FDA approved sweetener you are assured of safety when using this to substitute sugar. Aspartame is better used to prevent obesity as it can help to manage a dietary regimen because it can significantly increase one’s body metabolism. An advantage to Aspartame is that it only requires a small amount to sweeten food and drinks. It is consumed by over 200 million people around the world. With the consistent use of Aspartame, benefits can be seen in a matter of time.

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