Aspartame Will Kill You
Okay. So maybe not directly. But indirectly, consuming aspartame will contribute to the decline of in one way or another. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but, in the case of artificial sweeteners, I feel that the FDA is not working for our benefit but rather for the dollar.
In this, my latest investigation into aspartame (I’ve written a few pieces on the subject), I went online to research actual medical journals from the last 5 years. I was surprised to find that half of the articles claimed that aspartame had no carcinogenic effect and the other half claimed the opposite. Nearly every study ended with a statement like “further research is needed.” In order to truly educate myself and others, I decided to read from both sides of the argument. I read from the official aspartame website (http://www.aspartame.org) yet found less-biased rebuttal by Dr. Mercola (http://aspartame.mercola.com). And because you can do that, too, I’m not going to bore you with a research paper. But, here are some of the highlights and some new insights I gained from my findings:
- Authors who say that aspartame is safe and that it aids in weight loss are almost always trying to sell you something. Authors who say it’s harmful, addictive, and causes weight gain are almost always not trying to sell you something. It’s all about the [often not so] hidden agenda. 34,000,000 (that’s 34 MILLION) pounds of aspartame are produced per year for use in over 6,000 products and over 500 pharmaceuticals (Soffritti, et al.). Tell me there’s not some financial motivation to keep those numbers growing.
- Since its introduction in the 1970s, it’s been evaluated and re-evaluated and study upon study has been conducted to prove/disprove its safety – Why? Because, while no one has been able to fully prove it’s unsafe, no one has proved its safety, either. Animal studies aren’t sufficient, because animals aren’t humans. And because human studies have so many variables, results have not been conclusive either way. But, is drinking a diet soda a risk worth taking? Do you want to drink/eat something that has a 50/50 chance of causing migraines? Vision impairment? Weight gain? Or cancer?
- Aspartame provides NO nutritive benefit. As a side note, no “manufactured” food provides any benefit for our bodies. Food shouldn’t be “manufactured.” Actual food is grown, raised, has no nutrition label. It’s cultivated, pruned, and sewn. Our bodies require only a few things to function, and aspartame certainly isn’t one of them.
- If you’re dealing with health problems and drinking diet soda, chewing gum, or consuming a lot of “Sugar Free” products, what’s the harm in just avoiding these foods altogether and seeing if some of your symptoms improve? Rather than switching to regular soda to avoid the aspartame, what’s the harm in just avoiding soda altogether? There’s absolutely NO harm in eating real, whole food – but there is a chance of harm by eating manmade food.
- A couple of resources (the documentary Hungry for Change, http://www.mercola.com/article/aspartame/deadly_deception.htm) made mention of the fact that the studies that initially earned aspartame’s FDA approval were funded by aspartame’s manufacturer. Think about that. If you wanted to sell a food product, wouldn’t you be tempted to fudge the numbers in your studies in favor of that product? The FDA does not provide private, independent labs or scientists to conduct any study. This industry-run research still happens today and it should be illegal.
- “If you addict a customer, you have a customer for life” (from Hungry for Change). The tobacco industry has been doing this for years. And it’s only been within my lifetime that cigarette vending machines have been banned. Perhaps in the next 20 years Coke machines will follow suit.
- If you refuse to nix the habit, at the very least, do not feed aspartame to your children and take a break while you’re pregnant. Read every label – yogurt, chewing gum, medicines, Kool-Aid, anything labeled “diet” or “sugar free” – and avoid anything containing artificial sweeteners. This demographic will likely never be studied because the risk is just too great (Soffriti M).
- Aspartame was approved as a general sweetener in 1996. Here is a map put together by the CDC showing obesity rates in 1996 (www.cdc.gov):
And here’s a map from 2013 (the latest I could find – www.cdc.gov):
They had to add new colors! There is a connection here. You still think diet soda helps with weight loss?
Some studies to Google:
- Choudhary AK, Rathinasamy SD. Aspartame induces alteration in electrolytes homeostasis of immune organs in wistar albino rats. Biomedicine & Preventive Nutrition 4. 2014;181–187.
This study found that aspartame increases plasma methanol levels. Methanol damages liver cells and aspartame (which is 10% methanol) increases free radicals, inducing oxidative stress on organs. In other words, aspartame accelerates aging and increases cancer risk.
- Ashok I, Sheeladevi R, Wankhar D. Effect of long-term aspartame (artificial sweetener) on anxiety, locomotor activity and emotionality behavior in Wistar Albino rats. Biomedicine & Preventive Nutrition 4. 2014;39–43.
- Along with the previous article, the authors of this study state that “methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body, which is a deadly neurotoxin” (p. 39). Also, they say that “the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of aspartame is 40 mg/kg for adults. However the daily intake is not limited to this level as the recommended limit of consumption is 7.8 mg/day. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.” In referencing another study that instigated this one, aspartame consumption disturbs endocrine balance and alters the brain’s concentrations of catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine), potentially causing major hormone, mood, and behavioral problems.
- Horio Y, Sun Y, Liu C, Saito T, Kurasaki M. Aspartame-induced apoptosis in PC12 cells. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 37. 2014;158–165.
This study referenced another study showing that aspartame caused inflammation in the brain and oxidative stress, which caused these researchers to look for whether or not aspartame also caused apoptosis, or cell death. They concluded that yes, it does cause apoptosis in PC12 (rat adrenal) cells, which can lead to DNA damage, which leads to cell mutation, which leads to cancer.
- Research in Nursing & Health, 2014, 37, 185–193. Neurobehavioral Effects of Aspartame Consumption. Glenda N. Lindseth, Sonya E. Coolahan, Thomas V. Petros, Paul D. Lindseth.
Finally, a human study! This one showed that “when consuming high-aspartame diets, participants had more irritable mood, exhibited more depression, and performed worse on spatial orientation tests” (p. 185). The catecholamine changes are likely due to aspartame weakening the blood-brain barrier, allowing things (serotonin, dopamine) to pass through that shouldn’t, directly affecting the brain.
- Soffritti M, Padovani M, Tibaldi E, Falcioni L, Manservisi F, Belpoggi F. The carcinogenic effects of aspartame: the urgent need for regulatory re-evaluation. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 2014;57:383–397.
Information included above.