Blue Water Healthy Living

Aspartame. . . Is It Safe?

By Sharon Remington

Non-Scientific studies show that aspartame causes memory loss in some people. To add to it the food and beverage manufacturing companies have a powerful commercial investment in keeping it (aspartame) on the market. Aspartame was approved as a food additive in 1981, and for use in diet sodas in 1983. Now it can be found in over 9,000 food products.

Aspartame is 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic and 10% methanol. Studies reveal that the elements of aspartame are deadly. Aspartic has shown it can cause holes in the brains of mice. Methanol is a toxin. When stored in cool temperatures it gives rise to formaldehyde in the body. The same formaldehyde used for embalming. When taken with other material that contains amino acids, phenylalanine can be harmless. If it is taken alone, it has neurotoxic effects. Which cause memory loss, headaches, seizures and stomach disorders.

Some experts say aspartame is even more hazardous if a person has diabetes and hypertension, for smokers, infants, pregnant women and those that are breastfeeding. Majority of the people believe it is safe because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved aspartame.

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Aspartame is sold under the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal. Aspartame was introduced about the time the FDA banned artificial sweeteners cyclamate (sucaryl) and saccharin (Sweet’N Low). In 2000, the national institutes of health decided saccharin could be removed from the list of cancer-causing substances. Cyclamate is available in over 50 countries. However, it is not sold in the united states.

Some examples of products that contain aspartame:

o Diet Soda
o Sugar-Free Ice Cream
o Reduced-Calorie Fruit Juice
o Gum
o Yogurt
o Sugarless Candy

There is a lot of controversies which involves the side effects of aspartame. Some are:

• Abdominal pain
• Anxiety
• Arthritis
• Asthma
• Brain cancer
• A chronic cough
• Chronic fatigue
• Confusion
• Diarrhea
• Death
• Depression
• Diarrhea
• Dizziness
• Hair Loss
• Headaches/Migraines
• Hypertension
• Impotency
• Joint Pains
• Memory loss
• Mood swings
• Muscle spasms
• Nausea/Vomiting
• Obesity
• Poor Memory
• Seizures
• Tooth Decay
• Tremors
• Vision Problems
• Weight Gain … just to name a few.

Out of 10,000 consumer complaints, the Food and Drug Administration put together a list of 92 symptoms linked to aspartame use. Lack of awareness by the United States and because most people don’t realize the symptoms which are related to long-term use could be why the public does not perceive how dangerous aspartame really is.

According to the American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team:

Aside from the effects on people with Phenylketonuria, no health problems have been consistently linked to aspartame use. Research on artificial sweeteners including aspartame continues today.

People with the disease Phenylketonuria need to restrict their phenylalanine intake. Phenylketonuria is a rare genetic disorder (present at birth) in which the body cannot break down Phenylalanine, an amino acid found in many foods.

The FDA sets an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for each sweetener, which is the maximum amount considered safe for each day. The Food and Drug Administration has set the ADI for Aspartame about 50 milligrams per kilograms of body weight. To put this in perspective, the ADI for Aspartame would be 3,750 milligrams per day for a typical adult weighing 75 kilograms (about 165 lbs.) A 12 oz. can of diet soda usually contains about 192 mg. And a packet of tabletop sweetener contains about 35 mg. This 165 LB adult would have to consume more than 19 cans a day of diet soda or more than 107 packets to be over the ADI.
Aspartame is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. So, a very small amount is needed to give the food and beverages a sweet flavor.

Some research reports increased risk, symptoms or disease acceleration, while others report no negative outcome with aspartame intake.

Alternatives to aspartame:

• Honey
• Maple Syrup
• Stevia Leaves
• Fruit Juice
• Blackstrap Molasses

Artificial Sweeteners considered safe:

• Stevia Leaf Extracts
• Erythritol
• Xylitol
• Neotame
• Monk Fruit Extract

1. Stevia Leaf Extracts – Has been used in Japan, although long-term safety testing has not been done.
2. Erythritol – smaller amounts are said to be fine. About 60 to 70% as sweet as table sugar.
3. Xylitol – This sugar alcohol, occurs naturally in Birch and some other plants are about as sweet as table sugar and had ¾ of the calories.
4. Neotame – is rated among the best, yet taste problems limit the use.
5. Monk Fruit Extract – experts recommend caution. It has been less tested than stevia.

Leaf Extracts. Monk extract is derived from a fruit that has been used in China for hundreds of years and may be safe. The FDA officials portray Aspartame as “one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved” and its safety to be “clear cut.”

Like most things in life, it appears this is no exception; all things should be done in moderation.

1. Health Status
2. Health Line
3. The American Cancer Society
4. Nutrition Action

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