Nutrition 301: The Truth About Artificial Sweetners

Word cloud for AspartameIn an earlier post I discussed the truth about soft drinks touching on the effects of aspartame, or artificial sweetener. This compound is found in more than just soft drinks. It can be found it any processed food or candy that is sugar-free. To start you need to understand what aspartame is. It’s really hard to explain what it is a simple-to-understand way. That alone should be a clue as to its safety. Instead I will quote the actual European patent that can be found online,

“The artificial sweetener aspartame, a dipeptide with the formula Asp-Phe-me, is produced using a cloned micrcorganism [sic]. A DNA which codes for a large stable peptide comprised of the repeating amino acid sequence (Asp-Phe)n is inserted into a cloning vehicle which in turn is introduced into a suitable host microorganism. The host microorganism is cultured and the large peptide containing the repeating Asp-Phe sequence is harvested therefrom. The free carboxyl group of the large peptide is benzylated and then hydrolysed to benzyl Asp-Phe dipeptides. This dipeptide is methylated and then debenzylated to form aspartame.”

Let me boil this down for you…aspartame is the excrement of bacteria, specifically the feces of e.coli. You may know it better as Nutrasweet and it’s manufactured by Monsanto. It’s primarily used because it’s cheap and it has a taste closest to that of table sugar. Now this may not be something that bothers you. In fact vaccines and the latest cosmetic craze of Botox is based on substances that would make us very ill in high doses. 50% of aspartame is Phenylalanine, an amino acid normally found in the brain. Persons with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine; 10% is comprised of Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. Diketopiperazine (DKP) is a byproduct of aspartame metabolism that has been implicated in the occurrence of brain tumors.

What about the impacts of Apartame on the body. The FDA and physicians have long acknowledged that aspartame may be the culprit in causing many ailments such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, liver disease, etc. It’s estimated that aspartame accounts for 75% of reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Here is a small excerpt of the 90 side effects reported:

  • Headaches/migraines
  • Muscle spasms
  • Irritability
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Tachycardia (fast hear beat)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Vertigo
  • Seizures
  • Rashes
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Vision problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Joint pain
  • Numbness
  • Fatigue
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of taste 

I have a family member who suffers from a debilitating case of multiple sclerosis. I know they drink a great deal of pop and have no intentions of changing their habit. Aspartame has been linked to chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease and Epilepsy. With all of this information it’s a wonder the FDA allows this chemical into our food supply. This is a hotly contested topic. Of course there are those in support of aspartame and claim this additive is safe. Sanjay Gupta, a well-respected and renowned physician with a show on CNN agrees that it not a danger to people’s health.  The argument is that there is no scientific evidence that shows it causes these ailments, especially since the FDA says it’s safe. Because the FDA has never approved something that ultimately ended up being a danger to the population. Moderation is key. One drink a week won’t harm you, one an hour just might.

What about sweeteners such as Stevia and Splenda that are not created under the same processes. Splenda may cause a reduction of good bacteria in the intestines and may be still very close to sucralose at a molecular level. The jury is still out those, frankly all of these. But I can’t imagine how something created in a lab could be better nutritionally than something that occurs in nature. I opt for the real thing…sugar that is. If I’m going to occasionally partake in something sweet or fizzy drink, I don’t bother with the chemical substitutes, give me regular cane sugar any day…in moderation.


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References, patent number 81300857.0
Docket # 02P-0317 Recall Aspartame as a Neurotoxic Drug: File #4: Reported Aspartame Toxicity Reactions,, docket number 02P-0317

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