This series will examine common artificial food ingredients and their health effects.
What is aspartame?
Aspartame (APM) is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages.
What types of food contain aspartame?
The typical places you might find aspartame are in diet drinks, protein shakes and powders, fruit cups, yogurts, chewing gum, and “sugar-free” products.
What are the negative health effects associated with aspartame?
The effects that I found ample documentation on and are included in this article include:
Blocks Amino Acids To The Brain
Reduces Dopamine And Serotonin Levels
There are many others, but in the interest of keeping this article a reasonable length, I will not list them and will focus on the ones listed above. (As if those aren’t bad enough, right?)
From the National Institutes Of Health
Aspartame, a widespread sweetener used in many food products, is considered as a highly hazardous compound….. The artificial sweetener is broken down into phenylalanine (50%), aspartic acid (40%) and methanol (10%) during metabolism in the body. The excess of phenylalanine blocks the transport of important amino acids to the brain contributing to reduced levels of dopamine and serotonin…...Aspartic acid at high concentrations is a toxin that causes hyperexcitability of neurons and is also a precursor of other excitatory amino acid - glutamates. Their excess in quantity and lack of astrocytic uptake induces excitotoxicity and leads to the degeneration of astrocytes and neurons. The methanol metabolites cause CNS (Central Nervous System) depression, vision disorders and other symptoms leading ultimately to metabolic acidosis and coma….. Despite intense speculations about the carcinogenicity of aspartame, the latest studies show that its metabolite - diketopiperazine - is cancirogenic in the CNS. It contributes to the formation of tumors in the CNS….
In regards to weight gain….
From Dr. Group’s Global Healing Center
In short, aspartame makes you fat by:
Keeping you hungry
Preventing you from knowing when you’ve eaten enough
Increasing your appetite
Making you crave more sweets
Deranging fat storage
In the interest of keeping this article to a reasonable and readable length, I didn’t include more info from Dr. Group’s article. The article itself is very well sourced and is well worth a read, for those who would like to get more in depth. A link is provided in the sources at bottom.
From the National Institutes Of Health Regarding Aspartame And Brain Tumors
Evidence potentially implicating aspartame includes an early animal study revealing an exceedingly high incidence of brain tumors in aspartame-fed rats compared to no brain tumors in concurrent controls, the recent finding that the aspartame molecule has mutagenic potential, and the close temporal association (aspartame was introduced into US food and beverage markets several years prior to the sharp increase in brain tumor incidence and malignancy). We conclude that there is need for reassessing the carcinogenic potential of aspartame.
Some of you might be wondering…..if aspartame is so hazardous, then how the heck did it get into the food supply in the first place?
It's a long, murky story, but here are some main points that I find interesting.
What company made Aspartame and brought it to market?
According to wikipedia…
G.D. Searle, LLC is a wholly owned trademark of Pfizer. It is currently used mainly as a distribution trademark for various pharmaceuticals that were developed by G. D. Searle & Company (often referred to as Searle). Prior to its 1985 merger with Monsanto, Searle was a company focusing on life sciences, specifically pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and animal health.
Searle is most notable for having developed the first female birth control pill, and the artificial sweetener NutraSweet.
Hmmmm…..A cancer causing agent (aspartame) and the first birth control pill produced by the same company? I find that to be quite intriguing.
So when was Aspartame approved to enter the food supply?
Aspartame was approved by the FDA in 1974. Serious objections were raised by Dr. John Olney shortly after its approval. According to a report on the FDA’s own website…..
Dr. John W. Olney informed G.D. Searle that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice. G.D. Searle did not inform the FDA of this study until after aspartame's approval. None of the tests submitted by G.D. Searle to the FDA contradicted these findings (Olney 1970, Gordon 1987, page 493 of US Senate 1987).
Another twist to this puzzle is the fact that Donald Rumsfeld served as President and CEO of G.D. Searle from the late 70s to the early 80s.
To read more in-depth on the aspartame saga, I recommend…..
So now the question remains. Why is aspartame still in the food supply? And why would anyone put it in their body? I invite comments and opinions below.
Other online resources used for this article
Thanks for your time and attention! And thanks for caring!
Top image is from pixabay