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Nutritional & Health Articles
Aspartame: Sweet, Sweet Poison
I went to Target over the weekend to get a few household goods. Of course, I had allotted about 20 minutes to get in and out, but who really gets in and out of Target in 20 minutes? Well, about an hour later I finally hit the check out lanes. I paused before entering any of them because I wanted to check what I call the "impulse buying racks" (you know, the racks at the check outs full of candies, batteries, disposable cameras, lighters, gum, DVD's etc.) for some chewing gum and much to my dismay, they all contained, and still do, aspartame! Big Red, Orbit, Juicy Fruit, Trident, even good ol' Wrigley's all contain aspartame!! So, I turned my attentions to breath mints. Well, every gum, every breath mint, even Tic Tacs, all laden with aspartame. Candied poison we can suck on and chew on, all day long. Why was I searching so desperately for a product sans aspartame? I don't know about you, but for me, consuming aspartame is like consuming MSG, the main side effect being a mild to moderate headache of unexplained source…..until I read the studies and did my own, personal experiment.
Now, I'm not a doctor of any sort or any kind of licensed nutritionist, either, but I am a Holistic Health Practitioner and a consumer of many sorts. I do pay attention to what I put into my body and because of my profession and association with the healthcare field I do a lot of research and therefore read many studies. Studies on aspartame have come across my lap many times and it wasn't until several years ago that I really paid attention to what these studies revealed. Scarily enough, aspartame seems to be found in a lot of our foods and drinks (diet sodas) and, as is done with MSG, is sometimes disguised under other names such as NutraSweet, NatraTaste, Canderel, Equal and Spoonful. (I'll discuss MSG in further detail in a separate article.)
What is the actual danger of aspartame, you ask? Well, after thumbing through several studies I found that the real problem with aspartame is that it converts into methanol (wood alcohol) and then further converts into Formaldehyde, both of which are considered poisons and severely toxic to the body. The results of these chemical conversions are eye damage or complete vision loss, seizures, confusion, mild/moderate headaches to full blown severe migraines, tremors, depression, anxiety attacks, and insomnia are some of the dangers, for starters. A particular article I found on the internet at www.holisticmed.com even goes on to mention that "Formaldehyde causes gradual and eventually severe damage to the neurological system, immune system and causes permanent genetic damage at extremely low doses." Several other articles I researched even mentioned the fact that even as far back as 1994, aspartame accounted for more than 70%-75% of all adverse reactions reported to the FDA's Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS). !!?!.
According to another article I found on www.dorway.com, "Aspartame was not approved until 1981, in dry foods. For over eight years the FDA refused to approve it because of the seizures and brain tumors this drug produced in lab animals. The FDA continued to refuse to approve it until President Reagan took office (a friend of Searle) and fired the FDA Commissioner who wouldn't approve it. Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes was appointed as commissioner. Even then there was so much opposition to approval that a Board of Inquiry was set up. The Board said: "Do not approve aspartame". Dr. Hayes OVERRULED his own Board of Inquiry. Shortly after Commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes, approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages, he left for a position with G.D. Searle's Public Relations firm.
Now, while it's true that only 10% of aspartame is absorbed into the blood stream as the wood alcohol methanol, www.aspartamekills.com confirms that "The Environmental Protection Agency defines safe consumption as no more than 7.8 milligrams per day of this dangerous substance. A one-liter beverage, sweetened with aspartame, contains about 56 milligrams of wood alcohol, or eight times the EPA limit!" Even the United States Air Force warned all of its pilots to stay off aspartame by stating "Some people have suffered aspartame related disorders with doses as small as that carried in a single stick of chewing gum. This could mean a pilot who drinks diet sodas is more susceptible to flicker vertigo, or flicker-induced epileptic activity. It also means that all pilots are potential victims of sudden memory loss, dizziness during instrument flight and gradual loss of vision." WOW!
I'm not saying that the whole world is going to succumb to aspartame poisoning, but for those with genetic sensitivities to such chemicals, those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), people that are on certain medications and those with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk. If you're one of the many that like to mind what they eat, keep in mind that processed foods (especially candy/sweets/desserts), fresh or frozen and diet sodas are your biggest culprits.
If you like what you read here and want to further research aspartame/aspartame toxicity, feel free to check out the links I've listed in this article or, Google up keywords such as: aspartame, aspartame poisoning, Formaldehyde poisoning from aspartame, methanol poisoning or any such related words and see what comes up...you'll be amazed!