Aspartame: the Controversy! Aspartame: the controversy! This artificial sweetener seems to be the most controversial of artificial sweeteners. It’s still being tested in chemical laboratories. Although aspartame was discovered and introduced into the food and beverage world in 1965. If this sweetener is so safe to use, why are there still hundreds of tests still being performed?I remember when I first saw this new sweetener listed on the ingredients label, of a bottle of something in the 60’s. It very clearly had a warning of “Do not consume more than X amount of this beverage in one day” My thought at the time was, “if there has to be a limit to drinking this stuff then why drink it at all. Something is not quite right here.”
Aspartame: the Controversy! Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose, or table sugar. Aspartame hides behind brand names like, NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful and Equal-measure. It appears that the largest consumers of Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are for weight loss. Diabetics also use huge quantities of artificial sweeteners in place of sugar, although research seems to agree that Aspartame also worsens insulin sensitivity.
- Stimulates your appetite
- Increases carbohydrate cravings
- Stimulates fat storage and weight gain.
Aspartame: the Controversy! Therefore the facts appear to be quite contradictory to the adverts, that are produced by the manufacturers, of aspartame and other artificial sweetener companies.
Aspartame: the Controversy! Today aspartame has a code E951 in many countries but might not even be mentioned at all in others. Especially as it is now used very heavily in processed foods that do not need to be heated. If aspartame is heated at high temperatures the breakdown becomes very toxic. Scientists have declared aspartame safe at current levels, as a non-nutritive sweetener, i.e according to the amount of aspartame per mg amount to the kilo body weight of the person. Hence if you’re addicted to soda, then the same applies to the warnings of the 60’s.
I’ve never seen a warning on cabbage or apples have you?
Caution! Scientists also conclusively agree that because of the breakdown product phenylalanine in aspartame in the body is fatal for someone with a genetic condition present at birth called phenylketonuria (PKU) to consume any amount!
Another Caution! Under strongly acidic or alkaline conditions, aspartame may generate methanol by hydrolysis. Under more severe conditions, the peptide bonds are also hydrolyzed, resulting in free amino acids. Most people do not have a balanced pH, but have acidic bodies, mainly due to processed food and soda drinks. Vegetarians and vegans sometimes have high alkaline pH.
Another caution! Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into residual components, including aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol, and further breakdown products including formaldehyde and formic acid, accumulation of the latter being suspected as the major cause of injury in methanol poisoning.
In the UK, foods that contain aspartame are legally required by the country’s Food Standards Agency to list the substance among the product’s ingredients and carry the warning “Contains a source of phenylalanine” – this is usually at the foot of the list of ingredients. Manufacturers are also required to print ‘”with sweetener(s)” on the label close to the main product name’ on foods that contain “sweeteners such as aspartame” or “with sugar and sweetener(s)” on “foods that contain both sugar and sweetener”
In Canada, foods that contain aspartame are legally required by the country to list the substance among the product’s ingredients and include a measure of the amount of aspartame per serving. As well, labels must state that the product contains phenylalanine – this is usually in the order of ingredients, contained in brackets.
Aspartame: The Controversy! Should pregnant or nursing mothers use aspartame?According to some studies the scientists conclude that the levels of toxicity are negligible to the foetus or a nursing baby… that is up to today! They are continuing their scientific tests further as it appears that tests on aspartame and these women have not been conducted thoroughly enough. European countries are now bringing a new bill into parliament, to have a warning on the label of any product, that contains aspartame- with a warning for pregnant women.
Would you want to put your baby at risk- to even the slightest danger?
Aspartame: the Controversy! Claims by consumers of aspartame:
- Digestive disorders
- Changes in mood
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Birth defects
Aspartame: the Controversy! However, studies done to date have not found any consistent evidence of harm or so we are told.. Research into the safety of aspartame continues.
In my research for this article there seemed to be a controversy, about how much the big manufacturers have ‘a say’ in what the FDA permit’? Hmmm!
Another name to add to the list of artificial sweeteners is Neotame. The European Union approved it and comes on labels as a flavour enhancer E961. It’s made by NutraSweet, the original makers (Monsanto) of aspartame. Neotame is 13,000 times sweeter than sugar, and about 30 times sweeter than aspartame. Due to it’s high sweet value, it’s added to ‘livestock feed’ to fatten up the cows, as it makes them eat more fodder. Oh! I thought artificial sweeteners are for helping weight loss?
I could continue writing much more about Aspartame: the Controversy! It’s worth doing a little research yourself, if you have your own concerns. I’ve added a couple of resources at the bottom of this article, for you to make your own decision, to make a choice about eating and drinking Aspartame.
If your considering changing your diet to something more healthy, this is a good place to start! Take a look at how much Aspartame you might be consuming and ask yourself – is it worth the risks to you and your children.
As a suggestion to ‘sweet toothers’ and diabetics: A natural sweetener is on the market called Stevia. We use it! although I personally have trained myself not to eat sugar or ‘sweet’ much at all. I was on the verge of becoming diabetic, so I cut out sugar altogether from my diet and I eat only a small amount of carbohydrates. From my own personal experience, I find sugar is very addictive, weakens my muscles and contributes to flare up of osteoarthritis. This is coming from someone who would put two spoons of sugar in tea and coffee several times a day!
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Blessings. To good health!
Resources for this article: