Nutrition Series: Artificial Sweeteners, the Bitter Truth that May Kill You
Biologically, humans are drawn towards those foods that are sweet. Ancient man avoided poisonous vegetation by consuming sweet plants and fruits. This worked well for plants too, hiding their seeds in fruit, eaten and digested by humans and deposited some distance from the original plant, ensuring survival of their species.
All forms of concentrated sugar: – white, brown, malt, glucose, honey and syrup are fast releasing, causing a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. If this sugar is not immediately utilised by the body for energy, it is then stored in the liver, emerging as fat cells.
Artificial Sweeteners – Chemical in Name and Chemical in Nature
Due to our society’s love of sugar and our ever-increasing diet food industry, scientists were motivated to synthetically produce artificial sweeteners. These artificial sweeteners are found in over 6000 foods and beverages – they manipulate our biochemistry, signalling the same pleasure centres in the brain as sugar. Artificial Sweeteners include Aspartame, Acefultame Potassium, Monosodium Glutatmate, Sucralose and many others. The dark side of Artificial Sweeteners is that they break down into highly toxic chemical agents that damage the body.
Aspartame (E951): Originally approved in 1981 for use in food, Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is composed of 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid and 10% methanol. Excess phenylalanine has been shown to disrupt normal serotonin levels in the nervous system, leading to depressive, emotional and psychotic disorders. It has now been linked to multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, migraine and headache, brain cancer, chronic fatigue and epilepsy.
Aspartic acid is an excitotoxin. Excititoxins cause neurons in the brain to become over stimulated, firing continuously until they exhaust themselves and die. They are believed to be the cause the cause of many degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, ALS, ADHD and Alzheimer’s Disease. Methanol is also a neurotoxin, when heated above 86 degrees, methanol converts into formaldehyde, a highly carcinogenic compound that damages the nervous system. Neurotoxins act directly on neurons, or nerve cells found in the nervous tissue, brain and spinal cord. By interfering with membrane proteins and ion channels, prolonged exposure kills neurons.
Aspartame interferes with the natural hunger signals emitted by the brain, it overrides these so that when eating foods with Aspartame, we cannot feel satisfied and full, therefore we overeat. A study by Purdue University found that artificial sweeteners disturb our natural abilities to monitor calorie intake. This creates a disturbing, destructive cycle of overeating, leading to increasing consumption of diet and sugar free foods in an effort to lose weight.
Government agencies have known for decades that aspartame is deadly. It was once on the Pentagon list of biowarfare chemicals submitted to Congress and, in 1984, Dr Woodrow C Monte observed: ‘Methanol (one of the breakdown products of aspartame) has no therapeutic properties and is considered only as a toxicant. The ingestion of two teaspoons is considered lethal in humans. Sadly, his warning came too late – Aspartame had already been approved in the US two years earlier, as a safe food additive by the FDA.
As Aspartame is a food additive it does not require safety trials – it accounts for more than 75 per cent of adverse reactions to food reported every year to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some of these reactions are very serious, including death.
Scientists assert that phenylanine alone is a health hazard, even more so when it breaks down (due to high heat and storage) to methyl ester which, in turn, becomes methyl alcohol or methanol (recall, two teaspoons is lethal.) Methanol can also cause blindness. The US Environmental Protection Agency advises daily maximum methanol consumption of just 7.8 mg – and yet, many cans of diet sodas contain twice that. Consider a diabetic using aspartame all day could consume 30 times that amount. Year on year, the numbers of people diagnosed with Type II diabetes increases, swelling the pool of consumers for sugar free foods and beverages.
An interesting study linked Gulf War syndrome to diet soda drinks that were kept out in the hot desert sun for prolonged periods of time in toxic aluminium cans.
The evidence that Artificial sweeteners are detrimental to our health, continues to increase and yet food manufacturers continue to use it as a cheap, addictive ingredient, while promoting their food products as a healthier option to their sugar-laden counterparts. Food lobbyists utilize millions of pounds and dollars a year, convincing Parliament and Congress using flawed science and adulterated evidence, that aritifical sweetners are safe, while consumers continue to have sometimes fatal, adverse reactions.
Acefultame Potassium (E950): Often used in combination with other artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose and/or aspartame to mask any form of bitter or metallic after taste. This sweetener is 200 times sweeter than sugar and it has been shown to stimulate insulin secretions even though it does not increase blood sugar. Elevated insulin increases inflammation and suppresses our immune system. Since Acefultame does not increase blood sugar, this insulin response can stimulate reactive hypoglycemia and puts extreme pressure on the pancreas. It has been scientifically linked to numerous degenerative diseases including: leukemia, breast cancer, thymus cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.
Sucralose (E955): This artificial sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than sugar and is marketed as originating from natural sugar. The reality is that it is highly processed with three chlorine atoms that damage the microflora within the human gut. Sucralose has been shown to damage the thymus gland and inflame the liver and kidneys. Chlorine is a natural antiseptic that harms the human gut, destroying beneficial microflora leading to candida formation, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, obesity and cachexia.
Stevia derivatives made by the sugar conglomerates have hit the UK supermarkets of late with great gusto. These products are adulterated and molecularly far removed from natural Stevia that they are just as detrimental on the body as artificial sweeteners. These ‘health’ products sold in the supermarkets put natural stevia through in excess of 20 chemical processes to produce white powder reminiscent of modern day cocaine. Real stevia is dark green and has a texture like natural clay – you need only the smallest pinch for a cup of tea.
Ideal alternative sweeteners are formed in nature and are minimally processed. These would include organic sugar, stevia, raw honey and maple syrup. The greater the processing the more dangerous the sweetener can potentially be.
I personally recommend the film “Sweet Misery” if you want to learn more about Aspartame http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI7_8FDzuJE.
Your health is precious and the most valuable asset you have.