Jessica just finished her third can of diet soda. Because of work pressure, she also consumes not less than three cups of coffee per day. But nothing to worry, she tells herself, as she consumes everything that’s sugar free. As a diet-conscious career woman, she relies on diet coke, artificial sugar sweeteners like Equal and other diet crackers and gums.
If you are a diet freak like Jessica and you consume various diet products every day, then watch out; you may have started suffering from memory loss. Worse, you may have been placed in the world’s longest death list.
The majority of the diet products you consume contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener which is 200 times sweeter than sugar, and can be found in over 9,000 food products. It was approved as a food additive in 1981 and for use in diet sodas in 1983. It is present in frozen desserts, diet sodas, coffee, and juices and even in vitamins.
Aspartame is 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid and 10% methanol. Studies have shown that the components of aspartame are deadly. When stored for a long period, phenylalanine decomposes into diketopiperazine, a known carcinogen. Aspartic was used in an experiment, and was found to have caused holes in the brains of mice. Methanol, on the other hand, is a toxin which, when stored in cool temperature, gives rise to formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde, in layman’s term, is the fluid used for embalming dead people. Picture that in your system, if you are an aspartame user.
There are two schools of thought on the effects of the contents of aspartame. Pro-aspartame doctors say that the ingredients of aspartame are safe. However, anti-aspartame scientists claim that phenylalanine can be harmless only when taken with other substances containing amino acids. If taken alone, it has neurotoxic effects which cause memory loss, seizures, headaches, and stomach disorders.
But not all aspartame users die immediately. They suffer. The Environmental Protection Agency said aspartame, which is absorbed in the blood as methanol, is safe provided the consumption does not exceed a minimum amount per day. The bad news: a liter of diet soda, containing aspartame, can contain as much as 56 milligram of methanol, way beyond the minimum safe level. Add to that the various diet products with aspartame which you consume daily and you have a toxic cocktail!
Too much aspartame in the brain kills neurons that’s why they are called excitotoxins—they excite the brain cells to death. Imagine what would happen to your memory if most of the brain cells used to store them are killed by aspartame.
Experts say aspartame is dangerous per se but it is more hazardous to those who have diabetes and hypertension, those who smoke, infants, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding. Experts also claim that continued use of aspartame may cause multiple sclerosis, birth defects, mental retardation and diabetes.
But why is aspartame so widely-used despite the dangerous contents? Majority of the people believe that since it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, then it is safe. Other groups like the FDA and the American Council on Science and Health deny the alleged adverse effects of aspartame and claim that it is one of the most thoroughly-tested drugs in the United States. Anti-aspartame groups are, however, questioning the approval of the substance, despite the prior eight-year approval suspension because of the adverse effects of aspartame.
The warning issued against the use of aspartame products fell on deaf ears, particularly for those who are diet conscious as they believe that diet products containing aspartame\me, can control weight.
Experts however claim the contrary, saying aspartame can cause weight gain because two of its components, phenylalanine and aspartic acid, encourage the release of insulin. The release of insulin in the bloodstream however removes all the glucose, thereby causing sugar cravings.
Imagine how exposed everyone is to aspartame-containing products. Equal (sugar substitute particularly used by those who have diabetes) is regularly served by hotels and restaurants for coffee drinkers. Aspartame is even found in juices and jellies that you buy for your children.
While there are two sides to the issue about aspartame, what would it hurt the owners Monsanto, if they have the substance re-tested to quell the increasing fears about the product?