Due to America's obsession with dieting, the popularity of aspartame
(NutraSweet) has soared. Because it is about 200 times sweeter than sugar,
much smaller amounts of aspartame are needed to sweeten the taste of foods. This artificial sweetener pervades supermarket shelves. It is
especially prevalent in diet foods, and can be found in the following products:
Sugar-free chewing gum.
Multivitamins (yes - vitamins) - none of
our company's products contain aspartame.
Instant teas and coffees.
Aspartame consists of three components: the amino acids phenylalanine
and aspartic acid, and methanol, which is also known as methyl alcohol or wood
Although it has been claimed that the amino acids in aspartame are
metabolized in the same way that their natural counterparts, found in foods, are
metabolized, research suggests otherwise. Consumption of aspartame in
sodas, for instance, appears to cause a flooding of the amino acids in the
bloodstream - a prompt rise that does not occur after the ingestion of dietary
protein. This rise, it is believed, may cause problems.
No one disputes that aspartame should be avoided by people with
phenylketonuria (PKU). People with PKU lack the enzyme needed to convert
phenylalanine into tyrosine, another amino acid. As a result, high
concentrations of phenylalanine accumulate and can cause brain damage. It
should be noted that a number of people who have disorders other than PKU -
people with iron deficiencies and kidney disease, for instance - also may be
prone to high levels of this amino acid. For such people, the consumption
of aspartame may increase the risk of toxicity.
Methanol, the third ingredient in aspartame, is known to be poisonous even
when consumed in relatively modest amounts. Disorders caused by toxic
levels of methanol include blindness, brain swelling, and inflammation of the
pancreas and heart muscle. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
states that exposure to methanol through aspartame consumption is not of
"sufficient quantity to be of toxicological concern," the cumulative
effects of high doses of aspartame are unknown.
Regardless of any claims of the FDA, a significant number of people have
reported suffering ill effects as a result of aspartame consumption.
According to Aspartame (NutraSweet): Is It Safe? by H.J. Roberts
(The Charles Press, 1990), reported reactions include headaches, mood swings,
changes in vision, nausea and diarrhea, sleep disorders, memory loss and
confusion, and even convulsions. Aspartame appears to be especially
dangerous for children.
Needless to say, of you have experienced a reaction to aspartame, you should
refrain from using foods that contain this additive. Better yet, avoid all
additives, and enjoy a diet rich in fruits and fresh juices. These foods
are naturally sweet, free of artificial coloring and preservatives, and full of
the nutrients needed for good health.
Stevia - Alternative to Aspartame (Can be found in most
health food stores and also at Kroger.) Comes in powder packets, liquid and
Diet Pop article
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