Aspartame - AbbyMediaRoots
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You can't imagine how hard soft drinks sweetened with Aspartame are on your body. A must-see for anybody with a sweet tooth, this exposÃ© reveals the dangers of Aspartame consumption.
The most prevalent artificial sugar in our food supply today is called aspartame, which is also recognized as NutraSweet or Equal. Aspartame has made its way into more than 6,000 products including almost all diet sodas, chewing gum, frozen desserts, yogurt, and even vitamins and cough drops. 200 hundred times sweeter than sugar, aspartame is a combination of two amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine.
Even though the safety of aspartame has been affirmed by the Food and Drug Administration 26 times in the past 23 years, the FDA has received more complaints about adverse reactions to aspartame than any other food ingredient in the agency's history. In fact, at least 30% of the US population is sensitive to even moderate doses of aspartame and may suffer several symptoms. Immediate reactions include severe headaches, dizziness, attention difficulties, memory loss, throat swelling, and seizures. Long term effects include blood sugar problems, insomnia, diabetes, ovarian cancer, and brain tumors.
One study from Kings College in England found that the more NutraSweet is consumed, the more likely tumors are to develop. With all of the hazards associated with aspartame, how did this sweetener get approved in the first place?
The flurry of debate about Searle's tests prompted the FDA to establish a Public Board of Inquiry, comprised of independent scientists to rule on safety issues surrounding NutraSweet. In 1980, The Public Board of Inquiry concluded that NutraSweet should not be approved pending further investigations of brain tumors in animals.
The following year, Ronald Reagan became President of the United States. His transitional team, which included Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle (manufacturer of aspartame), then handpicked Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. to be the new FDA Commissioner. In one of his first official acts, the new FDA commissioner overruled the Public Board of Inquiry's recommendations and authorized aspartame in dry foods and carbonated beverages.
The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) urged the FDA to delay approval of aspartame for carbonated beverages because of its instability in liquid form. When liquid aspartame is reaches a temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it breaks down known toxins and side effects become worsened.
Arthur Hull, FDA commissioner who pushed through aspartame, later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety and took a position with Burson-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and GD Searle, revealing his apparent conflicts of interest with aspartame's manufacturer.
The first carbonated beverages containing aspartame hit the market in 1983 and for the last twenty-five years aspartame has made its way into thousands of food and beverage products.
Even in the face of its sordid past, weight-conscious Americans will likely still opt for products containing aspartame because it is marketed as a weight loss aid. Ironically, studies have shown that it actually increases appetite and sugar intake because the empty sweetness from artificial sugars makes your body expect food. When it doesn't arrive, you actually get hungrier!
Recently, many people are jumping on the sucralose, or Splenda bandwagon, but this might not be the best substitute. It is made from sugar, but it contains two chlorine atoms.
You are probably wondering what the options are, once you remove refined sugar aspartame, and sucralose from the equation. The good news is that there are many more options that are much healthier and are natural. Honey and agave are two natural sweeteners that can be found almost anywhere, but if you want to cut calories, then Stevia is the way to go.
Stevia, a sweet herb, has been used as a natural sweetener in South America for the past 1500 years. It is non caloric and is 25 times sweeter than sugar. Tests have shown that Stevia intake actually helps regulate blood sugar, inhibits tooth decay, aids mental alertness, improves digestion, and users of Stevia even report less desire to smoke tobacco or ingest alcohol! Today, Stevia is finally on the market after a decade long FDA ban due Nutrasweet's heavy lobbying influence. Stevia is sold as a dietary supplement and you can purchase it at stores like Henry's or Whole Foods.
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