Artificial sweeteners can make you sick and fatKathleen Patel
Jul. 07, 2009
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For several years there have been frightening stories circulating about the dangers of Aspartame. Well, it turns out, this is not just another urban legend.
Aspartame is the chemical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr John W. Olney and Consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974 as well as investigations of G.D. Searle's research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). But by now, we all know how easily powerful, rich pharma can get dangerous products on the market.
Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.(1) A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.
According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:(2) Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson's disease, alzheimer's, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," by James and Phyllis Balch, lists aspartame under the category of "chemical poison." You can read more about this here
The word is out on Aspartame and that opened the door for the "safe alternative", Splenda.
Last year, a 12-week study, done by researchers from Duke University, reported that Splenda and its key component, sucralose, may suppress beneficial bacteria in the gut and cause weight gain. The study also found that consumption of the sweetener may affect the expression of certain enzymes known to interfere with the absorption of nutrients and pharmaceuticals.
This is how the study was done:
Researchers separated 50 rats into five equal groups. One (the control group) was administered only water with its diet, while the other four groups had the diet supplemented with different doses of Splenda in water. The amounts given to the rats were in a range that was slightly below to slightly above the daily intake amount that the FDA considers safe. In other words, the dosages that the animals consumed equated to amounts that would be reasonable for a human to consume.
After 12 weeks, half the animals in each group were evaluated for certain intestinal bacteria, enzymes, and weight. The remaining animals spent a further 12 weeks without any Splenda in the diet.
The results showed that Splenda reduced the amount of beneficial bacteria in the intestines by 50%, increased the pH level in the intestines, contributed to increases in body weight, and affected certain enzymes that are related to the metabolism of medications in the liver. Low beneficial bacteria levels and elevated enzyme levels continued even after the animals stopped consuming Splenda during the 12-week recovery period. It makes me wonder about the surge in obesity and also acid reflux and GERD.
The marketing ploy used in promoting Splenda, leads you to believe that this is some type of natural product. Sugar that is magically made to contain no calories. Sorry- that's not the case. . The process starts with sucrose, which is simply a sugar molecule, to which three chlorine molecules are added. This manipulation of the sugar molecule makes it unrecognizable to the body, thus impossible to digest or metabolize, therefore the body cannot extract calories from it. I guess you could compare it to eating baby powder or worse.
Some scientists theorize that Splenda is actually a toxic chemical because of the process used in its synthesis. Adding chlorine to the sucrose molecule (specifically, the carbon bonds) creates a chemical called chloro-carbon, causing it to resemble the chemical composition of a pesticide. According to these scientists, the safety of Splenda has yet to be determined.
To sum it up, this study shows that Splenda has been shown to cause weight gain, intestinal disruption and alterations to the metabolism of drugs. We'll probably find more dangers as additional studies are conducted.
So now the newest "natural and safe" sweetener being mass marketed is Stevia. Stevia (STEE-vee-uh) is a South American shrub whose leaves have been used for centuries by peoples in Paraguay and Brazil. The Japanese have been using stevia for over thirty years in small amounts; to sweeten pickles and other foods. “But the Japanese don’t consume large amounts of stevia,” notes Douglas Kinghorn, professor of pharmacognosy (the study of drugs from plants) at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“In the U.S., we like to go to extremes,” adds toxicologist Ryan Huxtable of the University of Arizona in Tucson. “So a significant number of people here might consume much greater amounts.”
Until recently, you didn't see stevia on supermarket shelves next to the Sweet’N Low, Splenda or Equal. You had to buy it in health food stores. The FDA was reluctant to approve it. So was Canada. In fact, the scientific panel that reviews the safety of food ingredients for the EU concluded that stevioside is “not acceptable” as a sweetener because of unresolved concerns about its toxicity. In 1998, a United Nations expert panel came to essentially the same conclusion.
Suddenly, stevia got it's approval and is now being mass marketed.
But is it really safe?
Here’s what troubles toxicologists:
Reproductive problems. Stevioside “seems to affect the male reproductive organ system,” European scientists concluded last year. When male rats were fed high doses of stevioside for 22 months, sperm production was reduced, the weight of seminal vesicles (which produce seminal fluid) declined, and there was an increase in cell proliferation in their testicles, which could cause infertility or other problems.1 And when female hamsters were fed large amounts of a derivative of stevioside called steviol, they had fewer and smaller offspring.2 Would small amounts of stevia also cause reproductive problems? No one knows.
Cancer. In the laboratory, steviol can be converted into a mutagenic compound, which may promote cancer by causing mutations in the cells’ genetic material (DNA). “We don’t know if the conversion of stevioside to steviol to a mutagen happens in humans,” says Huxtable. “It’s probably a minor issue, but it clearly needs to be resolved.” Energy metabolism. Very large amounts of stevioside can interfere with the absorption of carbohydrates in animals and disrupt the conversion of food into energy within cells. “This may be of particular concern for children,” says Huxtable.
The bottom line: If you use stevia sparingly (once or twice a day in a cup of tea, for example), it isn’t a great threat to you. But if stevia were marketed widely and used in diet sodas, it would be consumed by millions of people. And that might pose a public health threat." according to Dr. Ed Zimney. Well, Coca Cola plans to market stevia under the trade name of Rebiana. This calorie-free food and beverage sweetener is also being marketed under the Cargill corporation, a food and agricultural provider. Cargill, in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, has developed rebiana as a natural, zero-calorie ingredient which is being marketed under the brand name TRUVIA™. Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, the world’s largest soft drink makers, have stevia drinks ready to roll-out
I'm tossing my artificial sweeteners and I'm going to start using a little sugar. Sounds like it might help me lose weight.
Author: Kathleen Patel Kathleen Patel is an Examiner from Chicago. You can see Kathleen's articles on Kathleen's Home Page.