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Aspartame - Sweet Poison or Not?

Lynne Brown
BSc Hons, HDE, Dip Clin Nutr

So much has been written in the media about the dangers of Aspartame and yet major health organizations, basing their conclusions on studies done on rats, still maintain that Aspartame is safe. No one has ever been declared dead from “Aspartame Disease” but does this possibility exist? Although the use of Aspartame in dry foods and soft drinks was approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration, some researchers are not convinced that it is safe.

What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is a nonnutritive sweetener composed of two amino acids – phenylalanine and aspartic acid – and an alcohol-like compound called methanol. Phenylalanine, used by the brain, comprises 50% of Aspartame. People suffering from the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolise phenylalanine and so an excess of this amino acid builds up in parts of the brain, leading to a decrease of serotonin levels, bringing on emotional disorders and depression.

Also known as wood alcohol, the poison methanol is a 10% ingredient of Aspartame, which is created when Aspartame is heated above 30°C in, for example, the preparation of processed foods. A one litre carbonated beverage, sweetened with Aspartame, contains around 56mg of methanol. Heavy consumers of soft drinks sweetened with Aspartame, especially in the summer, may easily exceed the  Environmental Protection Agency’s warning limits.

Toxicity symptoms

It appears that the dangers of Aspartame poisoning have been a well-guarded secret since the 1980s and yet Aspartame may account for up to 75% of the adverse food reactions reported to the US FDA, due primarily to its reported ability to affect neurological processes in humans. Many researchers maintain that Aspartame is a dangerous chemical food additive, and its use during pregnancy and by children is one of the greatest modern tragedies of all. After more than twenty years of Aspartame use, the number of its victims is rapidly piling up, and people are figuring out for themselves that Aspartame is at the root of their health problems. Some of the symptoms of Aspartame intoxication include severe headaches, nausea, vertigo, insomnia, ringing in the ears, loss of control of limbs, blurred vision, blindness, memory loss, slurred speech, mild to severe depression often reaching suicidal levels, hyperactivity, gastrointestinal disorders, seizures,  anxiety attacks, muscle and joint pain, numbness, mood changes, to mention just a few.

Weight management

Best of all: as far as weight management goes, Aspartame has been a flop. With more than 34 million people dieting at any given time, it is no wonder diet soft-drinks sales have more than tripled in the past twenty years. Nevertheless, obesity rates have soared. Researchers report artificial-sweetener users to be no more likely than nonusers to lose weight; in fact, they might be more prone to weight gain. It is also theorized that Aspartame increases cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods by producing a chemical in the brain that triggers appetite. (Somer, 1995).

Be sensible

No one needs to be a rocket scientist to figure out that freshly squeezed orange juice is healthier than Oros or a diet coke! The fact remains that Aspartame is a synthetic substance and as such acts as a toxin to the human body. Considering that Aspartame is the second most widely used sweetener in a wide range of products one undoubtedly has to take the accumulative effect into consideration. With studies only being done on laboratory animals, the possible interactions of Aspartame with other food ingredients and processing conditions such as heating, have not been taken into account. So avoid foods that include the words ‘Aspartame’ or E951 in the ingredients list – you’ll find it most commonly in products labelled ‘diet’, ‘sugar-free’ or ‘reduced-sugar’. In the meantime, swap diet colas or squashes for purified water or diluted pure fruit juice and mix low-fat natural yoghurt with fresh fruit instead or grabbing a tub of sugar-free fruit yoghurt.


There is no need to add Aspartame to any food product. It is not a diet product and may even make you fat! Your body asks you just one question: “Can I use the material you feed me to build cells to replenish my system?”. When it comes to Aspartame the answer is NO. Decide today to halt the influx of toxins into your body, expel those already there, and ensure a continued and prolonged life using whole foods that are clean, uncontaminated and nutritious. Ditch the sweeteners entirely or use only safe natural alternatives such as stevia or xyltiol. My final word as always: “Go Natural”.

Disclaimer: All information here is for educational purposes only and is not meant to cure, heal, diagnose nor treat. This information must not be used as a replacement for medical advice, nor can the writer take any responsibility for anyone using the information instead of consulting a healthcare professional.  All serious disease needs a physician.

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