Any 'low sugar', 'diet' or ‘low calorie’ food or drink will usually contain an artificial sweetener. Even non-diet soft drinks such as lemonade and squashes may contain artificial sweeteners. They are cheaper than sugar which means the soft drinks manufacturers make higher profits. But there's one sweetener that's turning out to be pretty dangerous.
What is aspartame?
Aspartame is the most commonly used artificial sweetener. It has been approved by the FDA and other health agencies as being safe for human consumption. However many people disagree with this view including the Scandinavian food authorities. They do not approve it for use in food or drink products.
Given that Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar, manufacturers are able to produce their sweet foods. Then they can market them as “low calorie” so they can market and appeal to millions of people on “diets.” There is no doubt that the less sugar you have in your diet, the better. But replacing sugar with aspartame is not the solution, and in fact is likely to be even worse for your health.
No good for weight loss
It is a very common misconception that artificial sweeteners will help you lose and control your weight. Studies have shown that people who regularly use artificial sweeteners tend to gain weight through increased appetite. Eating Aspartame sweetened foods can also lead to binge eating and cravings. They have been linked to mood swings and depression because of the effect on levels of the brain chemical serotonin.
Aspartame contains Methanol and this is the substance which has been linked to undesirable side effects. Methanol is released from the Aspartame within hours of consumption. It begins travelling through the body via the blood. While animals are able to detoxify Methanol in the body, humans do not have this capability. Therefore, tests of Aspartame or Methanol on animals do not accurately reflect the danger for humans.
Methanol is considered a cumulative poison which means is accumulates in the body and very little is excreted each time it is consumed. Although Methanol is also present in fruit and vegetables it is bonded to Pectin. This is a fibre that allows it to transit safely through the digestive tract. In Aspartame, Methanol is not bonded and it passes through the blood-brain barrier where it is converted into Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a serious neurotoxin and carcinogen and has been found to cause damage to the brain.
The FDA (Food and Drugs Administration body) has accepted that a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day is not harmful. However when diet sodas and soft drinks sweetened with Aspartame are used to replace fluid loss during exercise and in hot climates the intake of Methanol can easily exceed this level.
Adding to the problem, one of the amino acids in Aspartame, Aspartic acid is also capable of crossing your blood-brain barrier. There it attacks your brain cells, creating a form of cellular overstimulation called excite-toxicity, which can lead to cell death.
Many chronic illness have been linked with but are often are not associated with Aspartame consumption. These include: Multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS, hormonal problems, memory loss, birth defects, cancer, diabetes, emotional disorders, epilepsy, epilepsy, hearing loss, Alzheimers, dementia, brain lesions, and neuroendocrine disorders.