Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Debunking Aspartame's Safety

For all you people who are trying to figure out, is Aspartame safe. I have compiled numerous articles and websites that are for and against this manufactured sweetener. On one hand there are the "real" scientific government agencies that continually say that Aspartame is safe and does not hurt anyone.

Websites such as aspartame.org make statements such as this, "Despite the overwhelming documentation of aspartame’s safety, unfounded allegations that aspartame is associated with a myriad of ailments, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and lupus, have continued to be spread via the Internet and the media by a few individuals who have no documented scientific or medical expertise. Recently, several governments and expert scientific committees (including the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Commission, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency, the French Food Safety Agency and Health Canada) carefully evaluated the Internet allegations and found them to be false, reconfirming the safety of aspartame. In addition, leading health authorities, such as the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The National Parkinson Foundation, Inc., the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Lupus Foundation of America, have reviewed the claims on the Internet and also concluded that they are false." http://www.aspartame.org/aspartame_myths.html

On the other hand there are the so-called non-experts who apparently have "no documented or scientific expertise". 

But wait a minute! After further investigation of these founded claims. An interesting article say's quite the opposite. Take for example this article by Public Service Europe that debunks the Scientific Committee on Food Safety of the European Commission which above favors Aspartame. And is considered a viable source for real scientific expertise.

The article titled and states:
The reputation of the European Food Safety Authority has been sullied ahead of a key investigation into the food sweetener aspartame

The European body responsible for a new study on the health effects of artificial sweetener aspartame is under attack following the revelation it has hired scientists, who did not declare connections to the food industry. A transparency watchdog has called for two newly appointed members of the EFSA's additives panel to be suspended after uncovering their past relationship with a lobbying firm financed by aspartame producer Ajinomoto and food giants Coca-Cola, Kraft and Nestle.

The two scientists, Italian Riccardo Crebelli and German Ursula Gundert-Remy, are "in violation" of the agency's own rules because they "failed to disclose consulting activities for the International Life Sciences Institute, an international lobby group funded by the food industry", says watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory. New rules were needed to ensure scientists' credentials were impeccable, according to the observatory, which says its mission is to "expose the power of corporate lobbying in the European Union".

The Italy-based EFSA was asked in May to re-evaluate the safety of aspartame, due to high levels of public concern over possible side-effects. This followed two academic studies published last year, linking aspartame with cancer in mice and pre-term delivery. After reviewing the studies' findings, the agency decided its existing advice on the "acceptable daily intake" of aspartame - 40 mg per kilogramme of body weight - did not need altering. "Even though aspartame has been authorised for many years in many countries following thorough safety assessments, a degree of public concern about the safety of aspartame has continued," the agency said, adding that it was now "working to address this public concern".

Shortly after the new study was commissioned, five of the 19 members of the agency's panel on food additives and nutrient sources were replaced as their mandates had expired. Corporate Europe Observatory, together with a French watchdog, examined the backgrounds of the new members. Gundert-Remy was appointed as a scientific adviser to the Life Sciences Institute's research foundation in 2005, the watchdogs found. Crebelli on the other hand "was a member of the scientific committee of a three-day symposium on the safety of food packaging" organised by the institute in 2008. He was tasked with "the review of research abstracts submitted by applicants who wish to publicly present their work at the symposium".

The agency has defended its appointees. Criticism was based on "factual mistakes" that put a "negative light" on its independence, the agency's executive director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle said in a letter earlier this week. The experts "were not required to declare those activities, as they are not related to their scientific panel's field of activities," Geslain-Lanéelle said. Gundert-Remy "advised (the institute) on general research topics such as obesity" whereas Crebelli "has not been a member" of the institute's scientific committee - but rather, "participated in the scientific committee of a conference".

Such activities, the executive director said "cannot result in potential conflicts of interest" and there had, therefore, been no "breach of trust". Corporate Europe Observatory insisted on the other hand that experts were obliged by the agency's rules to declare all interests "even if this advice or these services are not related to the field of activities of the scientific panel of a given expert". The Life Sciences Institute rejects claims that it is a lobby firm, preferring to refer to itself as a "foundation" - seeking a "balanced approach to solving problems of common concern for the wellbeing of the general public". Backers of its European branch include Monsanto, the genetically modified seed specialist, Mars and Unilever.

One may ask the simple question who are these people and affiliated websites? Can they be trusted? Well if you investigate both the aspartame.org website and it's affiliate caloriecontrol.org you will find that there is no contact information. There is a "contact us" on the top right hand corner of the aspartame.org website but it does not work. How unfortunate. 

What about the caloriecontrol.org website? Conveniently there is no way to contact them directly either. You are only able to email them and wait for a reply. 

But there is an interesting notation on the website that tells you about who they are and what they represent. Click here to read about them. 

Isn't that interesting that caloriecontrol.org represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the very industry it claims in this next statement? "Council seeks to provide an effective channel of communication among its members, the public and government officials, and to assure that scientific, medical and other pertinent research and information is developed and made available to all interested parties."

There is also a list of companies that gives caloriecontrol.org funding to help protect us, the consumers, of their products. Click here for that list and be enlightened to see all this companies that are selling us these products. Of course not all of these sweeteners are bad. But most of them I would not use. 

So what about this other group Public Service Europe? Are they trustworthy? It would seem that they are doing their job and reporting on major stories that need to be disclosed, where major media news outlets continuously fail the general public. Are they able to be directly contacted? It certainly seems that way. Do they have a contact list readily and easily obtainable? Yes! Click here for that list. It would seem to me that they are readily available for questions and comments. 

The other two affiliated groups seem to be mysteriously unavailable. And that always raises an eyebrow on my head. CalorieControl.org allows you to send them your contact information and wait for a reply. But will they respond to any serious questions? I have not tried to contact them yet. But I wouldn't hold my breathe waiting for a response.  

The FDA has also stated on its own website that Aspartame is safe, in a research conducted by Paul 
A. Spiers. FDA and MIT stated this:

"We conclude that aspartame is safe for the general population," said Paul 
A. Spiers, visiting scientist in the Clinical Research Center (CRC).
Mood, aggression and selected cognitive functions were tested during a 
study in which some of the subjects consumed doses of aspartame nearly 
20 times the daily amount taken by the vast majority of the general 

During a four-month period, subjects received either aspartame, sugar or a 
placebo and underwent physical and psychological testing. Some subjects 
were given doses of up to 45 milligrams per kilogram of body weight--the 
equivalent of 17 to 24 12-ounce diet beverages for males and 14 to 19 12-
ounce drinks for females. In the general population, most Americans who 
consume aspartame take in 3 milligrams per kilogram of body weight a 
day, the equivalent of one or less 12-ounce diet beverage.

Despite the high consumption of aspartame, the 48 normal subjects 
showed no changes in mood, memory, behavior, electroencephalograms 
(which record the electrical signals of the brain) or physiology that could be 
tied to aspartame, Dr. Spiers found. Although some subjects reported 
headaches, fatigue, nausea and acne, the same number of incidences 
were reported by subjects taking placebo and sugar as those taking 

Dr. Spiers noted that these findings corroborate the results of another 
recent study with preschool and elementary school children that discovered 
no effect on their moods, activity levels, behavior or thinking after they 
consumed high doses of aspartame.

He recommended that if a patient reports any adverse effects from a food 
product, factors such as the patient's overall diet, nutrition and behavior 
should be carefully tested in a double-blind challenge. "Only in this way can 
allegations regarding the safety of any food product be properly evaluated 
before speculation regarding harmful effects begins," wrote Dr. Spiers and 
co-authors LuAnn Sabounjian of Interneuron Pharmaceuticals of 
Lexington; Dr. Allison Reiner of Princeton, NJ; Diane K. Myers and Judith 
Wurtman of the CRC; and Donald L. Schomer in the neurophysiology 
department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical 


The study was conducted at MIT's CRC. Electro-encephalograms were 
done at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. This work 
was supported by a grant from the NutraSweet Co. to the Center for Brain 
Sciences and Metabolism Charitable Trust.

Clearly this grant is subject to discrepancies due to the fact that NutraSweet is a major manufacturer of Aspartame!

Perhaps the company that manufactures the chemical should NOT be allowed to sponsor the research because clearly that is a major conflict of interest. And why would this even be considered valid or accredited on the FDA's website, which claims to be the omnipotent federal regulatory group that protects it's citizens from harmful chemicals here in the USA? Would not perhaps a completely unbiased scientific group funded by the state itself be deemed a more suitable proponent? I would hope so. 

So what are some of these other "individuals who have no documented scientific or medical expertise", or non-reputable websites that spread invalid lies and rumors about the safety of Aspartame? 

Well, I just so happen to know a few of these internet sites. One of them is a scientific database government website, called PubMed.gov. This one website contains over a hundred articles that discusses scientific findings about Aspartame. You would be surprised how many negative findings there are!
Here is just one article.

Vestibulocochlear toxicity in a pair of siblings 15 years apart secondary to aspartame: two case reports.


University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Tulsa, 1111 S. St. Louis Ave., Tulsa, OK 74120-5440, USA. paul-pisarik@ouhsc.edu



Aspartame may have idiosyncratic toxic effects for some people; however, there are few case reports published in the medical literature. We present two case reports in a pair of siblings, one with a vestibular and the other with a cochlear toxicity to aspartame. The cochlear toxicityis the first case to be reported, while the vestibular toxicity is the second case to be reported.


A 29-year-old white female had a 20-month history of nausea and headache, progressively getting worse with time and eventually to also involve vomiting, vertigo, and ataxia. She was extensively evaluated and diagnosed with a vestibular neuronitis versus a chronic labyrinthitis and treated symptomatically with limited success. In response to a newspaper article, she stopped her aspartame consumption with total cessation of her symptoms. Fifteen years later, her then 47-year-old white brother had a 30-month history of an intermittent, initially 5-10 minute long episode of a mild sensorineural hearing loss in his right ear that progressed over time to several hour episodes of a moderately severe high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss to include tinnitus and a hypoesthetic area in front of his right tragus. After a negative magnetic resonance scan of the brain, he remembered his sister's experience with aspartame and stopped his consumption of aspartame with resolution of his symptoms, although the very high frequency hearing loss took at least 15 months to resolve. For both, subsequent intentional challenges with aspartame and unintentional exposures brought back each of their respective symptoms.


Aspartame had a vestibulocochlear toxicity in a pair of siblings, suggesting a genetic susceptibility to aspartame toxicity. Even though the yield may be low, asking patients with dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, or high-frequency hearing loss about their aspartame consumption and suggesting cessation of its use, may prove helpful for some.

Another great website to get reliable health related information is Life Extension. lef.org

Yet another website I really like and consider reliable is Truth In Labeling. truthinlabeling.org
It briefly discusses aspartame but mainly focuses on MSG. 

A really great website I turn to for loads of great info is natural news. http://www.naturalnews.com/
They have pertinent information on all sorts of stuff!

A great website that just shows you all the ingredients and gives it an overall score is called Good Guide. http://www.goodguide.com/
They have a major database of pretty much everything that is on the store shelf. This can help you make the right decision on what products to purchase. Definitely check them out!

So this information should help everyone make the right decision whether to buy a product with Aspartame in it. Of course you are your own person and can decide what to put in your body, but if you are pregnant or have small children I would consider there young minds and bodies and the effects that might occur before giving them Aspartame laced products.

Furthermore, with so much uncertainty surrounding an artificial sweetener that clearly has negative results in lab animals and some humans, would it not be safe to assume that this product may have an impact on you the consumers health?

There are natural alternatives to  help remedy the consumers need for a zero calorie sweetener. Perhaps instead of drinking a diet soft drink, why not have a glass of water? Or if you need a caffeine fix. Why not have a glass ice tea or a cup of coffee? Does it have to be sweet? This are questions that should be pondered and there are plenty of alternatives to living a healthier life with out artificial or other manufactured products that can cause harm to the human body.

I hope that this helps you make the right decision and you will enjoy the journey through life more and with less risk of causing harm to the body you have been blessed with. 

Names of Ingredients That Contain Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG)1

***Information provided by the Truth in Labeling Campaign***

Everyone knows that some people get reactions after eating the food ingredient monosodium glutamate --reactions that include migraine headaches, upset stomach, fuzzy thinking, diarrhea, heart irregularities, asthma, and/or mood swings.  What many don’t know, is that more than 40 different ingredients contain the chemical in monosodium glutamate (processed free glutamic acid) that causes these reactions.  The following list of ingredients that contain processed free glutamic acid has been compiled over the last 20 years from consumers’ reports of adverse reactions and information provided by manufacturers and food technologists.

Names of ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid:

Glutamic acid (E 620)2,  Glutamate (E 620)
Monosodium glutamate (E 621)
Monopotassium glutamate (E 622)
Calcium glutamate (E 623)
Monoammonium glutamate (E 624)
Magnesium glutamate (E 625)
Natrium glutamate
Yeast extract
Anything “hydrolyzed”
Any “hydrolyzed protein”
Calcium caseinate,  Sodium caseinate
Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
Autolyzed yeast
Textured protein
Soy protein, soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate
Whey protein, whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Anything “…protein”

Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid:

Carrageenan (E 407)
Bouillon and broth
Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
Anything “ultra-pasteurized”
Barley malt
Pectin (E 440)
Anything “enzyme modified”
Anything containing “enzymes”
Malt extract
Soy sauce
Soy sauce extract
Anything “protein fortified”
Anything “fermented”

The following are ingredients suspected of containing or creating sufficient processed free glutamic acid to serve as MSG-reaction triggers in HIGHLY SENSITIVE people:

Corn starch
Corn syrup
Modified food starch
Lipolyzed butter fat
Rice syrup
Brown rice syrup
Milk powder
Reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%)   
most things low fat or no fat  anything Enriched
anything Vitamin enriched 

 (2) E numbers are use in Europe in place of food additive names.

(1) Glutamic acid found in unadulterated protein does not cause adverse reactions.  To cause adverse reactions, the glutamic acid must have beenprocessed/manufactured or come from protein that has been fermented. 

Low fat and no fat milk products often contain milk solids that contain MSG and many dairy products contain carrageenan, guar gum, and/or locust bean gum.  Low fat and no fat versions of ice cream and cheese may not be as obvious as yogurt, milk, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc., but they are not exceptions.

Protein powders contain glutamic acid, which, invariably, will be processed free glutamic acid (MSG).  Individual amino acids are not always listed on labels of protein powders.

At present there is an FDA requirement to include the protein source when listing hydrolyzed protein products on labels of processed foods.  Examples are hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed pea protein, hydrolyzed whey protein, hydrolyzed, corn protein. If a tomato, for example, were whole, it would be identified as a tomato. Calling an ingredient tomato protein indicates that the tomato has been hydrolyzed, at least in part, and that processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is present.

Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are relatively expensive food additives that work synergistically with inexpensive MSG. Their use suggests that the product has MSG in it. They would probably not be used as food additives if there were no MSG present.

MSG reactions have been reported from soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics, where MSG is hidden in ingredients with names that include the words "hydrolyzed," "amino acids," and/or "protein."  Most sun block creams and insect repellents also contain MSG.

Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are potential sources of hidden MSG and/or aspartame, neotame. and AminoSweet (the new name for aspartame). Aspartic acid, found in neotame, aspartame (NutraSweet), and AminoSweet, ordinarily causes MSG type reactions in MSG sensitive people. (It would appear that calling aspartame "AminoSweet" is industry's method of choice for hiding aspartame.) We have not seen Neotame used widely in the United States. 

Aspartame will be found in some medications, including children's medications. For questions about the ingredients in pharmaceuticals, check with your pharmacist and/or read the product inserts for the names of “other” or “inert” ingredients.

Binders and fillers for medications, nutrients, and supplements, both prescription and non-prescription, enteral feeding materials, and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals, may contain MSG.

According to the manufacturer, Varivax–Merck chicken pox vaccine (Varicella Virus Live), contains L-monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed gelatin, both of which contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) which causes brain lesions in young laboratory animals, and causes endocrine disturbances like OBESITY and REPRODUCTIVE disorders later in life.  It would appear that most, if not all, live virus vaccines contain some ingredient(s) that contains MSG.

Reactions to MSG are dose related, i.e., some people react to even very small amounts. MSG-induced reactions may occur immediately after ingestion or after as much as 48 hours.  The time lapse between ingestion and reaction is typically the same each time for a particular individual who ingests an amount of MSG that exceeds his or her individual tolerance level.

Remember: By food industry definition, all MSG is "naturally occurring." "Natural" doesn't mean "safe."  "Natural" only means that the ingredient started out in nature, like arsenic and hydrochloric acid.