Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Health Hazards of Aspartame

I have never been a fan of artificial sweeteners.  To me, they taste funny and have a horrible after taste.
Turns out that funny taste and horrible after taste are for good reason.  Aspartame also know as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful and Equal-Measure was approved for dry goods in 1981 and carbonated beverages in 1983.  Aspartame has been touted as being a low-calorie sweetener that tastes just like sugar, is 200 times sweeter than sucrose and can benefit people with losing weight and keeping blood sugars levels in check as well as a few other supposed benefits.  But facts are streaming in from various different reputable sources that paint a very different picture of the artificial sweetener.  Turns out Aspartame isn't as good for us as we were meant to believe.  Here are a few facts about Aspartame that you should be aware of:

What is Aspartame made of?
In a nut shell Aspartame is made of Aspartic Acid (40%) Phenylalanine (50%) and Methanol (10%).

Aspartic Acid is an amino acid which taken in excess can cause a significant raise in blood plasma levels of aspartate and glutamate which in turn can cause excessive levels of neurotransmitters in areas of the brain. The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons.  This excessive long-term exposure to excitatory amino  acid damage can lead to problematic contribution factors to many chronic diseases such as Multiple sclerosis, Memory loss, Parkinson's disease, Hypoglycemia, ALS, Hormone problems, Dementia and more.  

Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain.  At normal levels Phenylalanine will not adversely affect your health, but when ingesting large amounts of Aspartame by drinking it increases the Phenylalanine levels in the brain.  This Phenylalanine over load can cause the brain to not produce serotonin which in turn can cause emotional disorders such as depression.  A very high Phenylalanine level in the brain can even be lethal.

Methanol (aka Wood Alcohol) is a deadly poison.  Methanol is gradually released in the small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounters the enzyme chymotrypsin.  Methanol breaks down into 
formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin.  Symptoms from methanol poisoning include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis.

Aspartame is not something to be messed with.  As you can tell from from what Aspartame is made of it is certainly not good for you let alone have any health benefits and yet we consume it in massive quantities everyday.  If you are drinking lots of diet soda or using a lot of artificial sweeteners to replace regular sugar please consider stopping immediately.  If you really can't break the sweet tooth there are several ways in which to get the sweet without all of the nasty chemicals that can cause severe health problems.  You could try using honey, real maple syrup, rice syrup and even agave nectar.  As with all sweeteners using them in moderation is key to achieving goals.  So the next time you are tempted to drink that diet soda beverage or grab that packet of artificial sugar for your morning coffee think about the consequences this decision could have on your health.  Is it really worth the risk?               


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