Aim for Health

Sweet but Deadly

Aspartame, found in NutraSweet and Equal, could be hurting us all!

By Mary Nash Stoddard

Products carrying Nutrasweet Who are the real villains in today's society? I believe they are the chemical and pharmaceutical companies who knowingly pollute our children's food supply for profit and those in government who aid and abet them.

Aspartame, also known as NutraSweet and Equal, is arguably the most toxic substance in our food supply today. Aspartame disease has become an epidemic in our world that must be recognized and addressed.

How did we get to this point and what do we do about it?

The one constant in the lives of people around the world is the need for food. Everyone has to eat. The legal drug lords (pharmaceutical and chemical companies) capitalize on this and have stealthily assumed control of our food supply, with the active participation of their consorts at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), leaving the poor consumer unprotected and at great risk.

Politics, not Science

It's all about politics - not at all about science. The artificial sweetener aspartame was approved through fraudulent means.

Deaths of lab animals were covered up. Brain tumors, mammary tumors, pancreatic tumors, and uterine tumors went unreported. Discovered as a drug for peptic ulcers in the sixties, aspartame first was approved in 1974. That approval was rescinded before it could get to market, because of the brain tumor issue.


Healthy alternatives to aspartame include turbinado sugar, succanat, honey, maple syrup, rice and barley syrups, fruit juice concentrates, fructose and the herbal sweetener stevia.

At the time, the National Soft Drink Association lodged formal objections with the U.S. Senate, again because of the brain tumor issue. the maker of aspartame, G.D. Searle Company, was being investigated by U.S. prosecutors, but at the last minute, the lawsuit was dropped because the U.S. Attorney, Samuel Skinner, rescued himself and defected to the NutraSweet law firm of Sidley & Austin. Skinner then went on to become head of the U.S. Department of Transportation and eventually chief of staff in President Bush's administration.

Meanwhile, President Reagan's FDA director, Arthur Hull Hayes Jr., approved aspartame for table-top use in 1981, and when it won final approval for use in aqueous solutions in 1983, Hayes quit the FDA and went to work for the NutraSweet public relations firm of Burson Marsteller, for $1,000 a day.

What it is and What is it in?

Aspartame is a toxin whose effects are cumulative. It can be found in over 5,000 products. These include diet soft drinks, sports drinks, gum, coffees, teas, Kool-Aid type drinks, children's vitamins, antibiotics, frozen dairy desserts such as ice cream and yogurts, and much more. It is very difficult to live without consuming aspartame.

Aspartame is an extremely complex molecule. It is 50 percent phenylalanine, 40 percent aspartic acid, and 10 percent methanol. Each of these substances can be dangerous by themselves and even more dangerous as they work together.


Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. Individuals with phenylektoneuric (PKU) lack an enzyme necessary for breaking down and eliminating excess amounts of phenylalanine. In children with this disorder, phenylalanine accumulates to toxic levels (20 - 30 times higher than normal), which gradually causes more and more damage to the developing brain. Approximately 20 million carriers of the PKU gene are also at risk for PKU and do not know it.

Those with PKU should be aware of all sources of phenylalanine in their diets. Human testing has shown that phenylalanine levels in the blood were increased significantly in subjects who chronically used aspartame. (Wurtman and Walker, "Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function," Proceedings of the First International Meeting on Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function, Washington, Dd.C., May 8, 1987).

According to Dr. Louis Elsas, head of genetics at Emory University in Atlanta, the phenylalanine in aspartame can quadruple on the side of the placenta during pregnancy, thereby causing a possible 10 percent drop in I.Q. scores of children born under these conditions.

Disease Mimic

Aspartame not only causes individual symptoms, it can mimic entire syndromes. The CFIDS (chronic fatigue and immune deficiency syndrome) Newsletter calls it the "sweet poison, NutraSweet," because it can mimic the symptoms of CFIDS. It can also cause grand mal seizures. According to H.J. Roberts, M.D., it can cause decreased vision, pain in the eyes, decreased tears, ringing in the ears, hearing impairment, headache, dizziness and unsteadiness, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, sleepiness, slurring of speech, numbness and tingling, tremors, depression, irritability, aggression, anxiety, insomnia, phobias, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, itching, hives, menstrual changes, weight gain, hair thinning and hair loss, urinary burning and frequency, excessive thirst, fluid retention, bloating, increased infection, and even death. It also can mimic epilepsy, brain tumors, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus, Alzheimer's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, Lyme Disease, Graves' disease, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and heart ailments.

Products Containing Aspartame

Aspaartame is now found in over 5,000 products worldwide. It is difficult to provide any listing of these, as the list is in a constant state of flux. Many products vacillate between having it in their formula one week, and not having it the next, or vice versa. The best action to take is to read the labels closely.

Most importantly, phenylalanine can also lead to a lowering of the seizure threshold. Dr. Richard Wurtmand, professor of neuroendocrine regulation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has presented the FDA with data that indicate that aspartame affects brain phenylalanine and tyrosine levels.

Why no action...?

"Eighty-five percent of all complaints registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concern aspartame's adverse reactions."

This could affect the synthesis of neurotransmitters (brain "messengers") and bodily functions. Aspartame act as as a "mind-altering" drug in disturbing the chemical balance of the brain. Aspartame obstructs the production of serotonin, which is a key neurotransmitter that keeps moods levels and sleep patterns normal, and controls the menstrual cycle in woman.

Aspartic Acid

Aspartic acid is a neuroexcitatory amino acid; that is, an amino acid that plays a role in stimulating the nervous system. Aspartic acid caused "silent" lesions - often called "holes in the brain" - in the brains of the lab animals. It also changed the lab animals' DNA - the third generation of pups were born morbidly obese and sexually dysfunctional.

Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, writing in "Excitotoxins: The Tastes that Kills", details the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame. According to Blaylock, excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and myriad of other acute symptoms.

Methanol (wood alcohol)

Methanol is the bond that holds the phenylalanine and aspartic acid together and is perhaps the most dangerous component of aspartame. It is released within ten minutes of consumption.

Very simply, methanol is wood alcohol and is toxic. It is well-known in the literature for doing damage to the eyes, liver, brain, and other organs of the body. Any product that contains methanol should send up a red flag in our minds.

The absorption of methanol into the body is hastened when free methanol is ingested, and free methanol is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 85 degrees F (30 C). This would occur when an aspartame-containing product is improperly stored or is heated.

Methanol breaks down into formaldyhyde (embalming fluid), formic acid (ant sting venom), and diketopiperazine (DKP). All are highly toxic. DKP may just be the most problematic of all, because it has caused brain tumors in lab tests.

John W. Olney, a professor in the department of psychiatry at Washington University's School of Medicine and a neuroscientist and researcher, noticed that DKP, when nitrosated in the gut, produced a compound similar to a powerful brain tumor-causing chemical.

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and causes retinal damage and birth defects and interferes DNA replication. Aspartame can exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's standards for safe levels of formaldehyde ingestion.

One of the arguments that the sweetener industry uses to refute much of this is that the amino acids found in aspartame are natural and are broken down by the body. However, phenylalanine and aspartic acid, when produced synthetically in the lab, do not behave in the same manner as when found in nature. They have been shown to cross the brain's blood barrier. In their natural state, these amino acids are found in perfect balance with all the other ameliorating amino acids. Methanol, when found in nature, is always accompanied by ethanol, which neutralizes its toxic effect. There is no ethanol in aspartame, only methanol.

Aspartame is a prescription for disaster.

A Greater Danger Ahead?

On December 22, 1997, Monsanto (manufacturers of aspartame and artificial bovine growth hormone) applied for a patent to market a new sweetener, based on the aspartame formula, called Neotame. This will be 7,800 times sweeter than aspartame, which is 200 times sweeter than sugar.

Mary Nash Stoddard is a founder of the burgeoning international anti-aspartame movement, with her Aspartame Consumer Safety Network. She is recognized as the foremost aspartame authority (qualifying in courtroom proceedings as an expert witness), and her work has been featured on thousands of radio and television news and talk shows around the world, including Nightline and 60 Minutes.

For US $5 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope, Ms. Stoddard will provide a copy of the aspartame newsletter. Write to the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network Inc., P.O. Box 780634, Dallas, TX 75378; Phone 214-352-4268; Email A comprehensive manual on aspartame, The Deadly Deception, is available for US $25 (US $35 outside the United States) at the above address or at 1-800-969-6050. ACSN's website is http://www.web2,

The article "Sweet but Deadly" is reproduced with the permission of AIM International
© 1997 - present by AIM USA.

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