Article posted 24/01/05

Health and Diet - The Lethality of Artificial Sweeteners
by David Webb

Today, the sweeteners sucrose and saccharin remain as controversial as ever, and the debate over whether or not they represent a cancer hazard to the public continues to rage.

Saccharin has long been a traditional alternative for those on diets, but it has been dogged from the outset with its own health concerns. Saccharin is a synthetic, white crystalline powder, which, in its commercial state is 350 times as sweet as sucrose. It has no nutritional value and is not easily digested by the body.

Saccharin officially assumed the 'carcinogen' title in March 1977, when a rodent study in Canada produced an excess of bladder tumours in the male animal. The US National Toxicology Program elected to put saccharin on its 'cancer causing' list - formally declaring it an 'anticipated human carcinogen.' Cyclamate, an earlier version, had been banned in 1970 for similar reasons.

The American Food and Drug Administration, relented in the face of public pressure, but mandated that saccharin should carry a warning label.

Aspartame can be found the world over under the brand names Nutrasweet, Equal, Spoonful and Equal-Measure. Aspartame was discovered by accident in 1965, by a chemist working for the GD Serle Company. The original approval as a sweetener for public consumption was blocked over concerns about both aspartame's safety and GD Serle's research practices. Aspartame received approval for dry goods in 1981 and as a sweetener for carbonated beverages was granted in 1983, despite growing concerns over its neurological effects. In 1985, GD Serle was purchased by pharmaceutical giant Monsanto. Since then, Serle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company were created as separate corporate identities.

According to researcher Alex Constantine in his essay entitled "Sweet Poison", 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. Dr Olney, a prominant neuroscientist, found that an excess of aspartate and glutamate, two chemicals used by the body as neurotransmitters to transmit information between brain neurons, could kill neurons in the brain by allowing too much calcium to collect in the neuron cells to neutralise acid. This neurological damage led Dr Olney to label aspartate and glutamate 'excitotoxins', in that they 'excite' or stimulate the neural cells to death.


Side-effects laid at the door of aspartame poisoning include fits, convulsions, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, ALS, memory loss, hormonal problems, hearing loss, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, AIDS dementia, brain lesions and neuro-endocrine disorders.

Aspartame comprises two chief trouble-makers:

Phenylalanine is an amino acid used by the brain, that comprises 50% of aspartame. People suffering from the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolise phenylalanine and an excess of this amino acid builds up in the brain, leading to a decrease of serotonin levels, bringing on emotional disorders and depression.

Menthanol, also known as wood alcohol. The poison methanol is a 10% ingredient of aspartame, which is created when aspartame is heated above 30'C, for example in the preparation of processed foods. Methanol oxidises in the body to produce formic acid and the deadly neurotoxin, formaldehyde. Methanol is considered by America's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as ".a cumulative poison, due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidised to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic."

A one litre carbonated beverage, sweetened with aspartame, contains around 56mg of methanol. Heavy consumers of soft drinks sweetened with aspartame can ingest up to 250 mg of methanol daily, especially in the summer, amounting to 32 times the EPA warning limit.

Dr Joseph Mercola, nutrition and health researcher, is no lover of aspartame: "In 1991, the National Institutes of Health listed 167 symptoms and reasons to avoid the use of aspartame, but today it is a multi-million dollar business that contributes to the degeneration of the human population, as well as the deliberate suppression of overall intelligence, short-term memory and the added contribution as a carcinogenic environmental co-factor."

In the final analysis, your body just wants to ask one question about what you feed it. "Can I use this material to build cells to replenish my systems?" Sucrose, saccharin and aspartame are incompatible with this process and have been shown to work against the body. Thus, these materials are incompatible with life.

Knowing about what we put into our bodies is just as important as knowing about the chemicals we don't want to put onto our bodies through our personal care products.

Author: David Webb
Aromatherapist/Massage Therapist, author of Athletic Man, and company director of

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The information contained in this article was printed with the permission of Phillip Day, author of the book 'Health Wars' and 'The ABC's of Disease', printed by Credence Publications.

1.Mercola, Joseph Sugar Creates Free Radicals and Reduces Vitamin E Levels, 27th August 2000.

2. Lee and Cerami Annals of the New York Academy of Science, "The Role of Glycation in Aging" #663, pp.6370

3.M Fields Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "Effect of Copper Deficiency on Metabolism and Mortality in Rats Fed Sucrose or Starch Diets", #113, 1983, pp1335-1345

4.Yudkin, Kang and Bruckdorfer British Journal of Medicine, "Effects of High Dietary Sugar", #281, 1980, p.1396

5.Glinsman, Irausquin and Youngmee "Evaluation of Health Aspects of Sugars Contained in Carbohydrate Sweeteners", Report from FDA's Sugar Task Force, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Washington DC. 1986, p.39

6.Goldman "Behavioural Effects of Sucrose on Preschool Children", Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, #85, 1985

7.Whelan, Elizabeth The Sweet and the Sour News about Saccharin, American Council on Science and Health, 17th May 2000



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Location: Feature Articles / Diet: Artificial Sweeteners - Saccharin