Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Aspartame: The Bitter Truth About a Popular Sweetener

When you think of aspartame, you probably think of proactive interventions by health and diet enthusiasts looking to cut or decrease the amount of sugar in their diet. Unfortunately, the truth is anything but sweet. Over the last thirty years aspartame has invaded the food industry and is found in foods from A-Z including puddings, soda, gum, dairy products and many other food items. But, the ingredient isn't as innocent as many think. Let's take a look at the facts.

What is Aspartame?   

 Aspartame is a low calorie sweetener that tastes similar to sugar but is many times sweetener than sugar. It is found in many popular American foods such as soda and other carbonated drinks, chewing gum, medicines, soft drinks, and many other common foods. (www.aspartame.net) Possibly due to its immense appeal, many people have concluded that it is harmless; sadly, it is anything but.

Aspartame consists of three main ingredients which in and of themselves raise concern. The first is aspartic acid or aspartate which makes up 40% of the chemical sweetener. Aspartate in the brain acts as a neurotransmitter, which helps transmit nerve impulses and messages from neuron to neuron. However, an excessive amount can kill neurons which can affect intelligence. (Dr. Mercola, "Aspartame: By Far the Most Dangerous Substance added to Most Foods Today")

The next ingredient is Phenylalanine which comprises 40% of aspartame. Phenylalanine is an amino acid usually found in the brain. Phenylalanine excess can cause a depletion of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which can result in depression. Also, for the small number of individuals who can not metabolize phenylalanine, dangerously high levels can accumulate in the brain which can be lethal. (Dr. Mercola, "Aspartame: By Far the Most Dangerous Substance added to Most Foods Today")


Methanol Is the last ingredient in aspartame. Methanol is another name for wood alcohol and it makes up 10% of Aspartame. When methanol is metabolized by the body, it breaks down into formaldehyde, which is used to preserve dead things and is found in embalming fluid. It can cause headaches and migraines and death.

Side Effects of Aspartame
Among the many side effects of Aspartame are: brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, MS, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, Migraines, epilepsy and seizures and stomach disorder. From this list, it can be noted that Aspartame can cause a number of symptoms, with not a few affecting the nervous system.
(Dr. Mercola, "Aspartame: By Far the Most Dangerous Substance added to Most Foods Today")

In Summary
Obviously, it would be safer to examine some other alternatives for healthful and delicious beverages for the health conscious. Such drinks as water, sparkling water, seltzer, fruits and unsweetened teas might be starters. Or, stevia, a low carb sweetener with few calories. Agave also, is another popular sweetener. Both of these sweeteners are gaining popularity among diabetics.

Sources:

Dr. Mercola, "Aspartame: By Far the Most Dangerous Substance added to Most Foods Today"

www.aspartame.net  

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