by Mike Adams

extracted from Grocery Warning

from Scribd Website




One of the dangers of eating everyday foods and groceries is turning to products that contain artificial chemical sweeteners.


Sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame, and sucralose are all made of artificial chemicals and are suspected of promoting serious health disorders, primarily neurological ones.





Of all the chemical sweeteners that are still legal (cyclamates were banned years ago), aspartame by far has the worst record.

It is my opinion, after reviewing an enormous amount of medical and research literature, that monosodium glutamate, aspartame, and other excitotoxin dietary additives pose an enormous hazard to our health and to the development and normal functioning of the brain.


To continue to add enormous amounts of excitotoxins to our food is unconscionable and will lead to suffering and ruined lives for generations to come. The civilized world, especially the United States, has become the largest experimental laboratory in history.
- Russell Blaylock, M.D., Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills

Aspartame is used as an artificial sweetener in a wide variety of foods and beverages. It’s usually proudly proclaimed right on the label as "Nutrasweet." To truly understand the story of aspartame, however, you have to look behind the label and examine the history of this sweet-tasting chemical.

Aspartame was accidentally discovered in 1969 by James Schlatter, a biochemist trying to find a cure for stomach ulcers. He just happened to lick his thumb, the story goes, and was impressed by the sweetness of the chemical.


Russell Blaylock, author of Excitotoxins, goes on to explain what happened next:

From this serendipitous discovery was born a business that would reap $736 million in sales for the NutraSweet® Company in 1988 alone. By 1989, G.D. Searle & Company, the manufacturer of NutraSweet®, had reached a profitability that put it ninth on the Fortune 500 list.


Despite concerns over the safety of this new sweetener, including brain tumor induction in experimental animals, seizures, precipitation of headaches, and an adverse effect on the developing brain, the FDA approved its use as an artificial sweetener. Sales began to grow immediately. The NutraSweet® company spent over $60 million on advertising alone during its first three years.

NutraSweet® hit the market at just the right time. Americans had become weight conscious and were looking for a sugar substitute, and it replaced the recently outlawed cyclamate. Soon, it surpassed saccharin in sales. In fact, NutraSweet® played a large role in making the soft drink business one of the fastest growing businesses in what had been a stagnant enterprise.


Americans were guzzling diet colas under the mistaken belief that sugar consumption was the primary cause of obesity. But they were unaware of the serious health effects of excess aspartate consumption.


Early testing shows aspartame to cause brain tumors

The fact that the FDA eventually approved aspartame seems to be due more to political pressure (and the FDA’s collusion with private industry) than from any serious scientific study of the safety of aspartame. In fact, no long-term human safety trials were ever conducted.


Of the tests that were conducted, some rather frightful results appeared:

The first experiments done to test the safety of aspartame before its final approval in 1981 disclosed a high incidence of brain tumors in the animals fed NutraSweet®. In fact, this study was done by the manufacturer of NutraSweet®, G.D. Searle. In this study, 320 rats were fed aspartame and 120 rats were fed a normal diet and used as controls.


At the end of the study, 12 4of the aspartame fed rats had developed brain tumors, while none of the control rats had. This represented a 3.75 percent incidence of brain tumors in the rats fed aspartame, which was twenty-five times higher than the incidence of spontaneous brain tumors developing in rats (0.15 percent)

When Dr. John Olney pointed out these findings to the FDA "Aspartame Board of Inquiry" he was told that the high incidence of tumors was the result of spontaneous development of brain tumors in rats. That is, that some rats develop brain tumors naturally, just as humans do.


Dr. Olney reviewed the incidence of spontaneously occurring brain tumors in rats and found that out of seven studies using a total of 59,000 rats, only 0.08 percent developed brain tumors - the aspartame fed rats had a forty-seven fold higher incidence.

It became obvious that the G.D. Searle company was trying desperately to protect their potential billion dollar plus money maker. They claimed that more brain tumors were found because they searched the pathological slides so diligently. But, they searched just as diligently in the control rats and found none.


Besides, neuropathologists examining the slides later stated that the tumors were large enough to be seen with the naked eye.
- Russell Blaylock, M.D., Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills

Had the FDA done its job and actually demanded sufficient testing of aspartame, it would have almost certainly considered it too dangerous to approve for long-term human consumption.

"Had it not been for some fancy footwork by those in power in the FDA," explains Blaylock, " never would have [been approved]. Early experiments using low, medium and high doses with aspartame all found dramatic tumor increases in test animals.


These included brain, pancreas, and breast tumors, and tumors of the testes, thyroid and prostate. Experiments also demonstrated a direct correlation between intake quantity and tumor incidence."



Aspartame begins to generate medical complaints

Regardless of the reasons for its approval, aspartame quickly became the world’s most popular artificial chemical sweetener and founds its way into widespread use.


Although this certainly generated enormous profits for its manufacturer, it also had the effect of raising red flags in the minds of some rather observant doctors who began to notice patterns in their patients:

Dr. H. J. Roberts of West Palm Beach, Florida, is a dedicated medical doctor who has done much research on the adverse effects of aspartame. He has identified a number of what he calls "aspartame diseases." In his June 2002 article in the Journal of Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Dr. Roberts lists a number of neurological problems produced by aspartame.


Of 1,200 patients, 43 percent had headaches; 31 percent had dizziness and unsteadiness; 31 percent had confusion and memory loss; 13 percent had drowsiness and sleepiness; 11 percent had major epileptic convulsions; 3 percent had minor epileptic attacks and "absences of the mind"; 10 percent had severe slurring of speech; 8 percent had tremors; 6 percent had severe "hyperactivity" and "restless legs"; 6 percent had atypical facial pains.


He reports that after cutting out the sweetener from the diet of these people, they improved; some were freed of their symptoms.


As you might know, methyl alcohol and formaldehyde damage to the brain cells and the optic nerve is irreversible.
- Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D., Water for Health, for Healing, for Life

Before long, the FDA was flooded with health complaints from aspartame. More than 7,000 complaints of adverse reactions to aspartame have been filed with the FDA. This accounts for around 75 percent of all reactions to food substances received by the FDA.


It’s astounding: a single ingredient accounts for 3/4 of all the complaints received by the agency, and yet Americans continue to consume aspartame in alarming quantities: more than 17 pounds per person per year at present.

Of the thousands of adverse reactions [to aspartame] reported to the FDA, most concerned abnormal brain function, i.e., depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of the sense of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, and memory loss.


Also included were a number of chronic illnesses, including brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.
-Carol Simontacchi, The Crazy Makers



Aspartame byproducts - chemicals so toxic they threaten the environment

But why does aspartame potentially cause these brain cancers and other neurological disorders?


The answer rests in the byproducts of aspartame consumption. During the process of digestion in the human body, aspartame breaks down into methanol (an alcohol) and aspartic acid.


The methanol, in turn, poses a severe health risk to humans:

Methyl alcohol is a powerful toxin that is carefully regulated by the EPA. Recent studies have found that even low doses can be quite harmful to cells, especially to DNA. When methyl alcohol is consumed it is converted in the cells to formaldehyde and formic acid, both potent toxins.


Formic acid is the poison used by the fire ant that causes such intense pain. Formaldehyde is used as a preservative, and in the past, as an embalming fluid. It is also a known carcinogen.
-Russell Blaylock, M.D., Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life

Formaldehyde, you may remember from high school science classes, is the pungent liquid in which laboratory specimens are preserved. No person in their right mind would drink formaldehyde, and yet people who drink soft drinks containing aspartame are indirectly doing exactly that.


And the consequences can be quite severe:

One of the breakdown products of aspartame, an excitotoxin, is formaldehyde. Using a radioactive tracer method, it has been clearly demonstrated that the formaldehyde formed from aspartame accumulates near the DNA in cells, resulting in numerous deletions and strand breaks in the nuclear material.


Even more frightening is the finding that the damage is accumulative, so that even drinking one diet cola a day can produce significant genetic damage. There are also several reports of severe aspartame addiction, characterized by the daily consumption of a gallon or more of aspartame-sweetened beverages.
-Russell Blaylock, M.D., Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life

Making matters worse, soft drink companies put their liquid products containing aspartame in containers made of aluminum.


When this aluminum - a known neurotoxin - is combined with aspartame, the results are multiplied:

In the case of diet drinks in aluminum cans, the very brain-toxic aluminum fluoride compound co-exists with multiple toxins found in aspartame, thus creating the most powerful government-approved toxic soup imaginable. With the strong association between aluminum, excitotoxins, aluminum fluoride complexes and Alzheimer’s disease, it would be completely irresponsible to encourage people to consume this toxic mixture.


Yet, this is done literally billions of times every year in advertising. It is important to remember that the aluminum can has been around for only about three decades, and most toxin-related diseases take years of accumulation to produce the full clinical expression of the disorder.
-Russell Blaylock, M.D., Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life


Aspartame implicated in neurological disorders and diseases

The vast majority of conditions and side effects resulting from aspartame are neurological ones. That’s no surprise, since methanol is toxic to nerve cells.


The primary conditions now being blamed on aspartame are:

  • Brain tumors

  • Dizziness, confusion

  • Seizures and convulsions

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Blindness

Doctors, authors and researchers who have studied this issue regularly warn their patients to avoid aspartame.


In Reversing Diabetes, Dr. Julian Whitaker states:

What about artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame? I recommend that you avoid this chemical additive like the plague. It is broken down in the body into harmful components, including formaldehyde (a known toxin and carcinogen), formic acid (the poison in ant stings), and methanol (a nervous system toxin also known as free methyl alcohol).


High intake of aspartame has been linked with a number of adverse effects, including headache, vision loss, seizures, mood disorders, and other nervous system problems.

The idea that aspartame can induce blindness in humans is especially intriguing, given the high incidence of retinal damage (nerve damage in the eyes) experienced by many diabetics.


Perhaps not so coincidentally, diabetics also tend to consume enormous amounts of aspartame in their quest to avoid the refined sugars that would only worsen their diabetes.


But in avoiding sugar, they may actually be accelerating their own blindness:

Diabetics who drink large amounts of aspartame-sweetened drinks are more likely to go blind. Aspartame is composed of the excitotoxin, aspartic acid, as well as methanol (also a known eye toxin) and the amino acid, phenylalanine. Given this evidence, why, then, do the American Diabetes Association and thousands of doctors encourage their diabetic patients to use aspartame?


At least where the American Diabetes Association is concerned, it may have something to do with the fact that the organization has received large monetary contributions from Monsanto - maker of NutraSweet®!
-Russell Blaylock, M.D., Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life

That last sentence is notable.


The ADA does, indeed, have a close financial relationship with the makers of Nutrasweet. It’s no surprise to learn that the ADA heavily promotes the use of aspartame and works to suppress information critical of aspartame while also stalling the approval of safer alternatives such as stevia (an herbal sweetener that will be discussed in detail later).



Flying blind with aspartame: pilots can’t see their instrument panels

One group of professionals who are quite aware of the dangers of aspartame (and its potential to alter nerve system function) are pilots.

"A number of individuals had their driver or pilot licenses revoked or suspended because of aspartame-associated impaired vision, convulsions, or confusion - depriving them of employment," says Dr. J.H. Roberts in Aspartame - Is It Safe?

He goes on to report the following:

A young Air Force pilot told the Senate hearing held on November 3, 1987 that he suffered a grand mal seizure while consuming up to one gallon of an aspartame beverage daily. There had been no recurrence over the ensuing two years of abstinence. Nevertheless, he was permanently grounded because of the diagnosis of an "idiopathic partial seizure disorder."

That account just scratches the surface, however:

One group of professionals most concerned about aspartame usage is airline pilots. In 1988, the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network installed a private hot line to receive inquiries from pilots who are in jeopardy of losing their flying licenses because of seizure episodes from the use of aspartame. Since 1988, more than six hundred calls have been made to the confidential hot line.


One caller noted that "after just two cups of NutraSweetened hot chocolate, a pilot experienced blurred vision so severe he was unable to read instruments on his panel and very narrowly avoided a tragic landing. Safely on the ground, he related his story to the coworkers in his office. Two of them recounted similar symptoms experienced after brief exposure to aspartame."
-Carol Simontacchi, The Crazy Makers


Aspartame and Alzheimer’s disease

There is considerable discussion that aspartame may also induce or accelerate Alzheimer’s disease, which is a nerve disorder characterized by confusion, loss of memory, and other symptoms that sound quite similar to the symptoms currently being blamed on aspartame.

High levels of excitotoxins within the brain appear to play a major role in Alzheimer’s disease. It is essential that individuals with a strong family history of Alzheimer’s disease and those having had a stroke or high blood pressure avoid excitotoxin food additives.


The simplest way to do this is to restrict foods from your diet that contain excitotoxin taste enhancers such as MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and aspartame.
- Russell Blaylock, M.D., Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills


Aspartame and heat

Aspartame is also known to break down more quickly when exposed to heat. According to some accounts, as little as 86 degrees (F) will cause aspartame to break down into free methyl alcohol (methanol).


Note that the temperature of the human body is higher than 86 degrees which means that, according to this, aspartame always breaks down into methanol when consumed by any living, breathing human being:

As aspartame passes through the digestive tract, it is digested into methanol or wood alcohol, which happens most readily when aspartame is heated (as when it is part of a "food product" or is improperly stored at high temperatures, as often happens in warehouses in hot climates). When heated above eighty-six degrees, free methanol is produced and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.


One liter of an aspartame-sweetened beverage can produce about fifty-six milligrams of methanol. When several of these beverages are consumed in a short period of time (one day, perhaps), as much as two hundred fifty milligrams of methanol are dumped into the bloodstream, or thirty-two times the EPA limit.

Symptoms of 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 (inflammation of the nerves).


According to the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network information, "The most well known problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage, and blindness."
-Carol Simontacchi, The Crazy Makers

In this way, a human being who consumes a six-pack of diet soft drinks made with aspartame is actually a walking EPA violation. That person technically carries enough methanol in their own body to qualify as toxic waste and be subjected to federal environmental laws.


(I find it fascinating that it’s illegal to dump methanol into rivers and streams, but it’s perfectly legal to dump it into the bodies of consumers.)



Aspartame and cancer

Aside from all the seizures, brain tumors, blindness and other nervous system disorders associated with aspartame consumption, there is additional evidence that aspartame may promote cancer.


In one study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology in 1993 (Mutagenic activity of peptides and the artificial sweetener aspartame after nitrosation), researchers found that aspartame shows strong mutagenicity (cancer potential) when nitrosated in the stomach with the help of the digestive acids secreted by the stomach.

The primary conclusion of the study is as follows:

The time-course study of Trp-Trp nitrosation showed the production of at least two mutagens: a potent but unstable mutagenicity was seen at very short nitrosation times and a more stable but weaker effect was obtained after more than 60 min of nitrosation.


Not only the absolute specific mutagenicity but also the nitrite dependence of the nitrosation reaction and the stability of the nitroso product must be taken into account in determining the risk posed by endogenous nitrosation of foods in the human stomach.


Protein power authors change stance on aspartame

Two of the best known authors on health, Michael R. Eades and Mary Dan Eades, authors of The Protein Power Lifeplan and other nutrition books, used to actually recommend aspartame to their readers.


Their position changed, however, upon reviewing the scientific evidence.

Now they stand squarely against aspartame and strongly caution their readers to avoid it. As they explain it:

First were claims that because the body breaks down the dipeptide molecule (a linkage of two amino acids) into methanol (wood alcohol), a known toxin that can cause blindness, and formaldehyde, a known cancer-causing agent, the product posed significant safety risks to the public.


Subsequent to the publication of Protein Power, however, scientific papers came to our attention ... that caused us to review and ultimately to reverse our stance on this sweetener. We now feel that aspartame may pose significant hazards to the brain and nervous system and we no longer recommend its use. Here’s why we no longer recommend this sweetener and, furthermore, actively discourage its use.

Aspartame differs from other types of artificial sweeteners in that it is a dipeptide, a molecule made by joining two amino acids together; in other words, it’s a tiny protein fragment. It can enter the bloodstream intact and find its way through the circulation to a vulnerable area of the brain called the bare area, where it can gain entry to the brain.


Why is that a problem?


The brain is quite picky about what it lets in and what it keeps out. Surrounding virtually the entire brain, a structure called the blood-brain barrier shields the brain from direct bloodstream access, allowing only certain ions and nutrients to pass. In the bare area, however, the barrier skips a spot, and here the brain can be vulnerable to entry of unwanted substances that once inside may stimulate the brain abnormally, an effect called excitotoxicity.


Such is the case for aspartame; this sweetener --along with other similar molecules, most notably MSG (monosodium glutamate), the food additive and flavor enhancer so pervasive in processed foods - behaves as a brain excitotoxin. Its chemical structure allows it to fit into a receptor within the brain called the NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptor, triggering such overstimulation in the nerve cell that it dies. In other words, the brain cell literally becomes excited to death.


Certainly we use only a small percentage of our brain in thinking and functioning, but shouldn’t we want to keep all of it that we can? And besides, certain areas of the brain, such as the hippocampal area, which is involved in memory, are quite sensitive to these kinds of toxic insults.

Reports in the medical literature suggest that in susceptible people, consuming aspartame may result in such symptoms as mood disturbances, sleep disturbances, headaches, dizziness, short-term memory loss, fuzzy thinking, and inability to concentrate. And what’s more that the excitotoxic effect may permanently damage the brain and nervous system.


The possible risks to your brain simply aren’t worth it. Our advice - if you must have more sweetness than a tiny amount of honey, use the natural sweetener stevia.


Outraged at the FDA

With all of this in mind, there seems to be plenty of justification for outrage at the FDA for allowing this nerve toxin to continue to be sold and consumed in tremendous quantities.


Blaylock says it best:

As a neurosurgeon I see the devastating effects a brain tumor has, not only on its victim, but on the victim’s family as well. To think that there is even a reasonable doubt that aspartame can induce brain tumors in the American population is frightening. And to think that the FDA has lulled them into a false sense of security is a monumental crime.

And yet the FDA says there is a "safe" level of aspartame consumption that won’t harm people.


But at the same time, it enforces absolutely no requirement that food and beverage manufacturers list the amount of aspartame used in their products, thereby making it impossible for even the most determined consumers to add up their aspartame consumption for any given day.

As a result, people are consuming aspartame in quantities that far exceed even the FDA’s fictional "limit."

Because aspartame is found in so many products, it is very easy to overdose without realizing it. A child meets the FDA maximum safety limit by drinking only 5 cans of diet soda per day; a 150-pound adult would exceed the limit by drinking 16 cans.


This sounds ridiculous (how many people drink 16 cans of diet soda each day?), but when you take a vitamin pill with aspartame, eat your breakfast cereal and hot cocoa with aspartame, have some aspartame-sweetened gelatin and a soft drink for lunch, chocolate pudding with aspartame for dinner dessert, and maybe another soda, it adds up very quickly.


Part of the problem with the current labeling for aspartame is that the actual amounts used do not have to be listed, so you really have no idea how much aspartame you are consuming.
- Debra Lynn Dadd, Home Safe Home

If you know anything about the FDA, you’re probably not surprised with all this. That agency is primarily concerned with protecting the profits of corporate giants and pharmaceutical companies, not in protecting consumers.


It’s no surprise, then, that the "official" position of both the FDA and the American Medical Association is perhaps the epitome of medical misinformation:

"The American Medical Association has agreed with the FDA and many other regulatory agencies around the world that NutraSweet is safe for consumption by people of all ages, including children and pregnant women."

It’s just like the title of the book, "Toxic Sludge Is Good For You!" Really, that’s the title of a book about the public relations tactics of food and medicine companies. With all of this evidence available, to suppose that aspartame is safe for human consumption is ludicrous.


To stand behind its promotion to pregnant women and young children is nothing less than criminal.

It goes without saying that the breast-feeding mother needs to avoid aspartame, monosodium glutamate, and other chemicals known to induce brain damage. Just as these substances cross the placental barrier, they cross into the breast milk and the blood-brain barrier, passing directly into your baby’s brain to inflict its subtle damage.
-Carol Simontacchi, The Crazy Makers


Spinning the truth about aspartame

With all of the brain tumors, blindness, nerve damage, and other disorders apparently being caused by aspartame, the chemical’s manufacturer was facing a growing public relations challenge.


After a considerable search, I was able to get my hands on a fascinating account of the thinking that was going on behind the scenes at Monsanto (which then owned the Nutrasweet brand) from none other than one of Monsanto’s public relations managers.


I located this in the book, Trust Us We’re Experts, which details how the PR industry engages in lies and distortions to protect their corporate clients from accountability.


The account:

Speaking at a November 1996 PR trade conference, Farrell described his experience managing the image of chemical giant Monsanto’s artificial sweetener, aspartame (trade name Nutrasweet).


The product was having a hard time winning public acceptance, he said, because of "emotional and seemingly illogical responses" from the public.

"This was important to our company because we were seeking to grow our franchise outside the accepted context of diet," he explained.

In order to understand the public’s resistance, Monsanto hired a psychologist.

For years, Farrell said, the company had described Nutrasweet as "an artificial sweetener." But the word "artificial," it realized, "conjures up cancer, headaches, rat studies, laboratories, dueling scientists, allergies, epilepsy, you name it, none of which are very appetizing."


Referring to Nutrasweet as a "sugar substitute" was also a mistake.

"People don’t like it when you claim to be like sugar," Farrell said, because "memories of sugar take them back to their childhood, a simpler time when there was less to worry about and sugar was a sweet treat, a reward... Our own words were defining our product in a manner that created thoughts of being unnatural, unsafe, unsweet and led people to conclude that we believed Nutrasweet was better than the most beloved food product in history."

The psychologist also advised them that,

"the American public admires and takes great pride in discoveries and innovations gained through hard work."

Armed with this knowledge, Nutrasweet created "sweetspeak."


According to Farrell,

"Words such as ‘substitute,’ ‘artificial,’ ‘chemical,’ ‘laboratory,’ ‘scientist’ were removed forever from our lexicon and replaced with words such as ‘discovered,’ ‘choice,’ ‘variety,’ ‘unique, ‘different,’ ‘new taste.’"

Using sweetspeak, Farrell gave an example of how Nutrasweet now responds to the question: How do you know aspartame is safe?


The answer:

"Aspartame was discovered nearly 30 years ago. Since that time, hundreds of people in our company and elsewhere around the world - people with families like yours and mine - have devoted themselves to making sure consumers can be confident of their choice when they choose the taste of Nutrasweet.


People have looked at our ingredient in every which way possible, and we encourage that because we want consumers to be comfortable when they choose Nutrasweet. That has been our commitment for nearly three decades, and it will always be our commitment. You can feel confident choosing products that contain our ingredient, but if you don’t, you have other choices."

Now if that’s not serious spin, nothing is.

Additional supporting quotes about the health consequences of aspartame For your continued exploration on this topic, here are some additional quotes on aspartame from the books I’ve mentioned here.


Additional resources are offered below.

Finally, the artificial sweetener, aspartame contains multiple breakdown products and primary components (phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol) that have been shown to increase free-radical production. For example, formaldehyde and formic acid formed from the breakdown of methanol, have been shown to severely damage DNA, most likely by such a mechanism.


Another component, aspartic acid, is an excitotoxin that increases free-radical generation within the brain, especially the parts related to memory and fine coordinated movements. ...In addition, the metabolic breakdown of aspartame yields about a dozen toxic compounds, some of which have been associated with cancer induction and alteration of brain function.
-Russell Blaylock, M.D., Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life

Scientific testing to establish aspartame’s safety prior to FDA approval resulted in brain tumors and grand mal seizures in rat studies, and depression, menstrual irregularities, constipation, headaches, tiredness, and general swelling in human test groups. Furthermore, during human evaluations, two of the subjects underwent cancer operations.
- Debra Lynn Dadd, Home Safe Home

Before it is absorbed, aspartame also produces formaldehyde and methyl alcohol in the intestines. The quantity depends on the amount of sweetener taken in sodas or in cooked food. Formaldehyde and methyl alcohol have been cited as producing eye-nerve damage - to the point of even causing blindness.
- Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D., Water for Health and Healing

Other side effects of Nutrasweet include headaches, depression, bladder irritation and feeling as if there is a continual need to urinate. The latter symptoms are often thought to be involved with a urinary tract infection. Visual symptoms appear to be more common with aspartame than MSG and some cases of blindness have been reported. The relationship of these visual symptoms with the methanol content of Nutrasweet has been suggested as a cause.
- George R. Schwartz, M.D., In Bad Taste: The MSG Symptom Complex

We are now aware of enough credible scientific research detailing the dangers to memory, sleep, and mood, and much more that may be suffered by some people using this sweetener that we discourage its use.
-Michael Eades, M.D., and Mary Dan Eades, M.D., The Protein Power Lifeplan

The problem with aspartame lies in over-consumption and the fact that phenylalanine alone (without its companion amino acids) is not a normal part of the diet. Large doses of phenylalanine are toxic to the brain and can cause mental retardation and seizures in people with phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic disorder.


For others, the sweetener may cause chemical changes in the brain that could contribute to headaches, depression, mood swings, high blood pressure, insomnia, and behavior problems. In addition, it could cause your appetite-control center to malfunction, so your diet drinks could be causing more harm than good. Aspartame may also cause birth defects and is not recommended for use by pregnant women.
- Debra Lynn Dadd, Home Safe Home


Where to learn more about aspartame

To learn more about not only aspartame, but also the hazardous health effects of other excitotoxins that people may be ingesting in dangerously high quantities, I highly recommend the books I’ve mentioned here:

  • Aspartame: Is It Safe?

  • In Bad Taste

  • Excitotoxins

  • The Crazy Makers

  • Home Safe Home




Acesulfame-K, yet another artificial chemical sweetener

Another popular chemical sweetener is acesulfame potassium, also called acesulfame-K.


Here’s a brief definition and history of this artificial sweetener:


Acesulfame Potassium. In a petition filed in September 1982, the American Hoechst Corporation asked for approval to make this nonnutritive sweetener, which is two hundred times sweeter than table sugar, for use in chewing gum, dry beverage mixes, confections, canned fruit, gelatins, puddings, custards, and as a tabletop sweetener. The petition, including fifteen volumes of research studies, said the sweetener is not metabolized and would not add calories to the diet.


The FDA approved acesulfame K on July 27, 1988, for use in dry food products and for sale in powder form or tablets that can be applied directly by the consumer. It has about the same sweetening power as aspartame, but unlike aspartame, has no calories. Hoechst obtained approval to use acesulfame K as an ingredient in liquids, baked goods and candies.


The sweetener had previously been approved for use in twenty countries including France and Britain. Pepsi and Coca-Cola use it in Europe and Canada in their diet drinks.
- Ruth Winter, M.S., Food Additives

While acesulfame-K generates nowhere near the number of health complaints as aspartame, it was nonetheless shown to produce tumors in animal testing.


As described by Dr. H. J. Roberts in Aspartame: Is It Safe?:

Several potential problems associated with the use of acesulfame have been raised. They are based largely on animal studies since testing on humans remains limited.

  • It stimulates insulin secretion in a dose-dependent fashion, thereby possibly aggravating reactive hypoglycemia ("low blood sugar attacks").

  • It apparently produced lung tumors, breast tumors, rare types of tumors in other organs (such as the thymus gland), several forms of leukemia, and chronic respiratory disease in several rodent studies, even when less-than-maximum doses were given.



The FDA says the tumors are perfectly "normal"

The FDA, which no reasonably informed person would really trust on matters like this in the first place, says that the increase in tumors during the acesulfame-K testing was "normal." That is, those tumors would have appeared anyway.

But many in the scientific community strongly disagree. In fact, the FDA has been the subject of harsh criticism from a long list of researchers, doctors and scientists who rightly claim that acesulfame-K simply has never been subjected to stringent safety testing. The testing that has been conducted so far is not only insufficient, these experts say, but downright flawed.

Here’s a collection of quotes from several cancer experts commenting on the safety testing of acesulfame-K testing.


These quotes are reprinted from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) website:


Sample quotes from cancer experts’ letters on acesulfame-K testing

"These data do not permit an assessment that use of this compound would provide a reasonable certainty of no harm. In fact, there are indications that it might be carcinogenic.


I would strongly suggest that a properly designed long term study in both mice and rats be conducted before Acesulfame K be considered for approval."

David Rall, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service (retired). Former director, United States National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS/NIH). Former director, United States National Toxicology Program (NTP).

"There are several serious flaws in the design and conduct of the tests.... The only conclusion one can draw from looking at the available results is that acesulfame should be tested in a proper way before an evaluation of its carcinogenicity can be made."

-- Lorenzo Tomatis, M.D. Former director, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a World Health Organization agency.

"These studies are inadequate to assess the carcinogenic potential of the compound. In the face of inadequate study design and conduct, which would tend to obscure a carcinogenic effect if it were there, nevertheless there was at least equivocal evidence for carcinogenic activity in several studies."

Franklin E. Mirer, Ph.D. Director, Health and Safety Department, United Automobile Workers. Member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

"I find the actual studies and the data analysis seriously flawed. New tests, properly designed, executed, and analyzed are needed. The usual consequence of poor tests is to make it harder to find any effects.


Despite the low quality of the studies reported to you, I find that there is evidence of carcinogenicity."

Marvin Schneiderman, Ph.D. Former Associate Director of Field Studies and Statistics at the National Cancer Institute.

"...(T)he available data on this compound is at best incomplete.... Because of the widespread consumption of ‘diet’ colas in the U.S., I concur with your position that FDA should require comprehensive testing prior to granting this additional use.


The data on carcinogenicity are not negative.... (T)he findings are consistent with potential carcinogenicity."

Ellen K. Silbergeld, Ph.D.

Professor of Epidemiology and Toxicology, University of Maryland at Baltimore. Former member, Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

"...(I)t is clear that questions arising in earlier --extremely inadequate --studies about the additive’s cancer-causing properties have not been resolved....


Given the likelihood that millions of Americans would be exposed to acesulfame were the additive to be approved for beverage use, the questions about its carcinogenicity must be resolved before a scientifically supportable regulatory decision can be made."

Sidney M. Wolfe,
M.D. Director, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. Former member of the NCI Carcinogenicity Clearinghouse.

In summary, although acesulfame-K might be less dangerous to you than aspartame, it remains a substance that should only be used sparingly.


I agree with Eades’ advice on this chemical sweetener:

In the same general chemical family as saccharin, acesulfame potassium (or, as it’s usually called, acesulfame K) is potentially fraught with the same problems relative to cancer causation and the stimulation of insulin release.


Thus far no human data has emerged (just as in the case of saccharin) to indict the sweetener as carcinogenic.


Like saccharin, it’s noncaloric and stable in liquids and in cooking. Is it safe to use? In small amounts infrequently, probably so. But once again, our advice to Protein Power LifePlan Dilettantes and Hedonists who might choose to use acesulfame K is to use it sparingly!
-Michael Eades, M.D., and Mary Dan Eades, M.D., The Protein Power Lifeplan

As it turns out, the real test of acesulfame’s safety is being conducted right now - on the entire population.


It will take years, perhaps decades, for the true long-term results of acesulfame consumption to become apparent. In the meantime, my advice is to avoid acesulfame and stick to more natural sweeteners as discussed below.




The Sucralose question

The chemical sweetener now rapidly gaining market share is sucralose.


Sucralose is sold under the brand name Splenda. Its use is accelerating rapidly around the world, but is it safe?

Approved for use by the FDA in 1998, sucralose doesn’t have the track record to prove either its safety or potential dangers to human health. Of the artificial chemical sweeteners discussed here, sucralose has the least number of critics, and it hasn’t produced the avalanche of complaints caused by aspartame.

Once again, Eades’ takes a conservative approach to sucralose:

Sucralose remains stable, withstands heat in cooking, measures like sugar, to most people tastes remarkably like sugar with no detectable aftertaste, and contains no absorbable calories - so it looks perfect.


But is it? It’s tempting to say so, but based on the track record of its forerunners, we’d have to say let’s wait and see.


To date, it looks like the most promising sugar substitute yet formulated, and it’s the one we currently use ourselves when we occasionally need an extra bit of sweetness (which is actually a pretty rare occurrence for us).
Michael Eades, M.D., and Mary Dan Eades, M.D., The Protein Power Lifeplan

Like aspartame, sucralose was approved by the FDA after minimal testing on human beings. Although sucralose is made from real sugar, it is manufactured by altering the chemical structure of sugar molecules to include chlorine atoms. Chlorine is not a chemical substance that belongs in the human body.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of The No-Grain Diet and, states the following about sucralose safety:

Few human studies of safety have been published on sucralose. One small study of diabetic patients using the sweetener showed a statistically significant increase in glycosylated hemoglobin (Hba1C), which is a marker of long-term blood glucose levels and is used to assess glycemic control in diabetic patients.


Research in animals has shown that sucralose can cause many problems in rats, mice, and rabbits, such as:

  • Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40 percent shrinkage)

  • Enlarged liver and kidneys

  • Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus

  • Increased cecal weight

  • Reduced growth rate

  • Decreased red blood cell count

  • Hyperplasia of the pelvis

  • Extension of the pregnancy period

  • Aborted pregnancy

  • Decreased fetal body weights and placental weights

  • Diarrhea


The sucralose manufacturer spins the study results

Interestingly, in a fairly typical "Eat toxic sludge!" response by the manufacturer regarding the shrunken thymus glands experienced by the test animals eating sucralose, they claimed that the taste of sucralose was unpleasant to the animals and they simply stopped eating.


The shrunken thymus glands were due to starvation, if you can believe that! (Adapted from the Sucralose Toxicity Information Center).

The fact is, the jury is still out on sucralose. This substance has in no way been proven safe, and the fact that it uses chlorine atoms makes it highly suspect in the first place.

This lack of evidence of safety for sucralose is especially troublesome for people trying to avoid added sugars, since so many of the available sugar-free now contain sucralose as their sweetener. So it may not be easy to digest, so to speak, when I suggest that sucralose is yet another chemical sweetener that should be avoided by those wishing to protect their health.


The available evidence doesn’t necessarily prove that sucralose is harmful to health, but neither has it been proven safe for long-term human consumption, and until this product is sufficiently tested for widespread human consumption, I don’t think it’s wise to volunteer as a human guinea pig to field test a chemical substance that’s manufactured with chlorine atoms.



Additional resources for learning more about sucralose

Sucralose Toxicity Information Center:
Dr. Joseph Mercola’s site on sucralose:




The inside story on the FDA and the politics of saccharin

I won’t say much about saccharine, since few manufacturers use this ingredient anymore. It has been clearly shown to promote cancer and its use by food manufacturers has dropped to almost nothing.


Informed consumers already know that saccharin is to be completely avoided, even though the FDA mysteriously decided in 2000 that saccharin no longer posed a cancer risk and eliminated the cancer warning label requirement on products containing it.

Saccharin has been extensively tested for carcinogenicity in rodents over the last three decades.


Approximately a dozen conventional feeding tests, one dating back to 1948, have shown that saccharin is carcinogenic in both rats and mice. While each of these individual studies may be criticized on some grounds or other, taken together the weight of evidence proving the carcinogenicity of saccharin is overwhelming.


In addition to cancer of the urinary bladder in rats, the predominant tumor induced in these tests, saccharin also induced cancers in female reproductive organs, and lymphomas or leukemias in both mice and rats.
-Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., The Politics of Cancer

Interestingly, the FDA actually tried to ban saccharin, which is unusual for the agency.


In this case, it were thwarted by political pressure from the Calorie Control Council, an industry group made up of saccharin manufacturers and food manufacturers using saccharin.


There were profits to protect, after all!

The FDA proposed restricting saccharin to fifteen milligrams per day for each kilogram of body weight or one gram a day for a 150-pound person.


Then, on March 9, 1977, the FDA announced the use of saccharin in foods and beverages would be banned because the artificial sweetener had been found to cause malignant bladder tumors in laboratory animals.


The ban was based on the findings of a study sponsored by the Canadian government that found that seven out of thirty-eight animals developed tumors, three of them malignant. In addition, one hundred offspring were fed saccharin, and fourteen of them developed bladder tumors. In contrast, one hundred control rats were not fed saccharin and only two developed tumors.


At the time of the FDA’s announcement, five million pounds of saccharin were being consumed per year, 74 percent of it in diet soda, 14 percent in dietetic food, and 12 percent as a tabletop replacement for sugar. There was an immediate outcry, led vociferously by the Calorie Control Council. The FDA, urged by Congress, then delayed the ban.


The moratorium on prohibiting the use of saccharin has been extended indefinitely.
Ruth Winter, M.S., Food Additives

In the year 2000, the FDA, under even more pressure from industry, dropped saccharin from its official list of substances that may cause cancer. Now, food products using saccharin don’t have to print the cancer warning.


By simply "redefining" saccharin, the FDA, which once sought to ban this chemical, has essentially proclaimed the ingredient to be perfectly safe!




Avoid all chemical sweeteners and use stevia instead

Looking at all of these chemical sweeteners, you may think I’m just the bringer of bad news.


It turns out none of these chemical sweeteners have been proven safe for widespread, long-term human consumption. And most have been sufficiently researched to raise important, serious questions about whether they actually contribute to health disorders.

But I want to tell you there is good news yet to come.


The single best alternative sweetener is one not yet approved for use in foods by the FDA: stevia.


Stevia is derived from a plant and has been used for decades throughout the world as a non-calorie alternative sweetener. It contains no chemicals or artificial substances, has virtually no calories, adds nothing to your carbohydrate count, and does not alter blood sugar levels or cause the pancreas to produce insulin.


I’ve been using stevia for years and recommending it to people since 1998. It is the single best alternative sweetener I’ve seen yet and is becoming increasingly available in nutritional supplements and even as standalone products in health food stores.

If stevia is so safe and such a perfect alternative sweetener, then why hasn’t it been approved for human consumption by the FDA? The answer is politics. If you know anything about the FDA, you know that the agency’s demonstrated purpose is to protect the profits of private industry. Approving stevia as a safe ingredient would destroy the profits of the manufacturers of aspartame and sucralose.


Some believe, with good reason, that the FDA has been pressured to avoid approving stevia in order to protect the profits of these chemical companies.

Regardless of politics, as an informed consumer you can use stevia in any way you like. And thankfully, many food manufacturing companies are adding stevia to their products despite the status of the herb held by the FDA.

I’ll talk more about stevia later, but for now I want to bring you back to the main point of this section:

that too many consumers frequently turn to products sweetened with chemical sweeteners, and as a result, they are turning themselves into human guinea pigs and consuming chemicals that have never been proven safe for long-term consumption.

As a person who used to eat refined carbohydrates and who now avoids them, I certainly understand sweet tooth cravings.


I can also tell you that the way to eliminate those cravings, or at least bring them back under control, is to engage in aggressive nutritional supplementation. In my experience and that of many others, sweet tooth cravings are primarily caused by nutritional deficiencies. A lack of certain minerals, including trace minerals, promotes these cravings.

When you do have cravings for carbohydrates, it’s best to turn to foods and drinks that are sweetened with natural sweeteners. Stevia is my favorite, as I mentioned, but there are many others available as well (barley malt extract, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, etc).

You can read my articles on stevia, which will include recommendations on sources, at:




Sugar alcohols

When it comes to ingredients that replace the sweetness of sugar, food manufacturers frequently turn to a class of sweeteners known as sugar alcohols.

These sugar alcohols include ingredients like maltitol, glycerin, mannitol and xylitol. There are some annoying side effects associated with these sugar alcohols, and at least some slight indications of possible health risks from their heavy consumption.


From Food Additives:



Obtained by the hydrogenate from maltose (see). A candidate for a sugar substitute, it has 90 percent the sweetness of sugar and does contain calories.


It has the potential for use in confections and candy coatings. In a cancer study in rats, changes were observed in the adrenal gland, which included increased incidence of both benign and malignant tumors of the adrenal glands in both sexes and a "slight increase" in breast cancer in female rats.


The FAO-WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives did not consider these cancers to be related to treatment. The Committee, however, recommended that the information database on adrenal overgrowth and tumors associated with polyols and other poorly absorbed carbohydrates (see both) be reviewed that the mechanisms of appearance of these lesions and their toxicological significance be assessed at a future meeting.


Formerly made from birch wood, but now made from waste products from the pulp industry. Xylitol has been reported to have diuretic effect but this has not been substantiated. It is used in chewing gum and as an artificial sweetener. It has been reported to sharply reduce cavities in teeth but costs more than sugar.


The reason is that, unlike sugar, it doesn’t ferment in the mouth. Therefore, it is sold for foods that stay in the mouth for some time, such as gum, toffee, and mints. FDA preliminary reports cited it as a possible cancer-causing agent. Xylitol is now used in eleven European countries and the United States and Canada.


It is also used in large amounts in the Soviet Union as a diabetic sweetener. Xylitol was evaluated by the FAO-WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives in Geneva, April 11-20, 1983. On the basis of submitted data, the committee accepted that the adverse effects observed in British studies, in which cancer-prone rats were fed large doses of xylitol, were species-specific and could not be extrapolated to humans.


Therefore, no limit on daily intake was set and no additional toxicological studies were recommended. It can cause stomach upsets when taken in large amounts.


It may be of benefit to diabetics since xylitol metabolization does not involve insulin.

These ingredients come from natural sources (yes, even "wood pulp" is a natural source), but they have a chemical structure that delays digestion and conversion into blood sugar in the human body. In other words, they they won’t raise your blood sugar in the way that refined carbohydrates do.

They do have another side effect, however: in some people, they can contribute strongly to diarrhea or flatulence.


This occurs because even though these sugar alcohols are not converted to carbohydrates, they do pass through your large intestine where your intestinal flora can consume the sugar alcohols and emits various gases as a byproduct of their own metabolism. The results can be extraordinary in terms of the volume of gas coming out of your own body, a phenomenon that has given rise to the phrase "riding the low-carb rocketship."

In my experience, xylitol is especially potent as rocket fuel, which is a shame because I think xylitol is a wonderful alternative sweetener that offers protection against dental cavities as a positive side effect.


Out of these sugar alcohols, xylitol is also the most expensive, which is one reason why you rarely see it used in food products like food bars.

Whether these sugar alcohol sweeteners create a flatulence effect in your own body is something that you may wish to experiment with, preferably over a weekend when you’re not planning any social engagements. When you eat sugar alcohols, these side effects don’t appear until half a day later, and when you stop eating sugar alcohols, you have a one-day lag time before your system returns to normal.


So proceed carefully when consuming these ingredients.

Aside from these rather annoying side effects, sugar alcohols don’t seem to impose any additional health risks to your system. From the research I’ve conducted, that makes them far healthier than any of the artificial chemical sweeteners we’ve previously discussed.


If you find that your system is somehow immune to the gaseous effects of sugar alcohol, these natural sweeteners would be an excellent dietary choice. And even though I still believe that stevia is the best alternative sweetener of all (with none of the rocketship affects of sugar alcohols, by the way) sugar alcohols like xylitol have a far better taste, according to most people.


Xylitol tastes just like sugar, and it has a similar consistency as well.



Summing up the good and the bad of sugar alcohols like xylitol

Let’s review the upside of sugar alcohols:

  • No chemicals

  • Taste almost like sugar

  • Not artificial

  • Fewer calories than sugar

  • Low glycemic index

The downside of sugar alcohols:

  • Diarrhea

  • Flatulence

  • Can be expensive (xylitol)

  • Long-term safety for human consumption not demonstrated

The word of wisdom on sugar alcohols, according to Eades, is once again "caution!"


Here’s the scoop:

Sugar Alcohols. These products, such as xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol, retain the sweet-taste-bud stimulating properties of sugars, but their altered structure prevents their absorption from the intestinal tract. As a consequence, eating them won’t make your blood sugar rise or spur a release of insulin.


Their lack of effect on the blood sugar and insulin metabolism has placed them in the forefront as sweeteners for "diabetic" products, such as candies and chewing gum. In small doses, they appear to be harmless.


As is our usual recommendation with artificial sweetening agents, the bywords are small doses and used occasionally, and for very practical reasons: since they’re not absorbed and pass through with the intestinal contents, they can cause what’s termed an osmotic diarrhea if consumed in large quantities.


Use sparingly!
-Michael Eades, M.D., and Mary Dan Eades, M.D., The Protein Power Lifeplan