Whilst many claim that the following is all part of some conspiracy theory and over reaction, it must be remembered that for almost 30 years, the Tobacco industry hid the facts and even their own research which proved that smoking was a major cause of cancer and lung related illnesses.
Chris Ingram, editor of Unionsafety discusses the facts in this article written in a personal capacity:
Ronald Reagan is remembered for many things, but his relationship with Aspartame, Donald Rumsfeld and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA); is certainly not amongst them!
Some 30 years after being given a license to be used in food and drinks as an artificial sweetener; Aspartame, continues to cause concern amongst scientists, medical professionals and members of the public with regard to its safety and the fact that it has been proven as a cause of brain tumours and cancers in rats and subsequently accepted as a known human carcinogen by scientists and medical professionals all over the globe.
Aspartame is also known as, E951, Nutrasweet, Equal, Canderel, Spoonful, Equal Measure, Benevia, NatraTaste, Canderel; and is now re-branded as AminoSweet.
AminoSweet® is the brand name of the low calorie sweetener aspartame produced by Ajinomoto Sweeteners Europe, and is now being promoted as a ‘natural sweetener’ despite the fact there is absolutely nothing ‘natural’ about it.
A research scientist, upon combining two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine (which are never combined in nature), discovered the result tasted just like sugar, and aspartame was born and forced onto the world.
So What is in Aspartame?
In total it is actually made up of three chemicals, all with their own damaging effects on human health:
* Aspartic Acid raises blood plasma levels of glutamate, an excitotoxin, high levels of which kill cells by over-stimulation. Early diagnosis of this is not possible because over 75% of neural cells in a particular area of the brain may be killed before any clinical symptoms of chronic illness are detectable.
* Methanol - wood alcohol - is a highly toxic substance which is speedily absorbed by the body when taken with the other two chemicals. It breaks down into formic acid and the carcinogenic formaldehyde.
Aspartame is used in over 9,000 foodstuffs around the world and in almost every soft drink.
Adverse Health Effects
Indeed, 80% of complaints on food additives, received by the US Food and Drug Administration, are about aspartame.
Diseases triggered include diabetes, MS, lupus, epilepsy, Parkinson's, tumours, miscarriage, infertility, fibromyalgia, infant death, Alzheimer's.
Dr Joseph Mercola, the well-respected nutrition and health researcher in the USA is no lover of aspartame. He is often quoted in debates about the drug:
Despite being marketed as a "diet aid", Aspartame actually makes you FAT, by suppressing the brains reaction to serotonin, the substance which tells you to stop eating when you are full. The result is that you then crave carbohydrates in increasing quantity.
But how did it come to this you may ask:
Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Defence Secretary, was CEO of Searle which made aspartame at the time of Reagan becoming US president. Searle were going through major financial difficulties which could have resulted in the company going out of business – until aspartame was given a license to be used in food and drinks by the FDA.
The FDA was about to ban Aspartame but Donald Rumsfeld, had Ronald Reagan remove Jere Govan, the FDA Commissioner, and replace him with one Dr A.H.Hayes, who approved the product licence.
The health issue arguments surrounding Aspartame have been around for over 30 years and have included the increase of chances of diabetes in individuals who may be genetically predisposed to be at a higher risk of developing this condition, brain cancer and emotional and neurological disorders such as seizures, mood and sleep disorders, anxiety and depression.
Between 1973 and 1990, the incidence of brain tumours in people over 65 had increased by 67% in the US. Brain tumours in all age groups had jumped by 10% in the same period but the greatest increase occurred during 1985 – 1987 and these figures continue to rise.
Suffice to say that it can be found in both diet and non-diet drinks, mints, chewing gum, low-calorie foods and medicines including syrups and antibiotics for children, frozen meals, ready made meals, multivitamins, pharmaceuticals, milk drinks, instant teas and coffees, yoghourt...and lots more ; 5,000+ products, which include Strawberry Ribena, White’s Lemonade, Pepsi Max, Pepsi Diet, Diet Coke, and most soft drinks aimed at children.
In the UK all products labeled as Sugar Free or with "No added sugar" contain aspartame, and it is a requirement to identify Aspartame on the label.
One major drinks manufacturer, known as Coca-Cola knew of the dangers of Aspartame because it originally opposed approval by the FDA. Indeed, its objections were published in the Congressional Record.
In the UK companies such as ICELAND, SAINSBURYS and ASDA-WALMART HAVE NOW BANNED ASPARTAME FROM THEIR OWN-BRAND PRODUCTS.
False And Manipulated Research Results
"We have uncovered serious deficiencies in Searle's operations and practices which undermine the basis for reliance on Searle's integrity in conducting high-quality animal research to accurately determine or characterize the toxic potential of its products," the investigators wrote in their final report.
In July, 1976, Dr. Schmidt testified at a U.S. Senate hearing that he agreed with the task force's conclusions. In 1977, the FDA appointed a second task force that re-examined three of Searle's aspartame tests.
The investigators found Searle had removed possible tumours from experimental animals, had failed to report all tumours discovered, had written experimental protocols partway through tests, had failed to test the stability of aspartame and other test substances, had possibly allowed animals to avoid eating test substances, and had made recording errors showing "dead" animals returning to life.
A Searle pathologist questioned on a key aspartame study told investigators: "You should have seen things when this study was run - there were five studies being run at one time - things were a mess."
In January, 1977, the FDA's chief counsel, Richard Merrill, submitted a 33-page letter to U.S. Attorney Samuel Skinner requesting a grand jury investigation of Searle's apparent violations of U.S. federal laws.
He suggested the poor laboratory practices may have been deliberate policy, "calculated by Searle to minimize discovery of toxicity and/or to allay FDA concern."
Not surprisingly, these findings have been sharply challenged by the sweetener industry, major sweetener users, such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Monsanto, and also by the industry oriented scientific journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology. Other critics included Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Defence Secretary, and earlier CEO of Searle.
Denials And Smokescreens
A legitimate question in response to the stance of the multi-national food industry and the UK's Food Standards Agency that Aspartame is safe, is to ask; then why do products containing either Aspartame or Phenylalanine have to be clearly labeled as such?
Furthermore, given the billions of dollars of profit made by those producing and selling Aspartame world-wide, many feel that that will over ride any scientific studies confirming health risks, if indeed they ever reach public eyes. They site the previous behaviour of Searle and that of pharmaceutical industry giant GlaxoSmithKline accused of bribing doctors in America to prescribe medicines for unapproved uses, involving 10 drugs taken by millions of people with potentially dangerous side effects.
Worthy of note is the fact that both the Food Standards Agency in the UK and the European Food Standards Authority has been criticised for apparent lack of impartiality for having industry lobbyists as part of their boards.
It is argued that to date the outcome of legal, scientific and political enquires, accusations and fudged reports into both Searle and Aspartame, has resulted in a known carcinogen being marketed throughout the world as a safe alternative to sugar.
Not only that, this year the US government are being urged to highly tax the natural product of sugar, with the excuse that sugar consumption in the US is the major cause of diabetes and obesity!
If this happens, Aspartame or as it is now being branded AminoSweet, will be seen as the only so-called ‘natural’ alternative to sugar and as a result will ensure massive profits for the manufacturer Ajinnomoto Sweeteners Europe and its US counterparts.
Unionsafety web editor Chris Ingram commented:
"The controversy over chemical additives in food, drink and children's sweets, including not only Aspartame, but also Saccharin, and Acesulfame-K, will continue no doubt as evidence from consumers as to the ill effects suffered continues to be reported, and whilst scientists continue their research.
It is also interesting to note that Aspartame, unlike other human-made food additives; has its own industry lobby, the Aspartame Information Service.
This begs a question which needs to to be asked:
If Aspartame is purely a safe replacement for sugar, then why is it also added to food and drink which contains vast amounts of sugar already, and why is there a need for a special industry body for Aspartame alone?"
Whilst many say the case against Aspartame is all part of some conspiracy theory and over reaction, and that if a synthetic additive is not banned it is safe to consume, it must be remembered that for almost 30 years, the Tobacco industry hid the facts and even their own research which proved that smoking was a major cause of cancer and lung related illnesses. Further, Asbestos manufacturers knew about the hazards of asbestos seventy years ago - and again this knowledge was hidden from view.
Source: Huffington Post / FSA / Healthy Choices / Earthways / FDA / Are You Diabetic / Ajinomoto Sweeteners Europe / The Globe and Mail (Canada) / Rense / Foodbev / Health Report / Aspartame Info / Food Facts / Natural News / BBC news / Pepsi / Coca-cola /EFSA