Thursday, February 21, 2013

Friend or Foe; Do you think Artificial Sweeeners play a role in Fibromyalgia and other Invisible Illnesses? Lets Weigh in on the Topic.

Do you consume artificial sweeteners of any kind either by drinking diet soda or in the foods we eat? The Aspartame also known as Nutra Sweet, Equal, and Spoonful, in the diet soda may be hurting you.  In a recent article that I read suggested that if you see sugar free on the label, to leave it alone, don’t drink or eat anything because Aspartame is very dangerous.  It explained that the reason it is so dangerous is that when the temperature of the sweetener, exceeds 86 degrees a chemical change takes place, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants.

“The methanol toxicity mimics, among other conditions, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus. Many people were being diagnosed in error. Although multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence, Methanol toxicity is! Systemic lupus has become almost as rampant as multiple sclerosis, especially with Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi drinkers. The victim usually does not know that the Aspartame is the culprit. He or she continues its use; irritating the lupus to such a degree that it may become a life-threatening condition. We have seen patients with systemic lupus become asymptotic, once taken off diet sodas.
In cases of those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, most of the symptoms disappear. We've seen many cases where vision loss returned and hearing loss improved markedly.
This also applies to cases of tinnitus and fibromyalgia. During a lecture, I said, 'If you are using ASPARTAME (Nutra Sweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc) and you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting, pains, numbness in your legs,
Cramps, Vertigo, Dizziness, Headaches, Tinnitus, and Joint pain. Unexplainable depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss you probably have ASPARTAME poisoning!' People were jumping up during the lecture saying,' it. I have some of these symptoms. Is it reversible?”

There is a seemingly endless list of side effects from aspartame ingestion. Since it was discovered, scientists have found adverse effects through experimentation including brain tumors, headaches, vision loss, and many other neurological problems. They have also reached conclusions about the causes of these adverse affects. In 1994, a report was released that listed 92 symptoms associated with aspartame ingestion and said that aspartame accounted for 75 percent of all adverse reactions reported to the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System.

In another article,  Possible Side Effects of NutraSweet,  I found the following: Some of the 92 long-term and immediate adverse effects of aspartame ingestion are:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Asthmatic Reactions
  • Bloating, Edema (Fluid Retention)
  • Blood Sugar Control Problems (Hypoglycemia or Hyperglycemia)
  • Brain Cancer (Pre-approval studies in animals)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Burning eyes or throat
  • Burning Urination
  • Can't think straight
  • Chest Pains
  • Chronic cough
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Death
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive Thirst or Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Feel unreal
  • Flushing of face
  • Hair Loss (Baldness) or Thinning of Hair
  • Headaches/Migraines dizziness
  • Hearing Loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hives (Urticaria)
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Hysterical pregnancy
  • Impotency and Sexual Problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Infection Susceptibility
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Itching
  • Joint Pains
  • Laryngitis
  • "Like thinking in a fog"
  • Marked Personality Changes
  • Memory loss
  • Menstrual Problems or Changes
  • Migraines and Severe Headaches (Trigger or Cause From Chronic Intake)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Numbness or Tingling of Extremities
  • Other Allergic-Like Reactions
  • Panic Attacks
  • Phobias
  • Poor memory
  • Rapid Heart Beat
  • Rashes
  • Seizures and Convulsions
  • Slurring of Speech
  • Swallowing Pain
  • Tachycardia
  • Tremors
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Vision Loss
  • Weight gain

In addition, aspartame can mimic symptoms or worsen the following diseases:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS)
  • Diabetes and Diabetic Complications
  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Birth Defects
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Lymphoma
  • Lyme Disease
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Depression and other Psychological Disorders
So what causes these problems? Scientist believe that when aspartame is ingested it breaks down into 3 potentially harmful products:

1.      Phenylalanine

2.      Aspartic Acid

3.      Methanol

  • There is also concern over aspartame forming diketopiperazine in liquids when stored for a long time.

Having read this I started a search on the internet looking for other articles on this point.  I found a few that countered the above statement; however there were many more that confirmed the above.  The original article I read went further stating,

“Diet soda is NOT a diet product! It is a chemically altered, multiple SODIUM (salt) and ASPARTAME containing product that actually makes you crave carbohydrates. It is far more likely to make you GAIN weight! These products also contain formaldehyde, which stores in the fat cells, particularly in the hips and thighs. Formaldehyde is an absolute toxin and is used primarily to preserve 'tissue specimens.' Many products we use every day contain this chemical but we SHOULD NOT store it IN our body! The study further stated that children should never drink or eat anything with aspartame in it. There have been many cases where the child suffered neurological disturbances. 

‘The study has found that some physicians, who believed that they had a patient with retinopathy, in fact, had symptoms caused by Aspartame. The Aspartame drives the blood sugar out of control. Thus diabetics may suffer acute memory loss due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are NEUROTOXIC when taken without the other amino acids necessary for a good balance.
Especially with diabetics, the Aspartame passes the blood/brain barrier and it then deteriorates the neurons of the brain; causing various levels of brain damage, Seizures, Depression, Manic depression, Panic attacks, uncontrollable anger and rage. Consumption of Aspartame causes these same symptoms in non-diabetics as well. Documentation and observation also reveal that thousands of children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD have had complete turnarounds in their behavior when these chemicals have been removed from their diet.’

As I thought about the claims in the article I wondered why is this still on the market. Why hasn’t the FDA recalled it. Then I read more and in the ending of the article it stated that the problem was:

“There were Congressional Hearings when Aspartame was included in 100 different products and strong objection was made concerning its use. Since this initial hearing, there have been two subsequent hearings, and still nothing has been done. The drug and chemical lobbies have very deep pockets. Unfortunately, MONSANTO'S patent on Aspartame has EXPIRED! There are now over 5,000 products on the market that contain this deadly chemical and there will be thousands more introduced. Everybody wants a 'piece of the Aspartame pie. The bill would also institute independent studies on the known dangers and the problems existing in the general population regarding seizures, changes in brain chemistry, neurological changes and behavioral symptoms. The bill was killed. It is known that the powerful drug and chemical lobbies are responsible for this, letting loose the hounds of disease and death on an unsuspecting and uninformed public. Well, you're informed now!"

The other articles I read basically said the same thing.  I could only find one article that stated a counter argument.  According to this article, it says: “Evidence does not support links between aspartame and cancer, hair loss, depression, dementia, behavioral disturbances, or any of the other conditions appearing in websites. Agencies such as the Food Standards Agency, European Food Standards Authority, and the Food and Drug Administration have a duty to monitor relations between foodstuffs and health and to commission research when reasonable doubt emerges. Aspartame's safety was convincing to the European Scientific Committee on Food in 1988 but proving negatives is difficult, and it is even harder to persuade vocal sectors of the public whose opinions are fuelled more by anecdote than by evidence. The Food Standards Agency takes public concerns very seriously and thus pressed the European Scientific Committee on Food to conduct a further review, encompassing over 500 reports, in 2002. It concluded from biochemical, clinical, and behavioral research that the acceptable daily intake of 40 mg/kg/day of aspartame remained entirely safe—except for people with phenylketonuria.”

So as I understand the second article is telling me that the first article is misleading and a scare tactic. Well as long as I don’t consume more that 40 mg/kg a day.  That is unless of course if you have phenylketonuria, then any amount is unsafe. Hmmmmm…it really makes me wonder whether the 40 mg/kg is safe for those of us that have invisible illnesses.  And I wonder what it means that aspartame causes weight gain, thus is part of a cause for obesity.  Both articles state that the aspartame makes one hungrier therefore added weight gain. That for those that cannot exercise much or at all are certainly going to add weight, just as though some of our medications also have the side effect of weight gain. 

My next thought was how the 40 mg/kg looks in an actual product. I couldn’t tell you how much aspartame is in sodas or other foods so I googled the question and the first article came up as the following which I found on the Nutra Sweet web page.

How much aspartame is contained in various products?

Below is the approximate aspartame content in several product categories. For specific information regarding individual products, the manufacturer should be contacted, as exact formulations differ with each manufacturer.

Product Category

Serving Size

Aspartame Content

Carbonated Soft Drinks

12 ounces

180 mg

Gelatin Dessert

4 ounces

95 mg

Powdered Soft Drink

8 ounces

120 mg

Hot Chocolate

6 ounces

50 mg


4 ounces

25 mg

Frozen Novelty

2 - 3 ounces

50 mg

Fruit Drink (10% juice)

6 ounces

70 mg

1 mint

1.5 mg

1 vitamin

4 mg

Ice Cream

4 ounces

50 mg


8 ounces

124 mg


1 stick

6-8 mg

I think there is enough of a variety in the above to get a clear picture on the amount one can consume if they are not paying attention to the amount of aspartame in the products we buy.  And how easily one could consume more that the 40 mg/kg daily as suggest in the article.


In addition, I found the following article during my search titledl  Killer or Sweet Poison Message - Internet/Facebook Rumor. I am only including an excerpt. Use the resource listed below to find the entire article


"Aspartame is currently FDA approved. The FDA, after extensive studies, has concluded that Aspartame is not dangerous and is not responsible for the reactions outlined in the rumors. However many have continued to attack both the FDA and those who produce or endorse the sweetener, even going as far as asserting that the initial FDA approval process of Aspartame was "tainted" and their results inaccurate.
This was further fueled by a chain email that circulated virally accredited to someone by the name of Nancy Markel (of which the message above is largely based upon) that asserts that Aspartame is potentially lethal and should not be consumed, as well as making many of the assertions we mentioned in the paragraphs above. However this email is generally considered an anonymous hoax - no one by the name Nancy Markel has ever come forward to confirm the authenticity of the letter, instead it is understood that the email was an altered version of messages left on Internet forums. Additionally many food experts have
debunked the claims made in the letter as both "misleading" and "baseless".
It should also be pointed out that the story in the message above, about the author’s sister’s illness and how she began to feel better after avoiding Diet Soda, is almost certainly false. No matter what stance one takes on the Aspartame controversy, the assertion in the story that the ailed wheelchair-bound sister was able to walk only 32 hours after she stopped drinking Diet Soda is wholly unrealistic. In
Ultimately, however, the FDA, after many further studies, still insist that the sweetener is safe, stating in a
press release ...To date, however, the agency has not been presented with scientific information that would support a change in our conclusions about the safety of aspartame.

Also note the FDA is by far not the only body that have approved Aspartame....

Of course every person has the choice to consume - or indeed to avoid - any food that they like. However messages like the one above are baseless and certainly contain many falsities and thus should not be circulated.

P.S. Yes some people may be sensitive to Aspartame. Some may get headaches or migraines or feel sluggish if they consume it. Same as with sugar, salt, caffeine or any one of thousands of different additives that are added to food and drink every day. Stopping such consumption can thus stop these symptoms from occurring. Aspartame causing detrimental symptoms in a minority of people is not the subject of this article.


What does this say/mean to us, those that fight invisible illnesses? I will let you decide, but please leave a comment. Everyone would love to know what you think.





1.          BMJ. 2004 October 2; 329(7469): 755–756. doi: 10.1136/bmj.329.7469.755
    2.    Aspartame and its effects on health    Copyright© 2004, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.

3.      Sweet Killer article on Facebook

4.      Article No: 1672

5.      The NutraSweet Company;  

6..We.      Possible Side Effects of NutraSweet:



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