Aspartame: Sweet or Misery
In an effort to reduce calories and lose weight, many obese or overweight people switch to drinking diet colas and other sugar-free products containing aspartame. Aspartame is widely known by the brand names NutraSweet and Equal, and was approved for use in diet sodas in 1983 after a tenacious and scandalous 14-year battle with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) around safety concerns.
Aspartame's approval and its effect on public health are extremely well-documented:
Take this moment to read (or at least skim) the History of Aspartame for former FDA investigator Arthur M. Evangelista’s gripping, detailed account of aspartame’s discovery, clinical trials and distortion of outcomes data, legal and regulatory battles around scientific evidence that seriously challenged safety (toxicity, carcinogen), misconduct and violations, lawsuits and alleged kickbacks, suspected quid pro quos and conflicts of interest, and how aspartame ultimately came to be approved as a food additive.
As further evidence, read (or skim) Aspartame – The Shocking Story of the World’s Best-Selling Sweetener published in The Ecologist. Reporter Pat Thomas provides the same account of the historical events as Evangelista does.
Indeed, there was – and remains today -- huge market demand by Americans with burgeoning waistlines for a great tasting low calorie sweetener. At the time of its introduction, NutraSweet received rapid uptake because its tasted like sugar and toppled the chemical taste of saccharin – marketed as Sweet ‘n Low and the only sugar substitute available. I was caught-up in the craze like everyone else, following the siren’s song of clever consumer ads by the NutraSweet Co. who in 1984 reportedly spent $30-$40 million on advertising.
I found myself searching out products with the red swirl NutraSweet logo at the supermarket. It was like a beacon guiding me to the “promised land” where I could have my cake and eat it too: Junk food without guilt, without calories, without consequence.
The Consequences of Consuming Aspartame
The toxic long-term effects of aspartame are often dismissed as a "hoax" by the sweetener industry; as for me, I find the credible evidence presented in History of Aspartame, cited above, thoroughly unravels the alarming truth. Further, on his medical and health fraud research website, Evangelista reveals what he calls the true story of aspartame and health: “…aspartame is highly neurotoxic… resulting in injury and death.”
Evangelista goes on to write, “The various independent research completed on aspartame proves that, in part, aspartame was considered a chem-warfare agent, and is a powerful neurotoxin which interacts with, and interferes with, other prescription drug compounds and medications. It is unlike any other food additive compound on the market. Each of its three components is toxic in their own right, potentiating aspartame’s neurotoxicity.”