Introduced into the European food supply 25 years ago, aspartame is in just about “every component of most diet beverages, sugar-free desserts and chewing gums in many countries around the world.” But no matter its name—AminoSweet, Equal, Splenda, Sweet-N-Low—the artificial sweetener’s health risks have long been debated.
“Aspartame has a particularly sketchy history as an artificial substance.”
Said to cause neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors and endocrine disruption, among many other health risks, aspartame was banned by the FDA before a Reagan appointee rigged a committee approve it as a food additive in 1981. Aspartame, which was an accidental discovery by James Schlatter, a chemist who was trying to invent an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical drug back in 1965, is comprised of two amino acids—methanol and phenylalanine.
But according to some studies, ingesting these chemically produced amino acids can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine causing emotional disorders, such as depression, while methanol is broken down into formaldehyde in the body, which is a toxin. Researchers studied the “adverse effects of aspartame” and found it to “trigger” or “worsen” brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia and diabetes.
Furthermore, the hyper-sweet additive has had adverse effects in the fight against obesity. Research proved that by creating foods with aspartame, it tricks our brains into over consuming and training the brain to crave sweets. Therefore, aspartame is contributing to the obesity problem that many countries face.
As consumers, we need to be aware of the potential dangers of artificial sweeteners and know the heath risks associated with such products; it's time to stop aspartame from entering our foods. Consumers are urged to join the fight against artificial sweeteners and tell the FDA to ban aspartame and instead, protect the health of human beings.