Curtain Fall on the Aspartame Follies

By Betty Martini, D.Hum
April 2008


Found in markets under the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, E951, Canderel, and Benevia, aspartame ("APM") has been sold for many years now as a safer sweetener than sugar or saccharin. And since aspartame is made of two amino acids that naturally occur in many foods, it is easy to convince consumers that this "natural" product is safe. Too many years have gone by since aspartame was approved by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") for use as a sweetener, despite convincing evidence presented that this artificial product posed serious safety risks. New awareness of these risks, however, is bringing the curtain down on this charade.

The Risks Were Known at the Time

Listen in on the Senate Congressional Hearing on aspartame recorded in the Congressional Record of May 7, 1985, where Senator Howard Metzenbaum, an outspoken critic of aspartame, said, "G.D. Searle Company has not demonstrated to a reasonable certainty that the use of aspartame in soft drinks will not adversely affect human health as a result of the changes such use is likely to cause in the brain chemistry. The extensive deficiencies in the stability studies conducted by Searle render those studies inadequate and unreliable."

In earlier submissions in 1983 to the FDA, the National Soft Drink Association ("NSDA"), representing American soda makers, emphatically objected to any government approval of the deadly chemical with an extensive, detailed written testimony, including these statements: "Aspartame is inherently, markedly and uniquely unstable in aqueous media. In a liquid, such as a soft drink, APM will degrade as a function of temperature and pH. Higher temperatures and more acidic liquids increase the rate of degradation. . . . The inability to account for as much as thirty-nine (39) percent of APMs decomposition products is significant. With such a high unknown factor, judgments about the safety of APM in soft drinks cannot be made confidently." (1983, 1985; see http://www.gene.ch/gentech/1998/May-Jul/msg00127.html

Aspartame's Metabolic Offspring

What were these unnamed "decomposition products" referred to in the NSDA's objection? They were:
  • Methyl Alcohol: Class-A carcinogen, cumulative poison, narcotic. One ounce is fatal.
  • Formaldehyde: Embalming fluid, kills all living things.
  • Formic Acid: Fire-ant poison, toxic even in minute quantities.
  • Diketopiperazine: Promotes brain tumors.

Amino Acids

There are twenty amino acids in our foods, which buffer each other and are metabolically selected competitively for protein construction. But some are toxic when isolated and unaccompanied by the others. Aspartame contains two synthetic ones that are toxic when isolated.

Aspartic Acid (40% of APM): Like MSG, aspartic acid is an excitotoxin. It can excite neurons to fire at an accelerated rate until they exhaust and die, and it destroys brain cells.

Phenylalanine (50% of APM): Deadly, phenylalanine lowers the seizure threshold and depletes serotonin, triggering psychiatric and behavioral problems. Extremely harmful to the unborn, phenylalanine is neurotoxic, causing abortions, birth defects and mental deficiency, as well as manifold neurological damage.

Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Medical Genetics at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Louis J. Elsas, said in Congressional testimony: "I have spent 25 years in biomedical sciences trying to prevent birth defects caused by excess phenylalanine. Therein lies my basic concern, that aspartame is in fact a well known neurotoxin and teratogen [causes birth defects] which in some as yet undefined dose will .... irreversibly in the developing child or fetal brain produce adverse effects" [November 8, 1987]

Earlier, in a letter submitted by Dr. Elsas to the Committee of Labor and Human Resources on the subject "Nutrasweet: Health and Safety Concerns," dated November 3, 1987 (http://www.dorway.com/dr-elsas.txt), he observed:

  1. "In the developing fetus such a rise in maternal blood phenylalanine could be magnified four to six fold by the concentrative efforts of the placenta and fetal blood brain barrier. Thus a maternal phenylalanine of 150 ÁM could reach 900 ÁM in the developing fetal brain cell and this concentration kills such cells in tissue culture. The effect of such an increased fetal brain concentrations in vivo would probably be much more subtle and expressed as mental retardation, microcephaly or potential certain birth defects.
  2. In the rapidly-growing post-natal brain (children of 0-12 months) irreversible brain damage could occur by the same mechanism."

Show Time and No Refunds

Presented with adversarial testimony and scientific evidence of APM toxicity, the FDA at first denied approval. G. D. Searle Company was desperate but politically savvy, so the company hired Donald Rumsfeld as its CEO. It is said that he then called in his markers and Arthur Hayes was appointed as FDA Commissioner, who approved aspartame over the objections of FDA's own Public Board of Inquiry. The Aspartame Follies Show was on the road!

But an avalanche of spontaneous consumer complaints soon embarrassed the FDA for approving the introduction of a toxin into thousands of foods that are wreaking havoc on the national health. What to do? FDA simply slammed shut the complaint window, and for these last twelve-plus years has denied such a list ever existed. Complain about aspartame and you might just as well report a mugging to the Mafia. Evidently your welfare is less important than the profits of chemical companies whose fees pay a great deal of the FDA's income. The customer is King at FDA.

The Seven Dwarfs Reborn

Remember the "Seven Dwarfs," those seven tobacco presidents swearing to Congress that nicotine is safe? It's harmless like candy or coffee, they testified, and cannot be addictive. Not one of these murderers spent a day in prison regardless of the cemeteries filling up with their victims. Even the chairman of the American Medical Association Board/Trustees, Dr. Lonnie Bristow, challenged them to walk with him through hospital wards to see the dying lung-cancer patients and pulmonary cripples. No takers.

FDA aspartame stooges are their present-day clones, mouthing identical lies: Aspartame is harmless, not addictive, and methyl alcohol is as safe as fruit. Yet not only the FDA but other agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control prattle on about aspartame safety with full knowledge of the carnage they are permitting. "It's the most tested product in history," they claim. I'll say. In a study conducted on seven infant monkeys fed aspartame, five had grand mal seizures and one died. You're the monkey now!

Obesity, Diabetes, and More

The FDA's "Seal of Approval" and the economic incentive of using cheaper aspartame instead of sugar, and advertising "sugar free" slogans, APM spread like bacteria into thousands of foods and drinks. Specifically targeted are healthcare professionals and the weight-control industry for their blitzkrieg of propaganda. In reality, aspartame has caused an epidemic of obesity. Sharon Fowler's study at the University of Texas reported in 2005 used eight years of data and linked diet drinks to obesity. Again, in February 2008, a Purdue study found artificial sweeteners linked to weight gain. Even in the May l985 Senate Congressional Record, Dr. Richard Wurtman's affidavit was quoted wherein he attested that aspartame makes users crave carbohydrates so that they actually gain weight.

Unfortunately, doctors treating diabetics advise it for their patients. Dentists recommend NutraSweet gum & desserts to cut cavities. Dietitians pour it over school lunches. Professional organizations such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association continually run aspartame ads in their magazines and strangle the truth.

The fact of the matter is that aspartame can precipitate diabetes, simulate and aggravate diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy, destroy the optic nerve, cause diabetics to go into convulsions, and even interact negatively with insulin. This is discussed at length in the 1000-page medical text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, by H. J. Roberts, M.D.

The sweetener also binds to calcium as proven in a Norwegian study and is particularly deadly in gum. Because it is really an excito-neurotoxic drug, it works like nitroglycerin under the tongue, goes through saliva like Hitler through France and straight into the brain. Abby Cormack in New Zealand almost died on Wrigley's aspartame gum and made World news last Summer. Today, there is a petition to ban aspartame in New Zealand being circulated by the Safe Food Campaign.

APM's atrocities exceed tobacco's. At least nicotine is voluntary, not mixed into children's sweets and soda pop and thousands of processed foods, even vaccines and pediatric medicines. Aspartame has poisoned the World's food supply! Corporate-neutral research shows the extreme danger presented to our children and us. But when you are as rich as Saudi Arabia you buy universities, doctors, medical journals, and any print or electronic billboard you can get. But it is not working anymore.

Aspartame's 2006 European Obituary

In a market wire dated March 30, 2006, it was announced that the Holland Sweetener Company (HSC) was going to exit from the aspartame business and will terminate its aspartame activities by the end of 2006. "The global aspartame markets are facing structural oversupply," the wire reported, "which has caused worldwide strong price erosion over the last 5 years. This has resulted in a persistently unprofitable business position for HSC. No significant improvements are expected in the near or foreseeable future." (emphasis added) HSC was the largest aspartame producer in Europe. (http://sys-con.com/read/200579_p.htm)

Another company, Merisant, based in the United States but with sales in over 90 different countries, accounts for more than one-third of the estimated $1.2 billion global tabletop sweetener market. Over half of Merisant sales are outside of the United States. Yet even Merisant has lost $50 million a year, dropped a third of its North American sales in 3 years, and is upside down, owing $100 million more than its worth. The aspartame biz isn't sweet any more.

Adding to aspartame's woes in 2006, some 47 Members of Parliament signed on to ban Aspartame! "That this House expresses deep concern over the numerous independent toxicological studies and thousands of subjective reports attesting to the toxic effects of the artificial sweetener aspartame on human health; notes that aspartame, once patented as a biochemical warfare agent, is the synthetically produced methyl ester of a dipeptide which is readily broken down in the gut to release methanol; further notes that in naturally occurring foodstuff methanol is either not released into the body or present together with natural defense mechanisms that mitigate its toxic effects; recognizes that methanol is a well known poison and is further converted into formaldehyde, a class A carcinogen according to the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer; accepts that severe health concerns occur from the gradual accumulation of formaldehyde in the body which cannot be excreted and that further research has shown that long term low level exposure to formaldehyde induces leukemia and nasopharyngeal cancer in humans; acknowledges that of the 166 studies conducted on aspartame's safety deemed relevant to humans, 92 per cent of independently sponsored studies identified one or more problems with aspartame's safety whereas industry-sponsored studies found unanimously in favor of aspartame's safety; and urges the Government to abide by the precautionary principle and make use of Statutes 13 and 16 of the 1990 Food Safety Act to remove aspartame from the permitted list of additives on the UK market."

More Bad News for the Poison

Continued independent scientific studies flow in with the bad news. On February 5, 2008, the New York Times reported in an article entitled "Symptoms: Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda" that, "Researchers have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome - the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels and elevated blood pressure." We have known that for years. All one had to do is pick up Dr. H. J. Roberts medical text, and it is all explained. It also goes into drug interaction - the fact the formaldehyde converted from the free-methyl alcohol embalms living tissue and damages DNA as proven by the Trocho Study, and even how this poison causes sudden death! Dr. Maria Alemany, who did the Trocho Study, wrote on February 12, 2008, "I am very sorry the health of so many people depends on a product that should not be available for human consumption, that is harmful and which long time effects have not been established nor even investigated."

Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon, wrote in Health & Nutrition Secrets To Save Your Life, "So in the case of diet drinks in aluminum cans, the very toxic brain 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." Dr. Blaylock is also the author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Both aspartame experts can be seen in the 2004 aspartame documentary Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World.

Around the World consumers demand that aspartame be removed from the planet. Last year the battle to ban aspartame was in New Mexico, mostly fighting those pro-aspartame lobbyists who just wouldn't tell the truth. Just recently, there was another such battle with Hawaii's bills to ban the poison. In fact, many Hawaiians keep saying, "We want this poison gone." Nobody will stop until Rumsfeld's Plague has been obliterated. Death and disability are simply not acceptable costs of doing business.

There are current efforts to ban aspartame in Hawaii. Two bills were deferred by House and Senate committees but because of the public outcry over the deferments two resolutions were drafted. One by Representative Josh Green, M.D., Chairman of the House Committee on Health, will require either warning labels or a total aspartame ban. It was passed by one House committee and has been submitted to another.

In Senate Resolution 191, it asks the Department of Health and the National Academy of Sciences to review all aspartame studies including independent ones done without funding by the aspartame industry. It requests that the FDA rescind approval of aspartame in U.S. markets, phasing it out in 6-to-12 months. This resolution is by the courageous Senator Suzanne Chun-Oakland. There is such a thunder of moaning and groaning Worldwide by aspartame victims that the manufacturers surely see the writing on the wall. Victims in other States are striving to get similar bills introduced to protect people from this poison.

The two Ramazzini Studies reported in 2005 and 2007 prove aspartame to be a multipotential carcinogen, even in small amounts; and that if a child survives exposure, then cancer may still result. These are two of the most impeccable studies ever done and confirm aspartame is a carcinogen as reported by FDA toxicologist Dr. Adrian Gross over 30 years ago! Aspartame as a poison even causes chemical hypersensitization. There is no use for it at all except as a killer. Jan Kinnard, an informant who was formerly hired as a professional temp to shred aspartame studies, supports these views. She reported on February 24, 2008, about these and other records on aspartame: "They were the lab results from the tested rats and other animals. The results were outrageous. This stuff killed everything it touched."

To add more grist to the mill, the FDA has ignored over 100 independent, scientific peer-reviewed studies showing aspartame toxicity, a petition for ban over 6 years ago, a current amendment based on an imminent health hazard, as well as a letter from 12 toxicologists demanding that the Agency ban the product. Over 30 years ago, FDA toxicologist Dr. Jacqueline Verrett, who also testified to Congress that aspartame has never been proven safe, wrote the book Eating May Be Hazardous To Your Health: The Case Against Food Additives. Even then she summed up by saying, "What can be done to restore to consumers their right to safe food regardless of economic and political interests? . . . Probably the best solution, as some members of Congress have suggested, is to abolish the FDA and start over with a completely new agency free of some of the political pressures. . . . When science and the public interest win out, it is invariably only after the government has been pushed to the wall by consumer advocates and other public pressure."

Worldwide consumer action, alert physicians, and conscientious officials - plus competition - are turning the tide and the aspartame marketplace is drying up.

The AsparTanic has hit the Iceberg!