Diet Delusion


     I have
always been a health and weight conscious individual. Because my thyroid does
not work, I am automatically prone to weight gain. At the office, I have found
my click amongst those sitting around the lunch table with their salads and and
diet sodas, rather than leaving the office for a burger and fries. Inspite of my
efforts to eat healthy diet and exercise every day, a couple of years ago I
began to experience migranes, dizziness, and symptoms of irritable bowel
syndrome. Of course I visited several internists and finally received a
diagnosis of "Nutra Sweet poisoning" I laid down my diet Pepsi for tea and
water, and the problematic symptoms disappeared almost overnight. I also began
loosing extra pounds without changing my quantity of food consumption
immediately. Bittersweet aspartame is a diet delusion. Controversy has
surrounded aspartame since itís creation in 1879. On a large scale, the public
remains uninformed of the hazards of this popular chemical. Why arenít people
asking "What is this stuff made of, and why is the FDA forced to put a warning
label on every product containing aspartame?" The average diet pop drinker
doesnít realize how much of this chemical he or she is consuming on a daily
basis, or the possible effects aspartame toxicity could have on the body. What
is it? In 1879, while developing new food preservatives, a young Johns Hopkins
chemistry research assistant accidentally discovered that one of the organic
compounds he was testing was intensely sweet. Saccharin he called it, after
sakcharon, the Greek word for sugar. He further learned that it passed through
the body unchanged and was thus a safe artificial sweetener for diabetics. Food
processors, noting that it was 500 to 700 times sweeter than sugar, were able to
cut costs by using it. Even Theodore Roosevelt, a diabetic, championed saccharin
early on. When, in 1907, the chief of the USDA's Bureau of Chemistry fretted
about the safety of saccharin and wanted it banned from canned foods, Roosevelt
was bombastic. "My doctor gives it to me every day. Anybody who says
saccharin is injurious to health is an idiot!" Still, saccharin was banned,
only to be restored during the sugar-short years of World War I. Available as
powders or pills, to say nothing of in a huge variety of processed foods,
saccharin remained popular throughout World War II. Its only drawback was its
bitter metallic aftertaste. Food processors licked that problem by combining
saccharin with cyclamate, another artificial no caloric sweetener. Then in the

1960s came disturbing news. Two different studies suggested that cyclamate
caused cancer in lab rats. Subsequent tests concurred and in 1969 cyclamate was
banned. With no other artificial no caloric sweetener available, saccharin use
soared. Americans were soon scarfing down 2,500 tons of saccharin a year, most
of it from soft drinks. When tests began to suggest that saccharin caused
bladder tumors in lab rats, the FDA moved to limit its use. If the protests
launched by the Calorie Control Council (a group that includes saccharin
manufacturers and users) weren't heard around the world, they were clearly
audible in the halls of Congress. As a result, saccharin won a reprieve in order
that testing might continue, even though some suspected that its continued use
was a violation of the Delaney Clause, which bans known carcinogens in food and
drink. Already Britain has banned saccharin (except as an at-table sugar
substitute) and France permits its use only by prescription. In the United

States, saccharin was deleted from the FDA's generally recognized as safe list
in 1972. Since 1977, hazardous-to-your-health warnings not only have had to be
posted on every item containing saccharin but must also point out that saccharin
"has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals"
(specifically bladder cancers). Those believed to be at greatest risk in general
are young children, pregnant women, white men who are heavy smokers and nonwhite
women. As for the current legal status of saccharin, it is classified by the FDA
as a weak co carcinogen, meaning that it may promote (though not necessarily
cause) tumors. The saccharin product most widely available in the United States
is Sweet'n Low. It is also sold under brand names Equal and the cheaper Natra-Taste
now that the original manufacturerís patent has expired. Calories: 4 per

0.04-ounce (1-gram) packet. Is it possible to gain weight when the label says"diet" on it? According to recent studies it is. Studies have shown that
when their diet is not closely monitored, many people use artificial sweeteners
in addition to sugar products and not instead of sugar products. Therefore, an
increased use of aspartame will not necessarily alter the sugar-craving feeding
behavior of the majority of persons. If they consume a non-sugar, aspartame-
containing beverage at one point in the day, they will simply make up for the
lack of sugar at some other point in the day. Some studies have shown an
increased consumption of sugar due to aspartame (Roberts). In fact, Roberts
showed that outside the confines of the highly structured, supervised
environment, the subjects he surveyed who choose to use artificial sweeteners
actually gained weight. Roberts (1988) showed in his survey of people outside of
the laboratory that 5% of the people reported adverse reactions had extreme
weight loss when using aspartame and tended towards anorexia. He also noted that

6% of the respondents had an unexplained weight gain which averaged 19 pounds!

Common sense dictates that anything in excess usually produces a negative
result. The statistics of the quantity of aspartame consumed by the average
person is alarming. The replacement of all sweeteners with aspartame has been
estimated to yield an intake of 867 mg of aspartame/day, which translates to
only 87 mg of methanol. Since diet products with aspartame have few calories and
since many people have been conned into believing that they are safe, a
significant percentage of people would likely "throw caution to the
wind," by drinking large quantities of diet soft drinks and eating large
quantities of other products with aspartame. This is something that they would
not be as likely to do with high-calorie, sugar-containing products. The

NutraSweet Company has been trying to convince people that persons who ingesting
aspartame regularly ingest only 1-3 mg/kg (of body weight)/day of aspartame
(Roberts, 1988). This is based on surveys and diaries of consumers. What these
surveys do not mention is that aspartame-containing products are often ingested
as part of snacks and that people often forget what snacks they've eaten. There
are many different aspartame toxicity reactions. These reactions run anywhere
from mild to very serious illnesses, and are usually misdiagnosed as some other
type of illness or disease. Other countries are now being inundated with
aspartame, but it will be some time until they begin to feel the full effects of
aspartame toxicity on the general population. Since the U.S. has some history of
significant use, we will limit the discussion to the frequency of effects in the

U.S. There have been well over 7,000 aspartame toxicity reactions officially
received by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 1982 (after aspartame
was first approved) until 1995. In an epidemiological survey, which appeared in
the Journal of Applied Nutrition (Roberts 1988), 551 persons who have reported
toxicity effects from aspartame ingestion were surveyed. The adverse effects
found cover a subset of reported acute and chronic toxicity effects from
aspartame. What follows is a listing of the adverse health effects which were
found. # Of people (%) Eye - Decreased vision and/or other eye problems 140
(25%) Pain (or both eyes) 51 (9%) Decreased tears, trouble with contact lens 46
(8%) Blindness (one or both eyes) 14 (3%) Ear - Tinnitus ("ringing,"
"buzzing") 73 (13%) Severe intolerance for noise 47 (9%) Marked
impairment of hearing 25 (5%) Neurological - Headaches 249 (45%) Dizziness,
unsteadiness, or both 217 (39%) Confusion, memory loss, or both 157 (29%) Severe
drowsiness and sleepiness 93 (17%) Paresthesias ("pins and needles,"
"tingling") 82 (15%) numbness of the limbs - Convulsions 80 (15%)

Petit mal attacks and "absences" 18 (3%) Severe slurring of speech 64
(12%) Severe tremors 51 (9%) Severe "hyperactivity" and "restless
legs" 43 (8%) Atypical facial pain 38 (7%) Psychological-Psychiatric -

Severe depression 139 (25%) "Extreme irritability" 125 (23%)
"Severe anxiety attacks" 105 (19%) "Marked personality
changes" 88 (16%) "Severe insomnia" 76 (14%) Chest - Palpitations,
tachycardia (rapid heart action) 88 (16%) "Shortness of breath" 54
(10%) Atypical chest pain 44 (8%) Recent hypertension (high blood pressure) 34
(6%) Gastrointestinal - Nausea 79 (14%) Diarrhea 70 (13%) Abdominal pain 70
(13%) Aggravation of respiratory allergies 10 (2%) Endocrine and Metabolic -

Problems with diabetes: 60 (11%) Menstrual changes 45 (6%) Paradoxic weight gain

34 (5%) Marked weight loss 26 (6%) There are many other clinical reports in the
scientific literature of aspartame-caused toxicity warning about the many
dangers of aspartame including the cumulative deleterious effects of methanol
and the greater likelihood of birth defects. The articles note that the
ingestion of aspartame may make pilots more susceptible to seizures and vertigo.

Samples of some aspartame toxicity reactions reported on the Internet can be
found on the Aspartame (NutraSweet) Toxicity Info Center web page:http://www.tiac.net/users/mgold/aspartame.

Clearly the effects of swallowing a very slow poison are not beneficial to
anyone Aspartame is a potent sweetener that -- at the very least -- can be
safely used by virtually the entire population. The choice between sugar and
aspartame is a 'no-brainer' if ever there was one.

Bibliography
http://www.tiac.net/users/mgold/aspartame