Atlanta-based soft drink giant, Coca-Cola, has felt the pinch of falling sales in their diet drinks in recent years. This has prompted quick action by the company, who is scheduled to release an ad campaign over the next week touting the supposed “safety” of its controversial artificial sweetener, aspartame.
The new advertisement photo features two mature women laughing and appearing to enjoy classic Coke. Underneath the photo, a caption reads:
“Quality Products You Can Always Feel Good About – Time and again, these low- and no-calorie sweeteners have shown to be safe, high-quality alternatives to sugar. In fact, the safety of aspartame is supported by more than 200 studies in the last 40 years.”
What this underhanded and rather desperate ad campaign leaves out is that the supposed “studies” mentioned therein have been conducted by the very company trying to sell the product. No conflict of interest there, right?
This advertisement campaign reminds me of the “sugar is sugar” commercials released in response to falling sales of products containing high fructose corn syrup. As more and more health-conscious folks realize the dangers of these deadly food additives, mega-food corporations will continue to grasp at straws to promote their dangerous products.
No matter what this new campaign tries to say, in my opinion aspartame is one of the most dangerous chemicals on the market. This controversial sweetener has been causing widespread health problems for over 30 years, yet clever advertising and corporate funding has kept it on supermarket shelves.
Aspartame is Derived from Three Neurotoxic Chemicals
Aspartame is made from three chemicals; aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Combined together, these chemicals create an extraordinarily sweet taste that is 200 times stronger than sugar. One of the reasons aspartame became such an instant success in the diet food industry is its lack of calories and addictively-sweet taste.
Unfortunately, this sweetness comes at a terrible price. Let’s take a closer look at each of these chemicals and the effect they have on your nervous system:
This non-essential amino acid over-stimulates your brain cells, exciting them to an early death. Over time, aspartic acid causes gradual deterioration of the nerve cells in your brain.
Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain have been shown to cause a rapid decline in your feel-good brain chemical, serotonin. Decreased serotonin levels have been shown to trigger emotional and physical disorders such as depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, loss of libido, irritability, social withdrawal, and thermoregulation impairment (hot flashes, lower-than-normal body temperature).
Methanol is a wood alcohol that breaks down into a dangerous chemical used in the embalming process called formaldehyde. Methanol has been shown to interfere with the enteric nervous system (gut brain), leading to the development of irritable bowel syndrome, chronic stomach cramping, and digestive malfunction.
Aspartame Causes Chronic Neurological Dysfunction
When your nervous system doesn’t work properly, it affects every aspect of your life. Symptoms of aspartame-induced neurological disease are so varied and widespread it can be difficult for doctors who are unfamiliar with the side effects of this sweetener to pin down an exact cause.
Here are the most common neurological side effects of aspartame:
The brain and spinal cord of grown adults is protected from toxins in the blood by something called the blood-brain-barrier (BBB). In children, however, the blood-brain-barrier is not fully developed, leaving them especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of aspartame.
Studies as far back as 1994 have shown that aspartame has a negative effect on behavioral health of children. Aspartame enters into the vulnerable, unprotected brain and spinal cord, over-stimulating their developing neural cells to death. This has been shown to cause learning impairment, poor impulse control, aggressive outbursts, and excessive emotional sensitivity.
Chronic Neurological Disorders
One of the most alarming aspects of the neurodegenerative properties of aspartame is that 75 percent of neural cells are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. Aspartame has been shown to lead to the development of multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, seizure disorder, Lou Gehrig’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Ticks, Twitches, and Headaches
One of the most common complaints over the past 30 years about aspartame is chronic headaches. Before serious neurological disease may develop, you may notice unusual headaches, muscle ticks and twitches that weren’t there before, and even numbness or tingling in your extremities. Oftentimes, these precursor symptoms disappear after aspartame consumption is halted.
Memory Loss/Learning Impairment
The more diet soda you consume, the more healthy brain cells you lose. Over time, you may notice difficulty with learning, cognition, attention, and recall. If you’re in your more mature years, you may equate these symptoms as the ordinary effects of age but, contrary to what you’ve been lead to believe, you are not supposed to lose your cognitive function beginning in mid-life! These types of symptoms are almost always environmentally-related.
Insomnia and Chronic Fatigue
Your brain needs energy from glucose in order to function. Aspartame blocks this uptake, leading to chronic fatigue. This synthetic sweetener also leads to feelings of anxiety, which can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
The neurodegenerative properties of aspartame have been shown to cause anxiety, paranoia, irritability, and even schizophrenia, which is believed to be caused by an excessive buildup of phenylalanine in the brain.
Diet Soda Ruins Digestion and Packs on the Pounds
As if the neurotoxic effects of aspartame weren’t bad enough, diet soda does not even do what it’s advertised to do. The chemical make-up of aspartame is such that it causes you to pack on the pounds!
Research has shown that excessively sweet taste of aspartame increases your appetite while interfering with your healthy glucose function.
Over time, this synthetic sweetener interferes with your metabolic function, causing a condition called leptin resistance. Leptin resistance occurs when your hypothalamus blocks a hormone called leptin from reaching your brain receptors. Leptin is a critical hormone responsible for telling your stomach when you’re full.
Once your insulin and leptin receptors have been damaged, you’re no longer able to tell when you’ve had enough to eat. This results in near-constant hunger pangs, sugar cravings, low blood sugar, and weight gain. This constant feeling of hunger coupled with sugar addiction keeps you reaching for more food and excessively-sweet drinks.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Aspartame Has Been Shown to Cause Cancer
Extensive scientific studies done over several decades have shown that laboratory animals fed aspartame had a staggering increase in cancer development. This dangerous synthetic sweetener has been linked to the development of blood-borne cancers such as multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and leukemia (especially in men). The wood alcohol in aspartame turns into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Studies have shown that aspartame stimulates prolactin and menstrual changes, leading to female infertility. It also causes decreased sexual responsiveness in males. If a child is conceived, aspartame has been shown to contribute to low birth weight. A Danish study revealed that women who regularly consumed aspartame during pregnancy had a 70% chance of delivering a child pre-term!
Beyond Diet Soda – Hidden Sources of Aspartame
Aspartame in diet sodas isn’t the only source out there. For the past few decades, food manufacturers have been silently sneaking this chemical into foods you’d never expect.
Here’s a list:
It’s amazing how many of the store-bought chewing gums on the market contain this chemical. If you chew gum, your best bet is to choose an organic brand free of harmful sweeteners of any kind.
Anything with the label “sugar free” will likely contain aspartame, Splenda, Ace-K or another neurotoxic sweetener. When choosing sugar-free candies or products of any kind, look for those made with stevia.
Carefully inspect any drink packets or water enhancers you have on hand. Oftentimes, aspartame is the first or second ingredient!
Vitamin water is one of the biggest health scams on the market. Not only are the vitamins synthetic and unable to be properly absorbed by your body, nearly all of them contain food dyes and dangerous neurotoxic sweeteners.
Are you using any sugar-free condiments? Check the label. Most likely, you’ll find aspartame.
Most cereal is not good for your child’s health. It often contains aspartame, BHT, BHA, and food dyes that wreck havoc with normal neurological, digestive, and immune system function.
Yogurt is supposed to be one of the healthiest foods in the supermarket. Unfortunately, many of the popular brands use aspartame as their #1 sweetener. When selecting a yogurt, opt for organic.
Drug manufacturing companies know children don’t like to take medicine unless it tastes sweet. Aspartame is a common additive in children’s cough syrup. Read labels carefully on over-the-counter products and talk with your pharmacist about alternative options.
Weaning off of Aspartame
Just because you now understand the potentially devastating side effects of neurotoxic aspartame doesn’t mean it’s easy to give up the taste of your favorite soda. Aspartame is highly addictive. This is why it’s important to cut back slowly.
My advice is to look into many of the natural sodas on the market. There are plenty that use organic, raw sugar or Stevia instead of aspartame. Trade in one aspartame soda for a natural soda each day and soon, you’ll be completely free of it. When drinking soda, really savor the taste of it. If you just gulp it back without tasting it, you’ll crave more right away.
Also, become a label-reader. Remember, many of your favorite foods may contain hidden aspartame.
While you’re weaning off aspartame, take this time to further clean up your diet. Eat more organic produce, nuts, seeds, legumes, meat, poultry, fish, and healthy fats like butter and coconut oil. The more real nutrition you feed your body, the less junk food cravings you’ll experience. Also, eating this way will help you lose weight without feeling deprived.
Once again, in my opinion, aspartame in Coke and other foodstuffs is incredibly toxic. Despite what desperate food manufacturing companies are trying to tell you, staying away from the stuff is the best thing you can do for your health.
Let them know you won’t be fooled by their false claims and vote with your wallet. The more organic and natural products you buy, the more companies will be forced to keep up with a healthier demand!