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Aspartame 25 July 2009

Aspartame is a very commonly used artificial sweetener. For many years it was not approved for use because of links to neurological disorders. Under very controversial circumstances (the FDA commissioner who championed its approval abruptly left the FDA and took up a position as a consultant to the public relations company marketing aspartame), it was eventually approved. What many people don’t know it that it’s also approved as a very effective ant killer. After ingestion of aspartame, ants usually die within 24 hours.

If it kills ants, could it cause problems in humans? Well we know that 10% of aspartame is methanol which then gets converted to formaldehyde! The rest of aspartame is made up of 2 amino acids- phenylalanine and aspartic acid which when used in isolation are neurotoxic.

Recent research by Dr Morando Soffritti, a famous cancer researcher in Italy found that aspartame was associated with unusually high rates of leukemias, lymphomas and other cancers in rats. The rats were given does equivalent to the amount that would be obtained from approximately 2 liters per day of diet soda. Previous studies with rats that did not show this effect have been criticised for not studying enough rats and not going on for long enough. Soffrittis study is available at http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2005/8711/abstract.html

Research from Harvard School of Public Health has linked formaldehyde to Motor Neuron Disease (ALS).

So avoid aspartame at all costs. If you need to use a sweetener then a leaf extract known as stevia is the safest option.

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