Enjoying any of the more than 6,000 popular foods and beverages that contain this ingredient can lead to leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas… along with brain, kidney, liver, and lung cancers. Some argue that this is the most dangerous single food additive on earth. It’s not a claim I report lightly, but there’s solid research to back it up…
I’m talking about aspartame. The chemical sweetener that’s everywhere. It’s a safe guess that every American man, woman, and child has consumed aspartame at one time or another. More than 250 million people drink beverages containing this deadly chemical because they think it’s a healthy choice!
The facts say otherwise: these people are boosting their cancer risk far beyond anything you’d imagine. It was proven by a large study released by Harvard and then almost immediately swept under the rug. It appears that powerful interests want to protect aspartame from any criticism.
The dreadful consequences of a “safe”
The Harvard study is the largest human study ever on the subject — based on over two million person-years’ worth of data. This mega-study revealed some downright frightening results. As little as one diet soda a day leads to:
- 42 percent higher leukemia risk (men and women)
- 102 percent higher multiple myeloma risk (men only)
- 31 percent higher non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk (men only)
The Harvard researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study gathered over a 22-year period. It included 77,218 women and 47,810 men, for a total of 2,278,396 person-years of data. That certainly seems like enough data to give us meaningful results.
The study identified over this 22-year period:
- 1,324 non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas
- 285 multiple myelomas
- 339 cases of leukemia
Aside from its sheer size, this study was particularly thorough in its analysis of aspartame consumption. They evaluated dietary information every two years during the 22-year period, instead of at just one point in time.
And make no mistake, Americans consume a LOT of aspartame — 10.5 million pounds per year — eighty-six percent of which is from diet soda.
Previous studies — slammed by critics —
were absolutely right
Several studies over a period of years found a link between aspartame consumption and cancer. But they were often criticized as too small, too short, or poorly constructed.
This study puts those doubts to rest. And the results are not exactly surprising. But they are disturbing. Consider what we already knew before this large-scale human study was released. . .
One previous rat study found that of 48 experimental rats, up to 67 percent of all female rats developed golf ball sized (or larger) tumors. And 21 percent of the males developed similar cancerous growths.
An Italian study connected aspartame intake to lymphomas, leukemia, and kidney cancer. This study confirmed aspartame as a carcinogen affecting multiple sites in both rats (males and females) and mice (males only).1
“The truth isn’t sweet when it
comes to artificial sweeteners.”
So screamed the headline of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School) press release about a link between aspartame and cancers, especially blood cancers. Then suddenly they got cold feet and scrubbed the story.
They also issued an “apology,” stating that the data were “too weak to find a causal link.”
None of this is too surprising. If it becomes established that aspartame causes cancer, it could be equivalent to the long-running scandals over tobacco or asbestos. Can you imagine the frenzy of litigation against food and beverage makers? The lawsuits will never end.
Don’t ignore a 22-year study of
Don’t take a chance and ignore a large-scale, long-term study like this one that shows a link between aspartame and blood cancers.
The long-term aspect is critically important, because one of the tricks the industry uses to hide product toxicity is short term tests. Short-term studies reveal nothing about long-term risks. Based solely on short-term trials, the industry can get away with claiming aspartame is one of the most studied food additives ever, with no health concerns. And it’s all blessed by the FDA.
The reality is they never study the long-term effects, and those remain largely unknown till a product has been on the market for years — even decades — and the horrible consequences start showing up.
As proof of that, shortly after the release and retraction of the Harvard study, the beverage industry quickly stated that aspartame has been “deemed safe for decades by the world’s leading toxicologists.”
Unfortunately, most people don’t know how short and poorly designed these industry-funded studies are, and the media choose not to tell you. So, it’s easy to be deceived.
Well-guarded secrets of a scary molecule
Aspartame is the name of the active ingredient in artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet, Equal, Equal Spoonful, and Equal-Measure.
It was accidentally discovered in 1965 when James Schlatter, chemist for the G. D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug. It turned out his discovery is some 200 times sweeter than table sugar and was approved for dry foods in 1981 and carbonated beverages in 1983. Now get this: Already in the 1960s aspartame was labeled a dangerous chemical and shown to create holes in brain tissue and to cause brain and nerve damage in developing fetuses. But wait, there’s more: Researchers also knew it causes cancer, migraines, headaches, seizures, convulsions, and even retinal damage.
Anything this dangerous should have been removed from the market many years ago!
It was removed for a time after initial approval, when Dr. John Olney of the Washington University School of Medicine discovered that aspartic acid — a major aspartame ingredient — caused holes in the brains of animal subjects.
There’s a whole long and sordid story to be told about questionable lab practices, an FDA grand jury investigation of studies, and more, but space prohibits its telling here and now. Interestingly, one of the government’s prosecuting attorneys later joined the law firm representing Searle.
Don’t trust the FDA to protect your health…
One can only guess about the political shenanigans involved in gaining approval for aspartame.
Finally, after the FDA received over 8,000 complaints about NutraSweet’s side effects, a list of possible side effects was made public. Besides cancer and tumors, including brain cancer, aspartame is linked to a long laundry list of problems. I won’t list them all here, but if you or a loved one suffer any symptoms or vexing health issues that won’t resolve, it may be worth examining your diet for hidden aspartame.
Many chronic conditions are linked to aspartame:
- Memory loss
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain lesions
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Hearing loss and vision problems
We can hardly overstate the risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with chronic health conditions. The book Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James and Phyllis Balch, lists aspartame as a “chemical poison.” I’ll show you in a moment just how true that is.
But first, the acute conditions in the following list may also be linked to aspartame. Take a look and see if any of these shoes fit your feet. . .
- Migraine and headaches
- Fatigue (blocks glucose from entering brain)
- Nausea and abdominal pain
- Sleep problems
- Asthma and chest tightness
- Heart palpitations
- Weight gain
Many of these conditions can also lead to early death.
Danger: brain damage ahead…
Aspartame is comprised of three chemicals — aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol.
Aspartic acid, an amino acid also called aspartate, is a neurotransmitter in your brain. Its big problems come when taken in free form (not bound to proteins). Aspartate slowly destroys your neurons. Seventy-five percent of the neural cells in one area of your brain can be killed before you show any clinical symptoms of chronic illness. No wonder one key complaint from aspartame use is memory loss!
Dr. Russell Blaylock, leading neurologist and neurosurgery professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (now retired), published an entire book detailing the damage caused by aspartate. He uses 500 scientific references to show the link to serious chronic neurological disorders.
Phenylalanine is also an amino acid. Diet soda must carry a label warning people with phenylketonuria (PKU) not to drink it, because they cannot metabolize phenylalanine. But even those without PKU can experience a dangerous buildup of phenylalanine — leading to plummeting serotonin levels, depression, anxiety, and violent rages.
One especially alarming account of the effects of spiked phenylalanine levels was documented in the Wednesday Journal article, “An Aspartame Nightmare.” John Cook drank six to eight diet drinks daily. His symptoms began with memory loss and frequent headaches, and then moved to violent rages and severe mood swings. He didn’t have PKU, yet a blood test showed a phenylalanine level of 80 mg/dl. (Safe levels of phenylalanine are under 10 mg/dl.) He also showed brain damage and abnormal brain function. When he cut aspartame from his diet, his symptoms improved.
Methanol (aka wood alcohol) is a deadly poison. You may have heard of methanol as the poison that causes some “skid row” alcoholics to end up blind or dead.
Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in your body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin and a known carcinogen. It also causes retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication, and causes birth defects.
Even the EPA calls methanol “a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion.” EPA recommends a limit of 7.8 mg/day, yet a one-liter beverage (or three cans of diet soda) contains 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users may consume up to 250 mg per day — a staggering 32 times the EPA limit.
More dangerous for people than for test animals
Due to your lack of a couple key enzymes that digest methanol — enzymes that lab animals have but you don’t — you’re much more sensitive to its toxins than are animals.
In humans, methanol converts to formaldehyde via an enzyme called ADH (alcohol dehydrogenase). This enzyme is more active in men than in women, which may explain the association between diet soda consumption and higher lymphoma and multiple myeloma in men, but not women.
Methanol absorption spikes when heated to 86 degrees. This may occur when a product is improperly stored (diet drinks sitting in hot sun), or as part of a food product such as Jell-O.
Another byproduct of aspartame is Diketopiperazine (DKP) and it is implicated in brain tumors. Research shows that DKP in the gut produces a powerful brain-tumor-causing chemical. DKP is also implicated as a cause of uterine polyps and harmful changes in blood cholesterol by FDA toxicologist Dr. Jacqueline Verrett (in her testimony before the U.S. Senate).
Don’t drink it or eat it,
no matter how safe they claim it is!
Don’t believe the party line about aspartame safety. Avoid all products that contain it. I eat almost no processed or manufactured foods myself, and I don’t drink sodas at all, regular or diet.
If you give up aspartame-sweetened sodas, for heaven’s sake don’t go back to the ones with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. They’re even worse. And it’s not all about sodas. Aspartame is in a great many consumer items you might not think of, such as children’s Tylenol, certain vitamins, laxatives (Metamucil), pharmaceuticals and many more. For example, foods besides soda which may contain aspartame include:
- Mints, chewing gum, hard candies, soft candy chews
- Flavored syrups for coffee, flavored water products
- Frozen ice cream, ice cream novelties and frozen ice, ice cream toppings
- Fruit spreads, jams/jellies
- Jell-O and pudding
- Iced tea powder and ready to drink, instant cocoa mix
- Juice blends and drinks
- Meal replacements, protein and nutritional shakes and bars
- “No sugar added” and “Sugar Free” — any food!
- Veggie drinks
- Yogurt — drinkable, fat free, sugar free
It pays to become an astute label reader and questioner!
Janet Starr Hull, who holds a doctorate in nutrition, says about the latest aspartame reports, “I will never accept the news of aspartame safety. I think it is a ‘business’ decision to discredit/discount the research results that aspartame DOES cause cancer, major nerve disorders, birth defects, and brain imbalances. Think about it… can you imagine the chaos that will occur when the truth of aspartame dangers is accredited…?”
I couldn’t agree more.