Is Aspartame a Safe Sugar Substitute?

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Is Aspartame a Safe Sugar Substitute?

Due to America’s obsession with dieting, the popularity of aspartame (found in Equal and NutraSweet) has soared.

Because it’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar, much smaller amounts of aspartame are needed to sweeten the taste of foods.

This artificial sweetener is everywhere in supermarkets.

It’s especially prevalent in diet foods, and can be found in lots of products, including instant breakfasts, breath mints, cereals, sugar-free chewing gum, cocoa mixes, coffee beverages, frozen desserts, gelatin desserts, juice beverages, laxatives, milk drinks, multivitamins, nonprescription pharmaceuticals, shake mixes, soft drinks, tabletop sweeteners, tea beverages, instant teas and coffees, topping mixes, wine coolers, and yogurt.

When digested, aspartame breaks down into 3 parts.

The first 2 are the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid and the third is methanol, or methyl alcohol.

Ever since it was introduced, aspartame has been the center of controversy.

Many people reported problems as a result of aspartame consumption.

Reactions included headaches, mood swings, changes in vision, nausea and diarrhea, sleep disorders, memory loss and confusion, and even convulsions.

People with phenylketonuria (PKU) lack an enzyme needed to convert phenylalanine into tyrosine.

Because of this, they accumulate phenylalanine, and at high levels it can be toxic to them.

These people shouldn’t use aspartame.

But what about the rest of us?

By now, the subject has become so emotional it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction.

An entire industry exists to educate people on the safety (or non-safety) of this sweetener.

Proponents claim neither aspartame nor its components accumulate in your body and the chemical components are used in your body in exactly the same way as those derived from “natural” foods.

The amounts of the chemicals are also quite small compared to those from other food sources.

For instance, a serving of low-fat milk contains 6 times more phenylalanine and 13 times more aspartic acid than does the same quantity of diet soda sweetened with 100% aspartame.

In addition, a serving of tomato juice has 6 times more methanol than an equivalent diet soda.

Other people say the sale of aspartame must be stopped and the conspiracy between the manufacturer, the FDA, and others needs to be exposed.

Actually, aspartame has been tested for more than 30 years in over 200 studies, and so far all have concluded it’s a safe product, and can be used by almost everyone, including children and pregnant women.

This is true not only in the US, but also in France, Great Britain, and Europe as a whole.

In summary, earlier fears about safety centered on aspartame being ingested in very high doses by laboratory animals.

Some flaws in the original studies were interpreted as conspiratorial rather than simple mistakes.

Further research has shown it isn’t possible for a normal human being to ingest enough aspartame to raise concentrations of its metabolic components to toxic or dangerous levels.

Needless to say, however, there are sensitive people who have allergic reactions to many products.

If you’ve experienced any type of reaction to aspartame, you shouldn’t use foods containing this additive.

Better yet, avoid the controversy by avoiding all additives, and enjoy a diet rich in fruits and fresh juices.

These foods are naturally sweet, free of artificial coloring and preservatives, and full of the nutrients needed for good health.

An herbal sweetener called stevia is also available.

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Dick and Lenay

email: – 715-431-0657

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