Pyramid Science

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Aspartame: Effects On Health

The European population of 375 million consumes about 2000 tonnes annually of aspartame (NutraSweet, Canderel), an artificial sweetener. Aspartame contains two ╬▒-amino acids as the main components: aspartic acid and phenylalanine. It is 180-200 times sweeter than sucrose, and 400,000 extra tonnes of sugar would therefore be needed to generate the same sweetness.

Sugar that could be used to produce fuel. High fuel taxation would apply that does not apply to the consumable.

What has this taxation-product sparing done to us? In principle, simply taken out sugar from general consumption and replaced it with aspartame (launched in 1981 by Monsanto, the manufacturer of NutraSweet). Take great care when the name Monsanto appears (originally G.D. Searle).

Or viewed from another angle, switched consumption from ingestion and burning for biological energy to power biological engines into burning to energise mechanical engines. And in the process generate money. Not make money, just redistribute it.

See also:
Revolving Door Syndrome

In western countries sugar provides around 10% of total calories, about 200 kcal (837 kJ) or 50g, daily. Eating about 5g aspartame annually, equivalent to another kg (5g x 200) of sucrose (4000 kcal, 16740 kJ) could generate 0.5 kg gain in weight.

Evidence that aspartame prevents weight gain or obesity is generally inconclusive.

Monsanto is in the public eye, accused of enthusiastic dissemination of genetically modified plants and foods. People resent interference with foods, and synthetic food components are regarded with suspicion. Phenylalanine itself is a natural amino acid, and is toxic only in patients who have phenylketonuria.

The third component that is generated from aspartame metabolism and simply warming above 70degC is methanol which then produces formaldehyde. Both hightly toxic. Any human toxicity relating to aspartame never invokes the metabolites (products of metabolism).

Intakes over 1g/day were needed to alter brain neurotransmitters and provoke seizures in monkeys, and randomised controlled trials of high doses (how high is 'high'?) in humans have not shown any behavioural or other effects and suggests that humans and monkeys behave differently towards aspartame. This is possibly the wrong choice of species for comparative testing.

The results of comparative drug (target being the human) trials are highly dependent on the test animal.

Aspartame Information Center:

This site doesn't read as particularly convincing. More a propaganda-type site to convince the consumers that the 'experts' are correct and foolish consumers just believe all the non-science myth.