The world’s most toxic artificial sweetener is undergoing a major identity overhaul in an effort by its manufacturer to cover up the chemical’s sordid history, as well as to keep people buying it. “AminoSweet,” in case you see it on food labels, is really just plain-old aspartame, the same synthetic sweetening agent that’s repeatedly been linked to causing seizures and organ damage, among other physical harm.
Since its initial discovery in 1965 by G.D. Searle Pharmaceuticals, aspartame has been the subject of considerable and unrelenting controversy. Even way back then, scientists knew without a shadow of a doubt that aspartame wasn’t exactly safe for human consumption. But because it was sweet and non-caloric, it meant dollar signs in the eyes of company CEOs who recognized that marketing it as an alternative to sugar could be immensely profitable.
They were right, but the decision to bring aspartame to market – a monstrous feat in and of itself – has had serious consequences on public health. Derived from genetically-modified (GM) amino acids, aspartame is the world’s most popular artificial sweetener, present in everything from chewing gum and soda pop to children’s cereals and even toothpastes, despite the fact that its track record of safety leaves much to be desired.
Numerous peer-reviewed studies published in the 1980s revealed that aspartame has a damaging effect on the brain. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) discovered that aspartame “can generate major neurochemical changes” in the brain. Since it’s an “excitotoxin,” aspartame is known to damage the brain, as well as the central nervous systems of people who consume it, especially children.
One study published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology in 1984 concluded that excitotoxins like aspartame “may produce blood elevations high enough to cause damage to the nervous system of young children, damage which is not detectable at the time of occurrence but which may give rise to subtle disturbances in neuroendocrine function in adolescence and/or adulthood.”
Many more studies conducted in the 1990s, 2000s, and beyond have reiterated these findings, adding that aspartame consumption can impair memory response and retention and damage neurons in the hypothalamic region of the brain. Mental retardation and various other forms of brain damage have also been linked to aspartame consumption, side effects that the federal government in its continued approval of the chemical drug refuses to address.
NutraSweet, Equal, and AminoSweet: It’s all still aspartame
Despite continued efforts by industry lobbyists and their government puppets to keep this damaging information about aspartame under wraps, the internet and other uncontrolled environments where news is disseminated have succeeded in waking many people up as to its dangers. But now consumers have to worry about name changes like “AminoSweet” that attempt to once again pull the wool over their eyes when it comes to detecting artificial sweeteners in the foods they eat.
Since acquiring ownership of the aspartame business from Monsanto in 2000, Japanese drug company Ajinomoto has been working hard to rebrand and recreate aspartame in order to boost its acceptance by the public. One of these is renaming it to sound more “natural,” even though it’s still the same old chemical that’s also sold under names like “NutraSweet” and “Equal.”
While sugar has its own health drawbacks, it’s nowhere near the level of aspartame’s threat. The list of aspartame’s health effects is lengthy, including serious damaging effects like brain lesions, lymphoma, leukemia, and other forms of cancer, not to mention fetal deformities and even weight gain – that’s right, consuming aspartame instead of sugar can still make you fat. Just remember this: buyer beware.
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