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How does aspartame affect our bodies?

I have read about aspartame's daunting history, and it indeed has one. Since its discovery in the 1960's, aspartame has had years of experimentation. The data received has shown that a considerable amount of animals died from being injected with aspartame: with holes developing in the animals brain.

How exactly is our brain affected by aspartame?
and does aspartame lead to any symptoms?

Any information on aspartame would be helpful!

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  • Jul 11 2013: I have considerable concern about the methanol that makes up about 11% of the aspartame molecule. Every molecule of aspartame always turns into a molecule of methanol when it is consumed. I published an article that goes into considerable detail relative to this particular aspect of the toxic nature of this very dangerous food additive. You can find the article on my website While Science Sleeps. The article is not particularly long so if you could read it and ask me any questions you may have....that would be excellent. I am an Emeritus Professor of Nutrition at Arizona State University and would love to get into a debate about aspartame. The link to the article is here: http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/pdf/586.pdf
    • Jul 11 2013: Agreed. I was astonished to read that when aspartame is warmed to 85 degrees or higher it breaks down into deadly toxins such as methanol and formaldehyde. However, doesn't our body encounter toxins like these pretty regularly? I believe some fruits like apples can have about .3% methanol.
      • Jul 11 2013: That is what the Methanol Institute and the similarly named formaldehyde lobbying group would like you to believe. Most of the methanol in plants is tied up tightly in the structure of pectin which the human digestive system has no enzyme to break apart. The industry would have us believe that all of this methanol is released into our blood when it is consumed.....this is not true.
        More importantly the only way to get formaldehyde into the brain and past the blood brain barrier is in the form of the Trojan horse methanol. This formaldehyde then attaches to protein or DNA and can cause a classic "autoimmune" like reaction by activating macrophages which have sites on their membranes specific to formaldehyde modified proteins. The science is fascinating.....I have been studying it for 25 years and would like to fill you in on the details if you would like.
        http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/
        • Jul 11 2013: Incredible! Thank you for your hard work and dedication on this topic. There are many consumers who are blind on this issue.

          I am actually creating a poster board of information to hang up at work that brings light to this issue, in hope that consumers can make the right choice.
  • Jul 11 2013: The issue is a very important one and I appreciate you bringing it up on TED. Email me directly if you need any help or would like a copy of any of my work on the topic. woodymonte@gmail.com
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    Jul 10 2013: Thank you for this exposé.
    Politics wins out over science, again.
  • Jul 9 2013: January 10, 1977-- The FDA formally requests the U.S. Attorney's office to begin grand jury proceedings to investigate whether indictments should be filed against Searle for knowingly misrepresenting findings and "concealing material facts and making false statements" in aspartame safety tests. This is the first time in the FDA's history that they request a criminal investigation of a manufacturer.

    January 26, 1977-- While the grand jury probe is underway, Sidley & Austin, the law firm representing Searle, begins job negotiations with the U.S. Attorney in charge of the investigation, Samuel Skinner.

    March 8, 1977-- G. D. Searle hires prominent Washington insider Donald Rumsfeld as the new CEO to try to turn the beleaguered company around. A former Member of Congress and Secretary of Defense in the Ford Administration, Rumsfeld brings in several of his Washington cronies as top management.

    July 1, 1977-- Samuel Skinner leaves the U.S. Attorney's office and takes a job with Searle's law firm. (see Jan. 26th)

    August 1, 1977-- The Bressler Report, compiled by FDA investigators and headed by Jerome Bressler, is released. The report finds that 98 of the 196 animals died during one of Searle's studies and weren't autopsied until later dates, in some cases over one year after death. Many other errors and inconsistencies are noted. For example, a rat was reported alive, then dead, then alive, then dead again; a mass, a uterine polyp, and ovarian neoplasms were found in animals but not reported or diagnosed in Searle's reports.

    December 8, 1977-- U.S. Attorney Skinner's withdrawal and resignation stalls the Searle grand jury investigation for so long that the statue of limitations on the aspartame charges runs out. The grand jury investigation is dropped.

    June 1, 1979-- The FDA established a Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) to rule on safety issues surrounding NutraSweet.
  • Jul 9 2013: September 30, 1980-- The Public Board of Inquiry concludes NutraSweet should not be approved pending further investigations of brain tumors in animals. The board states it "has not been presented with proof of reasonable certainty that aspartame is safe for use as a food additive."

    January 1981-- Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle, states in a sales meeting that he is going to make a big push to get aspartame approved within the year. Rumsfeld says he will use his political pull in Washington, rather than scientific means, to make sure it gets approved.

    January 21, 1981-- Ronald Reagan is sworn in as President of the United States. Reagan's transition team, which includes Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of G. D. Searle, hand picks Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. to be the new FDA Commissioner.

    March, 1981-- An FDA commissioner's panel is established to review issues raised by the Public Board of Inquiry.

    May 19, 1981-- Three of six in-house FDA scientists who were responsible for reviewing the brain tumor issues, Dr. Robert Condon, Dr. Satya Dubey, and Dr. Douglas Park, advise against approval of NutraSweet, stating on the record that the Searle tests are unreliable and not adequate to determine the safety of aspartame.

    July 15, 1981-- In one of his first official acts, Dr. Arthur Hayes Jr., the new FDA commissioner, overrules the Public Board of Inquiry, ignores the recommendations of his own internal FDA team and approves NutraSweet for dry products. Hayes says that aspartame has been shown to be safe for its' proposed uses and says few compounds have withstood such detailed testing and repeated close scrutiny.

    October 15, 1982-- The FDA announces that Searle has filed a petition that aspartame be approved as a sweetener in carbonated beverages and other liquids.
  • Jul 9 2013: July 1, 1983-- The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) urges the FDA to delay approval of aspartame for carbonated beverages pending further testing because aspartame is very unstable in liquid form. When liquid aspartame is stored in temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it breaks down into DKP and formaldehyde, both of which are known toxins.

    July 8, 1983-- The National Soft Drink Association drafts an objection to the final ruling which permits the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages and syrup bases and requests a hearing on the objections. The association says that Searle has not provided responsible certainty that aspartame and its' degradation products are safe for use in soft drinks.

    August 8, 1983-- Consumer Attorney, Jim Turner of the Community Nutrition Institute and Dr. Woodrow Monte, Arizona State University's Director of Food Science and Nutritional Laboratories, file suit with the FDA objecting to aspartame approval based on unresolved safety issues.

    September, 1983-- FDA Commissioner Hayes resigns under a cloud of controversy about his taking unauthorized rides aboard a General Foods jet. (General foods is a major customer of NutraSweet) Burson-Marsteller, Searle's public relation firm (which also represented several of NutraSweet's major users), immediately hires Hayes as senior scientific consultant.

    Fall 1983-- The first carbonated beverages containing aspartame are sold for public consumption.
    • W T 100+

      • +1
      Jul 9 2013: I wonder if Rumsfeld consumes foods with aspartame in it? Hmmmm
    • Jul 11 2013: I am still trying to have aspartame removed from foods. Tify have you seem my website?
      http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/

      Woodrow Monte
      • Jul 12 2013: Great site, I'm surprised that you don't add formaldehyde. Or particularly phenylalanine as it crosses the blood brain barrier, and not many things do that. In conjunction with aspartic acid, it might be the very reason for the brain damage in mice.

        But I find you efforts laudable.
        • Jul 12 2013: The extreme sensitivity of Humans to methanol is the real problem with aspartame.....It is the methanol that turns into formaldehyde right after it crosses the blood brain barrier that produces many of the toxic effects. Formaldehyde which converts quickly to formaldehyde hydrate in blood is far too reactive to travel very far in the body.
          If you have a scientific bent or interest I would recommend you read my book While Science Sleeps: A sweetener kills. The science of methanol goes far beyond aspartame alone.
          I want to than you for your excellent timeline for the introduction of aspartame.

          Woodrow
  • Jul 12 2013: Opinions on this subject come from two different perspective, and quite possibly a collaboration of the following. First, after conducting research, one can find aspartame's political history to be quite disturbing. After its discovery, it took a long time for aspartame to hit the shelves. Much effort and political power (Rumsfeld) was need to get the FDA approved for supplemental use. One can only imagine the reason behind strong efforts to get this approved: $$$. Consequently, if one only views aspartame from this perspective it can have a very negative feel.

    Secondly, chemistry can shed light to aspartame's negative political history. While I am not a chemist, I do still trust science and the truth about the properties of aspartame. We have been consuming aspartame since the the mid 70's, and we have yet to see any detrimental, or even moderate, issues with consumption.

    One can take either perspective to draw their own conclusions on the subject. Personally, I tend to stay away from artificial sweeteners; I am not a fan of the flavor. However, I believe it is highly important that we look into such products that we consume. There use to be a time when you knew exactly what you were eating; today, many haven't the slightest clue what goes into producing the food they eat.

    I will continue to stay alert on this issue, for we have not the slightest idea how aspartame affects the body in the long run. After all, one of the many contributing factors to human evolution is our diet and what we choose to consume.
  • Jul 9 2013: I've posted the complete timeline of aspartame, the people involved, the failure to meet FDA approvals, the amendments to it, the political maneuvering, and the controversy.

    I do this as the original source may at some future date be taken down. Where as TED, and this post will remain, should people in the future wish to revisit this question.

    People deserve to know the truth about what happened and how it got approved, it is up to them to decide if they or their family wish to consume products with containing aspartame.

    At least now I hope with the post's below, you can see the way things happen with the timeline, not only with the products. But with politicians, the FDA approval of such items, and CEO's and the scientific community's input and the weight each carry. As well as the vast amounts of money involved in such products.

    As ever the choice of what you consume is yours, but I hope this gives you some illumination to make a more informed decision.




    Note: there are various terms in the posts below you can search for and then learn further, if you so choose.
    • W T 100+

      • +2
      Jul 9 2013: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!

      We personally have never purchased items with aspartame in it.
      A couple of times we brought stuff home, w/o reading the label, and when we noticed it......back it went.
  • Jul 9 2013: December 1965-- While working on an ulcer drug, James Schlatter, a chemist at G.D. Searle, accidentally discovers aspartame, a substance that is 180 times sweeter than sugar yet has no calories.

    Spring 1967-- Searle begins the safety tests on aspartame that are necessary for applying for FDA approval of food additives.

    Fall 1967-- Dr. Harold Waisman, a biochemist at the University of Wisconsin, conducts aspartame safety tests on infant monkeys on behalf of the Searle Company. Of the seven monkeys that were being fed aspartame mixed with milk, one dies and five others have grand mal seizures.

    November 1970-- Cyclamate, the reigning low-calorie artificial sweetener -- is pulled off the market after some scientists associate it with cancer. Questions are also raised about safety of saccharin, the only other artificial sweetener on the market, leaving the field wide open for aspartame.

    December 18, 1970-- Searle Company executives lay out a "Food and Drug Sweetener Strategy' that they feel will put the FDA into a positive frame of mind about aspartame. An internal policy memo describes psychological tactics the company should use to bring the FDA into a subconscious spirit of participation" with them on aspartame and get FDA regulators into the "habit of saying, "Yes"."
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      Jul 11 2013: This series of posts is very useful. Thank you, Tify.
  • Jul 9 2013: Spring 1971-- Neuroscientist Dr. John Olney (whose pioneering work with monosodium glutamate was responsible for having it removed from baby foods) informs Searle that his studies show that aspartic acid (one of the ingredients of aspartame) caused holes in the brains of infant mice. One of Searle's own researchers confirmed Dr. Olney's findings in a similar study.

    February 1973-- After spending tens of millions of dollars conducting safety tests, the G.D. Searle Company applies for FDA approval and submits over 100 studies they claim support aspartame's safety.

    March 5, 1973-- One of the first FDA scientists to review the aspartame safety data states that "the information provided (by Searle) is inadequate to permit an evaluation of the potential toxicity of aspartame". She says in her report that in order to be certain that aspartame is safe, further clinical tests are needed.

    May 1974-- Attorney, Jim Turner (consumer advocate who was instrumental in getting cyclamate taken off the market) meets with Searle representatives to discuss Dr. Olney's 1971 study which showed that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of infant mice.

    July 26, 1974-- The FDA grants aspartame its first approval for restricted use in dry foods.

    August 1974-- Jim Turner and Dr. John Olney file the first objections against aspartame's approval.

    March 24, 1976-- Turner and Olney's petition triggers an FDA investigation of the laboratory practices of aspartame's manufacturer, G.D. Searle. The investigation finds Searle's testing procedures shoddy, full of inaccuracies and "manipulated" test data. The investigators report they "had never seen anything as bad as Searle's testing."
  • W T 100+

    • +1
    Jul 9 2013: Sugar....gold
    Aspartame...fool's gold

    *Special thank you to Krisztian Pinter, whose savvy reply on another conversation allowed me to apply his words in this discussion.
  • Jul 9 2013: Aspartame. After reading the below, it might make you realize that $ always come first.

    The legal "dealings" that got it approved. (January 1981 - in particular inserted below)
    http://rense.com/general33/legal.htm

    January 1981-- Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle, states in a sales meeting that he is going to make a big push to get aspartame approved within the year. Rumsfeld says he will use his political pull in Washington, rather than scientific means, to make sure it gets approved.


    American cancer society.
    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/aspartame

    Mercola
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/06/aspartame-most-dangerous-substance-added-to-food.aspx
    • Jul 9 2013: The american cancer society is saying that aspartame is safe as far as the science goes, the mercola thing is a sensationalist piece of misinformation.
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        Jul 9 2013: That is interesting. Does that mean it is safe at "normal" doses?
        • Jul 10 2013: Yes. That's what it means. Aspartame is ok. I detest the flavour, but it's safe as far as the science goes.
      • Jul 9 2013: If you think aspartame is safe, you are completely and utterly living in a dream world.

        You are not looking at the salient facts
        1) Cancer due to smoking has been on the decline since the 70's
        2) There is currently an explosion in the number of cancer and brain tumor cases.

        When I say explosion, I mean massive exponential growth in the number of people dead from it, since the 80's.

        Aspartame was introduced by Searle who Rumsfeld was the CEO.

        An internal policy memo describes psychological tactics the company should use to bring the FDA into a subconscious spirit of participation" with them on aspartame and get FDA regulators into the "habit of saying, "Yes"."


        Now maybe you think you can believe Rumsfeld , if your that innocent, I present this video, that clearly shows that knowingly he completely lied not only to the US but the world in his own voice and words.

        Bin Ladens Cave according to Rumsfeld - Sunday morning ABC 'meet the press'
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGhGHxw0mSo


        I'll end it with a relevant youtube commenter....

        "I have to watch this every year just to remind me that my Government lies to me and has no problem doing it. No one is ever held responsible. These lies sold those 2 wars that are still going on."


        If you want to trust you and your family's health to such a person who clearly has lied about Bin Laden, who previously and clearly stated he was not interested in the scientific evidence of Aspartame rather the profit, that's your choice. I only present you with the facts. You decide.
    • Jul 10 2013: Sorry Tify, but I have a very hard time trusting your information, since you linked to the american cancer society and that link provided by yourself, says that aspartame is not dangerous as far as the science goes. Therefore either you linked it as propaganda tactics hoping that nobody would read it, but rather just believe that it contained the info that you pretended it to contain, or else, you did not read it yourself, but you expected the society to be saying that aspartame was a carcinogen.

      Maybe today a higher proportion of people are dying of cancer, but that's exactly what we expect if a higher proportion of people make it to an older age. As other causes of death are conquered, we will be dying more and more of things that happen at older ages, such as cancer itself. It is not only unfair, but plainly misinformed, to conclude that if we die more of cancer today it means that aspartame is the reason. In order to blame aspartame you have to test the suspected substance, rather than just assume from dubious statistics and your own personal mistrust for whatever you happen to be against.

      I don't know if I can or cannot trust Rumsfeld about anything, but I do know that trusting sensationalism is not precisely wise. I also know how science works, and if aspartame was a carcinogen, the scientific community would have published so already.

      I agree about deciding with the facts. Hey! Even if the facts disagree with your preferences, decide as you wish. But if you are going to rely on facts, then make sure that those are really facts rather than sensationalist press.
      • Jul 10 2013: You can have a hard time trusting the formation, I am NOT trying to sell you one way or the other.

        The truth is out there, I suggest you take the time and look, after all it's YOUR heath that's at risk.

        If you don't understand that Rumsfeld as had a life long policy of lying and distorting the truth, there is nothing I can do to help you with that, apart from tell again tell you do your own research.

        If you don't understand that the certain bodies are controlled by political influence, then I can't really help you, as you don't understand the way the world works. That's not an insult, that simply put is the truth.

        That's why I put these links up, to let people see whats out there.


        I'm afraid, that you have not done anything like that, all you have done is blindly criticized with NO evidence, and hide behind a fake name, which is against ted standards, and neither of those really help anyone.
  • Jul 15 2013: When my daughter started drinking diet soda,
    she had epileptic-type seizures, and
    she began to lose her vision in both eyes.
    Many other members of our family also have noticed a reaction to NutraSweet.
    I get severe classic migraines from diet soda – my son, who is a physician and pharmacist,
    can’t see to drive if he drinks diet soda – another young man in the family,
    a lawyer, had double vision. His ophthalmologist thought he had a brain
    tumor, but all the tests were negative. He stopped drinking diet soda, and
    within 3 months, the double vision was gone. My sister-in-law acted like a
    “raving maniac” when she drank diet soda.

    And, by talking to others in my community for 20+ years, I have learned that
    reactions to NutraSweet are quite common.

    Unfortunately, most physicians are clueless when it comes to connecting the
    many symptoms of NutraSweet poisoning/toxicity with the consumption of what
    is supposedly a safe substance.

    By approving NutraSweet, the FDA caused many problems for many innocent
    people.
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    Jul 12 2013: 12. Hello Entropy Driven,

    I appreciate your thoughtful response.

    Consumption of artificial sweetener- and sugar-containing soda and
    risk of lymphoma and leukemia in men and women

    Eva S Schernhammer and 5 peers at Harvard and Ludwig-Boltzmann Institute,

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,

    We repeatedly assessed diet in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and
    Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS).

    Over 22 y, we identified 1324 non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs),
    285 multiple myelomas,
    and 339 leukemias.

    However, in men, ≥1 daily serving of diet soda increased risks of NHL
    (RR: 1.31; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.72)
    and multiple myeloma (RR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.20, 3.40)
    in comparison with in men without diet soda consumption.

    Conclusion:
    Although our findings preserve the possibility of a detrimental effect
    of a constituent of diet soda, such as aspartame, on select cancers,
    the inconsistent sex effects and occurrence of an apparent cancer risk
    in individuals who consume regular soda do not permit the ruling out
    of chance as an explanation.

    First published October 24, 2012

    They cited WC Monte 2010 article in discussing sex differences in methanol toxicity:

    "Another, more speculative explanation could be that men are more
    susceptible to the effects of aspartame, perhaps because of
    differences in enzyme activity;
    the only human enzyme that is capable of metabolizing methanol, one of
    the breakdown products of aspartame, to formaldehyde is ADH (44)."
    [ "44. Monte WC.
    Methanol: a chemical Trojan horse as the root of the inscrutable U.
    Med Hypotheses 2010;74:493–6.
    ( at WhileScienceSleeps.com free full text ) ]"

    Naturally, they did not control for substantial doses of methanol from dark wines and liquors, fresh tomatoes, fruits juices vegetables in cans and jars, smoked foods, jams jellies marmalades, and ambient sources like vehicle exhaust and jobs in paper and wood product factories.

    Significance was reached for just over 1 can daily (22 mg methanol)...
    • Jul 13 2013: Hi Rich,

      The complete abstract for this article is here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23097267

      If readers are interested, use google scholar (http://scholar.google.ca/), search for the title, and you will get links that take you to PDFs of the article, and for the first pages of a few answers to the article which show doubts about the study (the first page is enough because those answers are one page long).

      Anyway, the article did not have enough details to understand how they did the stats. Not only that, your quoted parts of the summary did not include this piece:

      "We also observed an unexpected elevated risk of NHL (RR: 1.66; 95% CI: 1.10, 2.51) with a higher consumption of ****regular, sugar-sweetened soda**** in men but not in women" (emphasis mine).

      That result alone should make those conclusions against aspartame suspicious. So, given what I found, the lack of details on how they've got those results, and the lack of control for other variables, I remain quite skeptical of this article.

      P.S. I don't get e-mail when someone answers my comments. I disabled that because I tend to get very busy at times. Like now, that I am preparing a talk for a conference next week.

      See ya and thanks for a good exchange.
  • Jul 12 2013: While the pseudo name "Entropy Driven" decides to hide his/her real name, and his/her comments have all be pro-aspartame.

    One has to wonder what his/her motivations are...or if the person is in some way connected with the very industries that promotes it, who knows?

    Considering this, they now want to add aspartame to MILK! That's right MILK, the kind children get at school. I ask you reader, is that something you want your children to ingest?

    One also has to wonder, does he/she dispute the facts that animals have died when being inject with aspartame, and that they have found holes in the brains of the dead animals?

    And you want to push this on children, by trying to create doubt. Shame on you.


    The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), have just asked the government for permission to add chemical sweeteners to milk and 16 other dairy products -- without telling consumers.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/fda-say-no-to-hidden-aspartame-chemicals-in-milk-other-dairy-products


    Same sort of story different drug ......

    FOX NEWS Reporters (Reporters Steve Wilson & Jane Akre) uncover that most of the Milk in the USA and across some parts of the world is unfit to drink due to Monsanto Corporation's POSILAC®, which has been proven to be a cancer-causing growth hormone.(known in short as "BGH" "BST" or "rBGH" ), but they were fired for trying to tell people the truth.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVKvzHWuJRU


    As for me I'm sick to death of people who hide behind fake names... and who will probably deride/deny this too.


    Food Inc... How food is "manufactured", what chemicals are added to it, irrespective of your heath and well being.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f69TUDbPdLs
    • Jul 12 2013: Tify,

      I hide my true identity because I have had personal problems with sensationalists.

      But I find it curious that instead of dealing with the facts about your sources being sensationalist, you rather deviate attention to the fact that my name is not public, or that Rumsfeld should not be trusted. But you won't even consider that I showed how your arguments were flawed by their lack of knowledge and reliance on misinformation. You attack the person in an attempt to deviate attention from the arguments.

      I would be with you against using aspartame in milk. Not for your sensationalist reasons though. Children can learn to enjoy milk as it is, and adding aspartame is useless, might make children addicted to very sweet flavours, and a long et cetera.

      Posilac is, atom-by-atom, the very same growth hormone that bovines produce. So, if it was a cancer-producing hormone, then cows would be nothing but tumours. Here's the report from the american cancer society:
      http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/recombinant-bovine-growth-hormone
      Not a carcinogen as far as the society reports.

      Again, learn to distinguish sensationalism from reality. We are bombarded by lots of misinformation because misinformation is easy to produce. All it takes is make it up and put it into the web. Actual information requires effort. But we can't afford to remain ignorant and then accept any kinds of claims present in the web. Misinformation easily goes viral, while carefully researched articles don't have the same "appeal" because they do not produce emotional outbursts.

      Be as sick as you wish about me and my lack of a proper name. But have the honesty and courage to try and understand what I'm saying, rather than avoid thinking that you might be wrong.
  • Jul 11 2013: I'm sorry, but Woodrow Monte does not seem to understand the very basics of chemistry. The aspartame molecule is not 11% methanol, it's impossible for every molecule of aspartame to turn into a molecule of methanol, it's impossible for one molecule of aspartame to turn into one of methanol, the stoichiometry does not work. Methanol and formaldehyde are cousin molecules, not one a carrier of the other. The methanol and formaldehyde in fruits and such does not come trapped in pectin. Even if they did, formaldehyde is a gas at room temperature. therefore it could not remain trapped. Even though we don't digest pectin, if methanol and formaldehyde came trapped in it, they would be freed by chewing and by pectin digestion by intestinal bacteria.

    I ask the readers to be careful about sensationalist claims. Often checking just a few facts makes the sensationalism evident. Woodrow might be a nutritionist, but his knowledge of chemistry and physiology seem dismay.

    Please have a look at the structure of aspartame (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame), then go check methanol and formaldehyde. Also check on the meaning of stoichiometry. Don't just come and believe what sensationalists claim. Don't just believe what I say either! Just learn to check carefully before buying from snake-oil salesmen.
    • W T 100+

      • 0
      Jul 12 2013: So, do you consume aspartame?

      It seems that for the common housewife, without a background in chemistry, or the time to make heads or tails of all the conflicting information, it can be a challenge.

      My motto.................."When in doubt, do without"!!
      • Jul 12 2013: I rarely consume aspartame. But my reasoning is one of discipline. I prefer discipline over mindless indulgence (though some degree of mindless indulgence has its place in the enjoyment of life). I think that if people decide to, for example, be a vegetarian, then be a vegetarian! Don't start consuming fake meat, consume vegetables. In sweetness regards, I rather learn to do without exaggeratedly sweet flavours, than make myself a fool by consuming false sugars. Anyway, I now don't like either too naturally sweet flavours, nor too artificially sweet flavours. I do on occasion have a soda with aspartame, but I dilute it (lots of ice) because they are way too sweet for me.

        I agree completely Mary that when in doubt do without. I only disagree with listening to propagandists and deciding on such grounds rather than on actual understanding.
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      Jul 12 2013: 9. Hello Entropy Driven,

      Exactly 11% of the weight of the ingested aspartame molecule shows up in the human GI tract as methanol, one molecule of methanol for each ten times larger molecule of aspartame.

      Just like ethanol, the methanol molecule, with only one carbon, not two, travels with the blood to all parts of the body every minute or so with half-life of elimination of presence in the blood of 3 hours.

      Even more easily than ethanol, methanol passes the blood brain barrier and all cell membranes.

      Of all animals, only humans lack functioning biochemical defenses in the peroxisomes in each cell to safely process methanol into formaldehyde in carefully controlled reactions.

      In humans, the ADH1 enzyme quickly makes methanol into free floating, uncontrolled formaldehyde, molecule for molecule.

      The formaldehyde promptly hydrates, with OH radicals on two sides, which are highly reactive acidic hydrogen donors, readily forming durable bonds with the nearest DNA, RNA, and protein macromolecules -- precisely how formaldehyde functions as a disinfectant and tissue fixing agent.

      Formaldehyde also adds methyl groups to DNA and RNA, impairing genes randomly, leading to birth defects and later cancers.

      Formaldehyde specifically impairs the ATP energy metabolism in the mitochrondria, causing cellular respiration to switch from aerobic to anaerobic, resulting in lactic acid buildup, causing blood acidosis.

      Formaldehyde specifically shuts down the rods and cones of the retina, producing specific kinds of blindness, which may be temporary or permanent, depending on the methanol dose and whether ethanol (which preempts the ADH1 enzyme and thus prevents methanol from being made into formaldehyde) is in the blood at low to high levels -- ethanol is used in hospitals to treat methanol toxicity.

      Therefore, those who never drink have about twice the harm from many chronic novel modern diseases as those who drink just once daily -- a medical mystery in recent years.
      • Jul 12 2013: Rich,

        First and foremost, what Monte said was that 11% of the aspartame molecule is methanol, and he continued to say that each molecule of aspartame transformed into a molecule of methanol. Both claims are evidently false. Methanol can be used in the manufacture of aspartame (depending on the method to manufacture it), but that does not make it a constituent any more than ethanol would be a constituent of sugar even though biochemical reactions can transform part of such sugars into ethanol. Also, the stoichiometry of one-to-one aspartame to methanol molecules is wrong. Therefore, Monte's claims show dismay knowledge of both chemistry and biochemistry.

        As per your claim. How would you actually know that 11% of consumed aspartame shows up as methanol in the human GI track other than by the claim made by Monte? I could not find anything like that except in the sensationalist press. But no scientific reports.

        Then you proceed to say that we don't metabolize methanol "safely" and that formaldehyde goes free and dangerously into the body, but you forget to talk about how formaldehyde is part of normal metabolism, and that it is present in the blood stream all the time whether we consume aspartame or not, and that the concentrations of methanol and formaldehyde in the blood stream of people consuming aspartame are no higher than those of people not consuming aspartame.

        I would advice, again, not to trust sensationalism, and not to trust even what I say, but rather to learn to distinguish propaganda from reality. As examples of balanced views I suggest you to read from this place: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/

        Check for example this one: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/aspartame-truth-vs-fiction/

        Notice the lack of sensationalist jargon. Then read the Mercola propaganda linked by Tify. Notice that the very title suggest that such "article" is mere sensationalism.

        Also see: http://whatdoesthesciencesay.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/aspartame-and-formaldehyde/
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          Jul 12 2013: 10. Hello Entropy Driven,

          The Wikipedia article you cited on "Aspartame":

          "Aspartame's major decomposition products are its cyclic dipeptide (diketopiperazine form), the de-esterified dipeptide (aspartyl-phenylalanine),
          and its constituent components,
          phenylalanine,[14] aspartic acid,[15] and methanol.[16]"

          "Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into residual components,
          including aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol,[47] in ratio of 4:5:1 by mass[48]
          and further breakdown products including formaldehyde[49] and formic acid, accumulation of the latter being suspected as the major cause of injury in methanol poisoning."

          "The methanol produced by the metabolism of aspartame is absorbed and quickly converted into formaldehyde and then completely oxidized to formic acid, which, due to its long half life, is considered the primary mechanism of toxicity in methanol poisoning.

          The methanol from aspartame is unlikely to be a safety concern for several reasons.

          The amount of methanol in aspartame is less than that found in fruit juices and citrus fruits, and there are other dietary sources for methanol such as fermented beverages.

          Therefore, the amount of methanol produced from aspartame is likely to be less than that from natural sources.

          With regard to formaldehyde, it is rapidly converted in the body, and the amounts of formaldehyde from the metabolism of aspartame are trivial when compared to the amounts produced routinely by the human body and from other foods and drugs.

          At the highest expected human doses of consumption of aspartame, there are no increased blood levels of methanol or formic acid,[8] and ingesting aspartame at the 90th percentile of intake would produce 25 times less methanol than what would be considered toxic.[40]"

          I added line spacing to increase clarity. This article has a history of constant strife by opposed contributors (not including me), so it is a decidely mixed bag, that largely restates standard vested interest propaganda.
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          Jul 12 2013: 11. Dear Entropy Driven,

          So, Wikipedia article "Aspartame" gives references for the 40, 50 and 10 % (round numbers) parts of the aspartame molecule that are released from the GI tract into the blood -- the last being methanol.

          Methanol has a half-life in the human blood flow of 3 hours, which means it is not quickly mostly made in the liver by highly controlled reactions into mildly toxic formic acid.

          The reality is that methanol mostly goes in the blood to every cell in the body every minute for many hours, and, as a small molecule and an excellent solvent, readily enters every cell.

          Formaldehyde by itself in blood is always at very low levels, as it quickly binds with DNA and proteins.

          Methanol in itself is less toxic than ethanol, until it meets up with free floating ADH1 enzyme right inside cells of 20 specific human tissues that have high levels of ADH1 -- then it is quickly made into free floating, uncontrolled formaldehyde, which randomly quickly binds firmly with and impairs DNA, RNA, and large protein macromolecules -- one small molecule of formaldehyde can glue together and disable two huge strands of DNA or RNA.

          The result is random increasing damage in cells in all the 20 vulnerable tissues, leading to many chronic diseases.

          Only in recent years has science been able to prove the existence of these tiny amounts of deadly formaldehyde, locked up with damaged macromolecules within cells.

          Vast vested interests -- cigarette, aspartame, beverage, fast food, canned fruits and vegetables, fresh tomatoes, vehicle fuels, fuel cells, building materials -- are reluctant to face these facts.

          Fresh fruits and vegetables usually have enough innate ethanol, a potent antidote that preoccupies the ADH1 enzyme, to prevent methanol being made into formaldehyde.

          But the blood half-life of ethanol is only 1/3 hour, so within a few hours there may not be enough ethanol to keep the remaining blood methanol from being made into toxic formaldehyde inside cells.
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          Jul 13 2013: 13. Hello again, Entropy Driven,

          I enjoy your name -- since the Big Bang of our expanding universe bubble 13,700 milion years ago, its extraordinary uniformity has been declining steadily from space-time foam temperatures to cooler and cooler, vaster and vaster realms to the present average temperature of 2.7 degrees K of the omnipresent cosmic microwave background radiation, while all kinds of hot and warm systems evolved: clusters of galaxies, galaxies, stars, planets, evolving living structures, societies, science itself -- all aspects "entropy driven" -- indeed, it may be that all physical data, which derive only from vibrating geometries of energy-space-time, always add up to zero, just as would the evolving vibrations of waves on the surface of a pond of a perfect frictionless fluid --

          however -- what did our universe bubble emerge within? mathematically, even our bubble may still prove to be actually infinite -- or it is easy to set up geometries that allow infinities of such expanding bubbles to spontaneously emerge within one another forever, with the totality adding up to zero --

          anyway, I'm hinting that we might enjoy exchanging a few posts rmforall@gmail.com

          a few days ago I copied a skeptical piece by Josh DeWald to add to my posts on an open minded forum, and just now I added your link to:

          Aspartame – Truth vs Fiction
          Posted by Steven Novella on September 15, 2010 (67 Comments)

          http://www.ms-uk.org/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=171&PID=726˖

          however, sadly, I have never found a discussion with skeptics to result in anything but talking right past one another, without the slightest shift of position or increase in actual curiosity --

          yet, if the Monte paradigm is actually correct about 20 diseases, then it is true for all 20, if true for any, and false for 20 all, if false for any --

          and if true for 20, offers us all a huge safe fast affordable gain in treatment, prevention, successful research, reduced medical costs, improved lives...
      • Jul 12 2013: Hello Rick,

        I know that the wikipedia article must be edited by people on both sides, the reasonable side, and the sensationalist side. That's why I used it to point to the structure, not to the content of the article. I am also surprised, positively, that you quoted both parts that contradict me and parts that contradict you. In any event, differentiating between valid contributions and invalid/controversial ones in the wikipedia article takes knowledge. Some of the knowledge necessary is of chemistry and biochemistry, and I do understand that not everybody has the time for that.

        However, I linked other places that talk about the allegations of harm, and then show that there's no evidence for any harm from aspartame other than its effect on people suffering from Phenylketonuria.

        I insist to readers, don't just buy into the sensationalism. I insist too, don't just buy into what I say either. Just learn to distinguish sensationalism from reality. In these times, when sensationalism reaches far and beyond, we need to be much better educated than ever to avoid snake-oil salesmen.
  • Jul 9 2013: Scary IS it really a problem?