Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Truth on Aspartame (E951,) Artificial Sweeteners, Nutra Sweet, Sugar Free Products List, Health Risks, Effects and Properties

The artificial sweetener aspartame has been the subject of several controversies and hoaxes since its initial approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1974. Anti-aspartame activists allege that conflicts of interest marred the FDA's approval of aspartame, question the quality of the initial research supporting its safety, and postulate that numerous health risks may be associated with aspartame.

The validity of these claims has been examined and dismissed. In 1987, the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded that the food additive approval process had been followed properly for aspartame. Aspartame has been found to be safe for human consumption by more than ninety countries worldwide, with FDA officials describing aspartame as "one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved" and its safety as "clear cut". The weight of existing scientific evidence indicates that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a non-nutritive sweetener. ~Wikipedia~

David Icke; Sodium Fluoride, Vaccine and Aspartame.

Agenda 21, Sodium Fluoride and Aspartame.

Fox News: People, Government and Policies.

Chemical Dumbing Down by the Government.

Psychological Problems, Health Risk and all because its just BUSINESS!

Products with Aspartame

These products may contain aspartame, but may also be available in sugared form, or with neither sugar nor artificial sweeteners, that is, natural. This list can be summarized as if it tastes too sweet to be true, it probably is. In their artificially sweetened form, all of these products have a sweet taste, but no calories from sugar.

* Breath Mints
* Carbonated Soft Drinks
* Cereals
* Chewing Gum
* Flavored Syrups for Coffee
* Flavored Water Products
* Frozen Ice
* Frozen Ice Cream Novelties
* Fruit Spreads
* Gelatin, Sugar Free
* Hard Candies
* Ice Cream Toppings
* Ice Creams, No Sugar Added or Sugar Free
* Iced Tea, Powder
* Iced Tea, Ready to Drink
* Instant Cocoa Mix
* Jams & Jellies
* Juice Blends
* Juice Drinks
* Maple Syrups
* Meal Replacements
* Mousse
* No Sugar Added Pies
* Non-Carbonated Diet Soft Drinks
* Nutritional Bars
* Powdered Soft Drinks
* Protein Nutritional Drinks
* Pudding
* Soft Candy Chews
* Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup
* Sugar Free Cookies
* Sugar Free Ketchup
* Table Top Sweeteners
* Vegetable Drinks
* Vitamins
* Yogurt, Drinkable
* Yogurt, Fat Free
* Yogurt, Sugar Free

Aspartame - Health risks controversy

While it is well-known that aspartame contains phenylalanine and is unsafe for those born with phenylketonuria, some believe that aspartame can be implicated in other public health issues. Some of these contentions are backed by reputable scientific research, while others depend heavily on anecdotal evidence and layman's interpretations of chemistry.

The FDA receives more complaints related to aspartame than any other food additive. Concerns about aspartame frequently revolve around symptoms and health conditions that are allegedly caused by the sweetener. The 92 health effects reported to the FDA are: abdominal pain, anxiety attacks, arthritis, asthma, asthmatic reactions, bloating/edema, blood sugar control problems (hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia), brain cancer (Pre-approval studies in animals), breathing difficulties, burning eyes or throat, burning urination, inability to think clearly, chest pains, chronic cough, chronic fatigue, confusion, death, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, excessive thirst or hunger, fatigue, feel 'unreal', flushing of face, hair loss (baldness) or thinning of hair, headaches/migraines, hearing loss, heart palpitations, hives (Urticaria), hypertension (high blood pressure), impotency and sexual problems, inability to concentrate, infection susceptibility, insomnia, irritability, itching, joint pains, laryngitis, "like thinking in a fog," marked personality changes, memory loss, menstrual problems or changes, muscle spasms, nausea or vomiting, numbness or tingling of extremities, other allergic-like reactions, panic attacks, phobias, poor memory, rapid heartbeat, rashes, seizures and convulsions, slurring of speech, swallowing pain, tachycardia, tremors, tinnitus, vertigo, vision loss, and weight gain.

Questions have been raised about brain cancer, lymphoma, and genotoxic effects such as DNA-protein crosslinks, but these questions are primarily not based on reported case histories.

The sources for reported symptoms and health conditions that have raised questions include:

1. Reports and analysis of case histories in scientific journals and at medical conferences.
2. Symptoms reported to the FDA and other governmental agencies.
3. Symptoms reported to non-governmental organizations, researchers, and physicians.
4. Reports of symptoms and health conditions in the media.
5. Self-reported cases on the Internet.

There is a significant debate in the scientific and medical community as to whether these symptoms are or are not caused by short-term or long-term exposure to aspartame. Some human and animal studies have found adverse effects and some have found no adverse effects. It is not only the results of the research that have been questioned, but the design of the research that led to specific outcomes. For example, in human research of aspartame, the aspartame is usually provided in slow-dissolving capsules. But the biochemical changes from ingesting aspartame in slow-dissolving capsules is many times smaller than ingesting aspartame dissolved in liquids (such as carbonated beverages). Therefore, the amount of aspartame used in most human studies is equivalent to a much smaller "real-world" amount. Other questions that have been raised about aspartame research involve the length of the studies, the number of test subjects; conflict of interest issues, improper testing procedures, etc.

Since the FDA approved aspartame for consumption in 1981, some researchers have suggested that a rise in brain tumor rates in the United States may be at least partially related to the increasing availability and consumption of aspartame. In 2005, researchers with the (Ramazzini) Cancer Research Centre in Italy reported that aspartame "causes a dose-related statistically significant increase in lymphomas and leukaemias in female rats at dose levels very near those to which humans can be exposed". However, the report also found that "no statistically significant increase in malignant brain tumors was observed". The study, published in the European Journal of Oncology, raises concerns about the levels of aspartame exposure.

There are four chemical components of aspartame that scientists and physicians have debated as to whether they are causing or can cause adverse health effects:

Aspartame - Methanol
Scientists agree that approximately 10% of aspartame (by weight) is broken down into methanol in the small intestine. Most of the methanol is absorbed and quickly converted into formaldehyde. Some scientists believe that the methanol cannot be a problem because: a) there is not enough methanol absorbed to cause toxicity, b) methanol and formaldehyde are already a by-product of human metabolism, and c) there is more methanol in some alcoholic beverages and fruit juices than is derived from aspartame ingestion.

Other scientists believe a) fruit juices and alcoholic beverages always contain protective chemicals such as ethanol that block conversion of methanol into formaldehyde, but aspartame contains no protective factors; b) the levels of methanol and particularly formaldehyde have been proven to cause chronic toxicity in humans, and c) the low levels of methanol and formaldehyde in human metabolism are tightly-controlled such that significant increases from aspartame ingestion are not safe.

In 1998, a team of scientists in Spain conducted an experiment on rodents to indirectly measure the levels of formaldehyde adducts in the organs after ingestion of aspartame. They did this by radiolabeling the methanol portion of aspartame. The scientists concluded that formaldehyde bound to protein and DNA accumulated in the brain, liver, kidneys and other tissues after ingestion of either 20 mg/kg or 200 mg/kg of aspartame. However, it has been argued by Tephly that these scientists were not directly measuring formaldehyde, but simply measuring levels of some by-product of the methanol from aspartame.Tephly believes that the by-product was not formaldehyde. The researchers have stated that the data in the experiment has proven it was formaldehyde.

Aspartame - Phenylalanine
Phenylalanine is an amino acid commonly found in foods. Approximately 50% of aspartame (by weight) is broken down into phenylalanine. Because aspartame is broken down and absorbed very quickly (unlike phenylalanine-containing proteins in foods), it is known that aspartame could spike blood plasma levels of phenylalanine. The debate centers on whether a significant spike in blood plasma phenylalanine occurs at typical aspartame ingestion levels, whether a sudden influx of phenylalanine into the bloodstream adversely affects uptake of other amino acids into the brain and the production of neurotransmitters (since phenylalanine competes with other Large Neutral Amino Acids (LNAAs) for entry into the brain at the blood brain barrier), and whether a significant rise in phenylalanine levels would be concentrated in the brain of fetuses and be potentially neurotoxic.

Some scientists believe (based on case histories from aspartame users, measuring levels of neurotransmitters in the brains of animals and measuring the potential of aspartame to cause seizures in animals) that aspartame may affect neurotransmitter production. They believe that even a moderate spike in blood plasma phenylalanine levels from typical ingestion may have adverse consequences in long-term use. They are especially concerned that the phenylalanine can be concentrated in fetal brains to a potentially neurotoxic level. Other scientists believe that rise in blood plasma phenylalanine is negligable in typical use of aspartame and their studies show no significant effects on neurotransmitter levels in the brain or changes in seizure thresholds. In addition, they say that proven adverse effects of phenylalanine on fetuses has only been seen when blood phenylalanine levels stay at high levels as opposed to occasionally being spiked to high levels.

Aspartame - Aspartic acid
Aspartic acid is an amino acid commonly found in foods. Approximately 40% of aspartame (by mass) is broken down into aspartic acid. Because aspartame is broken down and absorbed very quickly (unlike aspartic acid-containing proteins in foods), it is known that aspartame could spike blood plasma levels of aspartate. Aspartic acid is in a class of chemicals known as excitotoxins. Abnormally high levels of excitotoxins have been shown in hundreds of animals studies to cause damage to areas of the brain unprotected by the blood brain barrier and a variety of chronic diseases arising out of this neurotoxicity. The debate amongst scientists has been raging since the early 1970's, when Dr. John Olney found that high levels of aspartic acid caused damage to the brains of infant mice. Dr. Olney and consumer attorney, James Turner filed a protest with the FDA to block the approval of aspartame. The debate is complex and has focused on several areas: a) whether the increase in plasma aspartate levels from typical ingestion levels of aspartame is enough to cause neurotoxicity in one dose or over time; b) whether humans are susceptible to the neurotoxicity from aspartic acid seen in some animal experiments; c) whether aspartic acid increases the toxicity of formaldehyde; d) whether neurotoxicity from excitotoxins should consider the combined effect aspartic acid and other excitotoxins such as glutamic acid from monosodium glutamate. The Neuroscientists at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience had a split of opinion on the issues related to neurotoxic effects from excitotoxic amino acids found in some additives such as aspartame.

Some scientists believe that humans and other primates are not as susceptible to excitotoxins as rodents and therefore there is little concern with aspartic acid from aspartame. While they agree that the combined effects of all food-based excitotoxins should be considered, their measurements of the blood plasma levels of aspartic acid after ingestion of aspartame and monosodium glutamate demonstrate that there is not a cause for concern. Other scientists feel that primates are susceptible to excitotoxic damage and that humans concentrate excitotoxins in the blood more than other animals. Based on these findings, they feel that humans are approximately 5-6 times more susceptible to the effects of excitotoxins than are rodents. While they agree that typical use of aspartame does not spike aspartic acid to extremely high levels in adults, they are particularly concerned with potential effects in infants and young children, the potential long-term neurodegenerative effects of small-to-moderate spikes on plasma excitotoxin levels, and the potential dangers of combining formaldehyde exposure from aspartame with excitotoxins given that chronic methanol exposure increases excitoxin levels in susceptible areas of the brain and that excitotoxins may potentiate formaldehyde damage.

Aspartame - Aspartylphenylalanine diketopiperazine
This type of diketopiperazine (DKP) is created in products as aspartame breaks down over time. For example, researchers found that 6 months after aspartame was put into carbonated beverages, 25% of the aspartame had been converted to DKP. Concern amongst some scientists has been expressed that this form of DKP would undergo a nitrosation process in the stomach producing a type of chemical that could cause brain tumors. Other scientists feel that the nitrosation of aspartame or the DKP in the stomach would not produce a chemical that would cause brain tumors. Additionally, only a minuscule amount of the nitrosated chemical would be produced. There are very few human studies on the effects of this form of DKP. However, a (one-day) exposure study showed that the DKP was tolerated without adverse effects.

Aspartame - Responses
The American Cancer Society argues that since aspartame is broken down into these components before it is absorbed into the blood stream, aspartame in its initial form does not have the opportunity to travel to target organs, including the brain, to cause cancer. The Feingold Association has stated that aspartame is reported to cause a variety of neurological effects from headache to seizures and brain tumors. The American Heart Association concludes that extensive investigation so far hasn't shown any serious side effects from aspartame. A consumer alert issued by the Association for Consumers Action on Safety and Health was published related to the dangers of ingesting aspartame. The National Cancer Institute argues there is no evidence that the regulated artificial sweeteners on the market in the United States are related to cancer risk in humans. The National Health Federation calls aspartame a neurotoxic artificial sweetener. The FDA says the more than 100 toxicological and clinical studies it has reviewed confirm that aspartame is safe for the general population. The consumer organization UK Campaign for Truth in Medicine says that Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods. There have been more than 600 studies on aspartame and thousands of studies on aspartame breakdown products and metabolites. It is not known whether person(s) writing the opinion for the above-mentioned organizations have read the bulk of the published research on aspartame or whether they are relying on summaries provided to them.

Aspartame - Recently published research
A large three-year study into the long term effects of eating aspartame in rats by the European Ramazzini Foundation for cancer research in Bologna, Italy was published in September 2005. It found evidence that aspartame caused cancer of the kidney, and of the peripheral nerves, mainly in the head. It also reported an increased risk of leukaemias and lymphomas in female rats. Manufacturers of aspartame have challenged the validity of the study.

Aspartame - Properties and use
Aspartame's attractiveness as a sweetener comes from the fact that it is approximately 180 times sweeter than sugar in typical concentrations without the high energy value of sugar. While aspartame, like other peptides, has a caloric value of 4 kilocalories (17 kilojoules) per gram, the quantity of aspartame needed to produce a sweet taste is so small as to make its caloric contribution negligible, which makes it a popular sweetener for those trying to avoid calories from sugar. The taste of aspartame is not identical to sugar: aspartame's sweetness has a slower onset and longer duration than sugar's, and some consumers find it unappealing. Blends of aspartame with acesulfame potassium are purported to have a more sugar-like taste, and to be more potent than either sweetener used alone.

Like many other peptides, aspartame may hydrolyze (break down) into its constituent amino acids under conditions of elevated temperature or high pH. This makes aspartame undesirable as a baking sweetener, and prone to degradation in high-pH products requiring a long shelf life. Aspartame's stability under heating can be improved to some extent by encasing it in fats or in maltodextrin. Aspartame's stability when dissolved in water depends markedly on pH. At room temperature, it is most stable at pH 4.3, where its half-life is nearly 300 days. At pH 7 however, its half-life is only a few days. Most soft-drinks have a pH between 3 and 5, where aspartame is reasonably stable. In products that may require a longer shelf life, such as syrups for fountain beverages, aspartame is sometimes blended with a more stable sweetener, such as saccharin.

In products such as powdered beverages, aspartame's amino group can undergo a Maillard reaction with the aldehyde groups present in certain aroma compounds. The ensuing loss of both flavor and sweetness can be prevented by protecting the aldehyde as an acetal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the helpful information you provide in your articles.
I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.
I am quite certain I will learn a lot of new stuff right here!

Good luck for the next!
My blog post - natural sugar substitute