There’s nothing ‘sweet’ about this artificial sweetener!
There’s also nothing exciting about Excitotoxins, as the name might suggest. Instead, it’s a term used to describe chemicals that excessively stimulate the brain.
Ever wondered why soft drinks or “pop” makes your heart race a little faster? How chewing gum can be sugar-free, yet taste so good?
Excitotoxins can be formally defined as, “chemicals that stimulate the neurons in the brain to excessive firing, which then totally fatigues and sometimes kills them, leading to serious diseases” (Hollingsworth 2007).
Excitotoxins include three prevalent artificial taste-enhancers used in today’s processed foods and beverages. They are: monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolysed wheat protein (HWP) and Aspartame.
I am sure you have heard of NutraSweet? Equal? These are artificial sweeteners that contain according to Elaine Hollingsworth, a “deadly chemical” called Aspartame have been the talk of the town for some time. The research around Aspartame increasingly suggests that it is a “neurotoxin” that is extremely detrimental to our health. In this post, I will focus on the effects that Aspartame can have on the body. In the following two posts, I will discuss the other two prevalent excitotoxins: MSG and Hydrolysed Wheat Protein.
The ongoing research behind Aspartame:
Why are chemicals or artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet and Equal so popular? Aspartame, the chemical molecule behind these sweeteners has low calorific value and therefore, is being consumed in enormous quantities because people think they can (literally) have their cake and eat it too.
The research that has been carried out on aspartame dates back to 1984 and is still being studied to this day. Why is there so much unrest about this artificial sweetener if the FDA has approved it?
Aspartame is “found in over 6,000 products – food, supplements, chewing gum, basically anything that says “sugar-free” and sadly people are consuming it without ever realising how it can, “allegedly”, affect the body.
Sadly, it is my belief that the major corporations that produce these ingredients are only interested in monetary benefit and not our health, even though they may say otherwise through means of impressive advertising campaigns.
As Elaine Hollingsworth says, “there is no safe artificial sweetener, no matter what fancy new name the manufacturers coin in order to describe their poison” (2007).
Illnesses reportedly linked to aspartame consumption:
Here are just a few of the ailments that have been allegedly linked to the consumption of Aspartame:
The following excerpt is from Elaine Hollingsworth’s book and it describes how multiple sclerosis (MS) has been reportedly linked to the consumption of Aspartame.
“When the temperature of aspartame exceeds 86° F (30° C), the wood alcohol (methanol) in aspartame converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. (Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants.) The methanol toxicity mimics multiple sclerosis. Thus, people are diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis when, in fact, they are often suffering from aspartame toxicity.”
MS is just one example of how Aspartame can affect the body. According to Elaine Hollingsworth’s research, there are many other parts of the body that can suffer from aspartame toxicity. Elaine’s book: “Take Control of Your Health” sights numerous studies undertaken by scientists and doctors. The following article written by Dr Campbell Douglas and extracted from Elaine’s book, shares some of the dangers of consuming diet drinks:
“Systematic lupus erythematosis (an auto-immune disease when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue) has become almost as common as multiple sclerosis and the major culprits appear to be Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. The systemic lupus appears to be triggered by aspartame.”
“Chronic methanol toxicity from Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, usually diagnosed as something else, has similar symptoms as lupus and MS. It is usually found that the patient drinks three to four 12oz cans (or more) of Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi per day.”
“When patients are taken off aspartame, those with systemic lupus may improve, but they will not be cured…” (Hollingsworth 2007)
What really makes Aspartame so dangerous?
The answer is quite simple, unfortunately: addiction. According to Hollingsworth, aspartame is “insidiously addictive” and research shows that people find it “difficult or impossible to discontinue aspartame because of several withdrawal effects” (2007).
Much like many other stimulants such as caffeine, when people try to give up artificial sweetener, they suffer from withdrawal symptoms that can be incredibly uncomfortable. Although these symptoms only last a week or so, they can be so uncomfortable that people immediately resort to “fixing” them with the very things that are causing them. Have you ever tried to kick your caffeine habit, only to find yourself with excruciating headaches? Have these headaches gotten so bad that you give in and resort to drinking coffee, just to get rid of it? These are the types of withdrawal symptoms that people who are trying to quit aspartame, experience.
I’d like to share this very powerful statement from aspartame expert and activist, American physician, Dr James Bowen: “The intact aspartame molecule is an alcohol poison about twenty thousand times as toxic as most alcoholic beverage alcohols” (Hollingsworth 2007). With this statement in mind, I am not surprised to find the growing evidence that claims aspartame causes so many illnesses.
What are the alternatives?
Herbal sweeteners and natural sugars such as Stevia, honey, agave nectar, coconut syrup or nectar and coconut sugar (to name a few) are widely available nowadays for people with a sweet tooth! My recommendation is, however, to cut as much sugar out of the diet as possible and from personal experience, the less sugar you ingest, the less you crave. These alternatives may be a little more expensive in comparison to artificial sweeteners or to even just sugar because they aren’t mass-produced nor subsidised, but in my opinion, your body is worth it.
Why are we so fixated on calories?
Are we afraid of calories? Is that why we’d choose a product like Splenda or Equal over honey or agave nectar?
Did you know…. There are approximately 90 calories in a banana. However, bananas also contain vital nutrients such as Potassium, Magnesium and Vitamin C that are essential for our health. Just because a banana contains around 90 calories, does not mean that it’s fattening nor going to cause us to gain weight. This can also be applied to natural sweeteners such as honey. Sure, honey has about 65 calories per serving, but it also has incredible antibacterial properties that work to heal the body, as well as sweeten our food at the same time.
Nature provides us with an abundance of alternatives to the artificial sweeteners that are so available. Nature doesn’t contain the nasty ingredients and instead contains, in most alternatives, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and vitamins and minerals that support as opposed to harm the human body. Rather than counting calories, try to focus on acknowledging the nutrients that you are nourishing your body with.
In the next post I will discuss another Excitotoxin called Monosodium Glutamate, which is also known as MSG.
Note: This information is provided in the hope that you will undertake your own research to gain a further understanding of what you are putting in and on your body. Educate yourself such that you can make informed choices . Through research and reading, we can gain a new perspective on our health.
Knowledge is power beautiful people.
Therese Kerr , Wellness Expert
Therese Kerr – A Holistic approach to wellbeing.
As I embrace the profound wisdom of the universe, I cleanse and nurture the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of my life. I restore myself, my divinity, and the service I am to all that is…..