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By Wendell Whitman,   M.Div. N.D.

Aspartame is the technical term for an artificial sweetener produced under the popular names of NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful and Equal-measure. Aspartame was accidentally discovered in 1965 by James Schlatter,  a chemist for G.D.Searle Company while he was testing an anti-ulcer drug. Obviously, something discovered in drug testing and formulation should be classified as a drug, not a food. However, the Food and Drug Administration classified aspartame as a food when it approved the substance for dry use in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. By classifying the substance as a food rather than a drug, the manufacturer is not required to report to a federal agency any adverse reactions caused by the substance. The manufacturer is also not required to monitor aspartame for any long-term safety hazards.

From the very beginning, aspartame was identified as a harmful and dangerous substance. In 1974, neuroscience researcher Dr. John W. Olney from the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri and consumer attorney James Turner investigated the research performed by G.D. Searle on aspartame and concluded it was flawed. These two men were instrumental in influencing the FDA to withhold its approval of aspartame from August to December of 1974. However, Searle drugs vigorously lobbied federal and congressional officials to move aspartame to the market despite substantial evidence of the chemical's detrimental side effects. Aspartame has been declared by some to be the most dangerous food  additive on the market. When ingested, aspartame breaks down into three amino acids  as well as methanol, a poisonous alcohol. The continuing digestive process then converts this methanol into formaldehyde. People who ingest aspartame should perhaps see their mortician and ask for an embalming discount since they will already be partially  embalmed with formaldehyde when they die.

The FDA proclaimed in 1984 that "no evidence has been established that aspartame's methanol by product ever reached toxic levels:” saying" many fruit juices contain higher levels of the natural compound." However, the Medical World News in 1978 reported  that the methanol content of aspartame is more than 1000 times greater than most foods under the FDA’s control. Independent studies suggest that aspartame in animal studies can alter brain chemicals which affect behavior. Dr. Paul Spiers of the Boston Beth Israel Hospital found that aspartame can depress intelligence. In May 1985, there was a Senate hearing on NutraSweet and the conclusions of the chairman, Senator Metzenbaum, were that "there have been hundreds of incidences of people who have suffered loss of memory, headaches, dizziness and other neurological symptoms which they feel are related to aspartame"


Aspartame is composed of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. Dr. James Balch in his book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, places aspartame in the category of a "chemical poison." Aspartame acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartame in the brain kills the cells. (Blaylock) The problem is that 75% of the cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of chronic illness are evident. A few of the conditions that have been linked to excessive aspartic excitation include: multiple sclerosis. ALS, memory loss, hormonal imbalance, hearing loss, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, hypoglycemia, AIDS, dementia, brain lesions and neuro-endocrine problems.


Phenylalanine makes up about 50% of the drug aspartame and is found naturally occurring in the brain. People with PKU (phenylketouria) cannot metabolize phenylalanine. A build up of phenylalanine in the brain can cause an imbalance in seratonin leading to emotional disorders and depression. Excessive intake of phenylalanine can create the PKU condition in individuals who do not have the genetic predisposition for PKU. High levels of phenylalanine in the brain can be, in some cases, lethal to children.

Rodents metabolize phenylalanine more efficiently than humans and thus rat tests are an inappropriate testing vehicle to determine the effects of aspartame's phenylalanine on humans (as per Dr. Louis Elasas in testimony before Congress).There cannot be a better additive to put in the food of a nation you wish to have suffer from depression, bi-polar disorders and obsessive, cumpulsive behavior.

Methanol makes up 10% of aspartame and is also known as wood alcohol, a deadly poison. When methanol is heated above 86 degrees Fahrenheit, free methanol is created. This occurs when aspartame is improperly stored or heated in a food product such as Jell-O. Desert Storm troops were provided with aspartame beverages  which, due to the desert conditions, were heated to over 86 degrees. The troops returned home experiencing symptoms of those who have been chemically poisoned by formaldehyde. Studies and reports contain information indicating that aspartame may be associated with birth defects, brain cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, emotional disorders, epileptic-type seizures and a host of other conditions. One of the most useful sources of documented information on aspartame is found on the internet. It contains valuable resource information where individuals have documented their negative experiences with aspartame. There are over 180 pages reporting the tragic symptoms attributed to this FDA approved food additive.

In conclusion, almost everyone who ingests aspartame is doing it for weight loss. Does it work? Dr. Richard Wurtman of MIT discovered that the sweetener is notproductive  in weight loss as high doses of the sweetener apparently instill a craving for caloric ladened  carbohydrates. Of eighty thousand women who were studied for six years, it was determined that those who gained the most weight were users of artificial sweeteners! This fact, along with the fact that more consumer complaints have been sent to the FDA about aspartame than any other food additive, indicates that it would be wise to avoid this sweetener and enjoy a healthier life!

The following books, articles, organizations and Internet sources will yield much more information:



Blaylock, Russell L., M.D. Excitatoxins: The Taste That Kills.

Santa Fe, NM: Healthv  Press.

Mullarkey, Barbara. Bittersweet Aspartame-A diet Delusion.

Oak Park,lL: NutriVoice.

Roberts, H.J., M.D., Aspartame - Is it Safe? Philadelphia:

The Charles Press.

Stottard, Mary Nash. Deadly Deception: The Story of Aspartame. Pamphlet. Dallas: Aspartame Consumer

Safety Network.


Aspartame Consumer Safety Network, PO Box 780634, Dallas, TX 75378.   1-800-969-6050

Mission Possible, PO Box 28098,Atlanta, GA 30358





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Copyright 2012 Dr. David Dyer