Essay On Aspartame

Dangers Of Artificial Sweeteners Essay

Each year Americans spend millions on diet products. Fighting the ?battle of the bulge? has become part of people?s every day lives. The old saying: ? What you don?t know can?t hurt you.? doesn?t apply to food additives that are placed in diet foods. In the case of foreign substances being added to foods people need to be informed. It is required by law that all ingredients be listed on the label of all food products but many Americans do not know the harm that those unpronounceable added chemicals can cause to their health.

In order to appeal to dieters advertisers and marketing spent $1.1 billion dollars in 2000 to promote low calorie sweeteners (D?Amico E.L. ). The marketers targeted the age groups that are most susceptible to use artificial sweeteners to replace sugar in order to cut calories. The age groups the advertising was most directed toward was thirty-five to forty-four year olds and fifty to fifty-four year olds. Two-fifths of each of these age groups stated that they have used artificial sweeteners to reduce their sugar intake. Women seem to be hit hardest by this marketing because of the urge to be thin. Mothers have also inadvertently given these sugar replacers to their children thinking that it is better for their teeth and will keep them calmer (?Artificial sweeteners point? E.L.).

Although aspartame and other artificial sweetener caused diseases aren?t reported doesn?t mean that they don?t happen. Many of times people may not report them because they are not aware that that is why they have developed the disease. People are not informed of the symptoms of aspartame related diseases (Gold ?Aspartame Sugar Sub.? E.L.).While artificial sweeteners have FDA approval they are harmful and can even be fatal.

In 1965 a chemist named James Schlatter discovered aspartame accidentally. After his discovery the company Schlatter worked for , G.D. Searle , conducted safety tests and fought for permission to market their new discovery in 1973. In July of 1974 the FDA granted them their approval (Metcalfe E.L.) Aspartame is synthetically produced by combining aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol (?Artificial Sweetener? E.L.). Aspartame loses its flavor at high temperatures unlike sucralose, another sweetener, that can withstand baking and cooking temperatures. One of the newest artificial sweeteners, Stevia, that is used and found in Brazil and also used in South Korea acts as a laxative and has a licorice flavor (?Spoonful of Moderation? E.L.).

Artificial sweeteners are added to millions of products. They are mainly added to diet products to reduce calories but they include foods such as: soda, fruit drinks, ice pops, pudding, instant coffee and tea, chewing gum, mints, non-dairy creamers, cough drops, lip gloss and lip stick, relish, ketchup, toothpaste,...

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Aspartame is one of the commonest and most popular artificial sweeteners currently in the market. Even if you actively avoid artificial sweeteners, it is likely that you have had aspartame at least a few times in your lifetime. It is used to sweeten most candies and soft drinks, especially the diet versions. So far, it has been considered the ultimate answer to sugar- you can have your sweet cravings fulfilled, but you don’t have to fear all the risks associated with sugar consumption. Naturally, aspartame finds wide use, especially in the modern society which is as health conscious as it is gastronomically adventurous. In recent times, however, this ubiquitous sweetener has come under considerable criticism in the scientific society.

Negative effects of aspartame:

Most of the information that we have at present regarding the side effects of aspartame are, at best, speculative.

Weight gain

New research in the field has shown that aspartame can be linked to diabetes. In a new study conducted by the Yale University School of Medicine, it has been found that the body exhibits a higher than average metabolic response when a person consumes artificially sweetened food. The body receives more sweetness through a diet drink containing aspartame, and this activates the pleasure centers. However, the body is used to receiving calories that deactivate those centers, and when that doesn’t come- because empty diet foods, like sodas, have no nutritional value- the metabolism gets disrupted. In the long run, it leads to weight gain, as opposed to the reduced waistline the marketing campaigns promise.


Aspartame has also been linked to health issues a lot more serious than weight gain. A study points out that regular consumers of aspartame are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer. Dr. Morando Soffritti, a cancer researcher hailing from Italy, recently published his studies outlining how small animals started to develop cancer when fed regularly with aspartame, even in very low doses. According to his studies, rats fed with aspartame have a higher propensity of developing brain tumors more than those who are on a regular diet.  Besides, studies have also shown that there is quite a bit of association between regular consumption of aspartame and the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma.

Neurological issues

Aspartame has also been shown to have a positive association to increased risk of dementia and strokes, by as much as up to three times. This is because liquefied aspartame breaks down into methyl alcohol, which has a virus-like effect on the proteins and DNA of the system. This can lead to attacks on the brain, leading to deadly and debilitating issues like autism, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.  Negative effects of aspartame can manifest themselves as migraines, mood disorders, headaches, intestinal dysbiosis, and seizures.

The bad news is, no definitive study has, as of yet, emerged from the scientific community that will surely and certainly point at aspartame for the various illnesses people experience after consuming an item with the sweetener added. We do know that it is about two hundred times sweeter than sugar, so we can imagine that an excessive consumption will lead to health issues that are associated with immoderate ingestion of sugar; however, precisely because these illnesses are also brought about by normal sugar, we cannot be certain that they are also caused by aspartame.

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