The Facts about Aspartame
In the event that one wants to make something taste sweeter, an individual is faced with two choices; they can either use sugar and sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners. In choosing to use artificial sweeteners also called sugar substitutes or nonnutritive sweeteners or noncaloric sweeteners, one can either use acesulfame-K, neotame, saccharin, sucralose and finally Aspartame. Aspartame is a lab-manufactured sweetener that does not exist in the form of a naturally grown product like sugarcane and other natural products but rather it is formed in the laboratories. They are chemically engineered in the form of molecules. Aspartame like the other four is approved artificial sweeteners in the United States and the first time it hit the market, it was sold under the umbrella name of NutraSweet. Aspartic acid/phenylalanine dipeptide can be made into an ester and when it is a methyl ester, Aspartame will be the end results.
Reasons why one would prefer artificial sweeteners over the normal sugar, aspartame being one of them.
- It can help an individual who is trying to lose weight because of the fact that they contain very few calories; four calories in just one gram. We all know that excess calories in the body is stored up as fats and therefore, when you intake too many calories your weight will keep going up. This is the case with sugar, the calories contained in sugar is too much as compared to that in noncaloric sweeteners.
- When you have a sweet tooth, using artificial sugar can be of great advantage to you. When it comes to teeth decay, it also works for your good; for decay to take place, bacteria that uses sugar to decay the tooth needs to work on a fermentable sugar and an artificial sugar cannot ferment. Therefore, this means that you are safer than the one using sugar.
- If you are a diabetic, the noncaloric sweeteners are the best option for you. While sugar raises your sugar levels, the artificial sweeteners do not have much impact on the level of sugar in your blood.
There are so many things that the users of aspartame do not know and whether they are true or false, only the manufacturers can be able to argue it out because every manufacturer knows how well to respond to truths and lies in their defense.
Below are some of the facts that you may not know about aspartame
Through thorough research, it has been established that the acceptable intake of aspartame by an individual in a day is 40 mg/kg body weight /day; this was established by JECFA (Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives), EEA (European Environmental Agency) AND COT (Committee on Toxicity). On the other hand, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) established that in a day the intake can be 50 mg/ kg body weight/day.
It is a terrible sweetener for people with phenylketonuria: people with this condition tend to have excessive phenylalanine in their blood. This substance is a type of amino acid that is essential in the body of an individual and it is in protein rich foods like fish, meat, eggs and dairy products. A person who is fighting with the condition usually has a hard time processing phenylalanine in the designed way. Aspartame contains phenylalanine and therefore, a person who has it in excess has no business adding some more into his system; remember that too much of something is poisonous. Going beyond the ‘too much’ by adding more is pulling the trigger on yourself.
Aspartame is made from the E. Coli’s waste. E. coli is a form of bacteria and the waste it gives out is usually benzylated (a process whereby benzyl, C6H5CH2, is introduced into a compound) and then hydrolysed (the process of adding water to a chemical compound to cause it to break into its different constituents). After these processes are done, the final product will then be methylated (mixing with methanol) and debenzylated (the process of removing benzyl from a compound).
This E. coli bacterium is usually a genetically modified one even though the manufacturers can argue this fact out. As if it is not nasty enough that it is a bacteria’s waste product, being genetically modified is just a whole new level of a troubling thought. Who is to say that the metabolism of the genetically modified E. coli is not deranged? We can boldly say so because there is foreign DNA content.
As an artificial sweetener, aspartame is not as stable as the other five when it comes to baking or cooking. This is for the simple reason that it is very unstable under such intense heat conditions. When subjected to high temperatures, aspartame is known to break down and lose the sweetness that it possesses.
Aspartame is broken down in the body into three separate compounds and they are aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. These three compounds are then absorbed into the blood and are put to use by the body for normal body processes and functions. Even so, when they are metabolized further, research shows that a compound called Formaldehyde is produced. This chemical compound is usually used on dead bodies and in this case it is in you and you are alive.
With high concentrations in the plasma of phenylalanine and aspartic acid, there is a chance that these amino acids can be transported to the brain in excess and therefore, cause an alteration of the neurochemical composition of the brain.
Aspartame usually increases the muscles movement that is uncontrollable usually caused by Tardive Dyskinesia (a condition whereby an individual experiences movements that are involuntary in their lips, tongues, face and even trunk).
Aspartame can affect the unborn child of a woman who has phenylketonuria in that it can cause the child to be born with conditions like impaired neurological function; a situation whereby the neurological system is not functioning the way it normally should, congenital heart disease; a condition whereby the heart does not function appropriately as it should as from birth and even microcephalus; a situation whereby your child has a tiny head that is un-proportional to the body because the brain failed to develop completely.
Aspartame has been linked to approximately ninety symptoms that are commonly associated with the known disease. In the event that you are feeling awful and your doctor’s report shows that you are perfectly okay, then the problem could be on the diet you are on; if aspartame is involved, it can trigger the following diseases or cause you to show the following symptoms or symptoms associated with the mentioned illness:
Hypothyroidism: this is a condition whereby the body of an individual does not produce sufficient thyroid hormone that is used to make the body function in a normal way.
Alzheimer’s disease: it is a type of dementia (a chronic disorder of the processes of the mind that could be as a result of a disease or an injury to the brain); it is a condition that has adverse effects on the brain causing memory loss, inability to think clearly and also behavioral issues.
Grave’s disease: unlike in hypothyroidism, grave’s disease is characterized by overproduction of the thyroid hormone. It is an autoimmune problem that is also referred to as a toxic diffuse goiter.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: this is a type of cancer that affects the lymphocytes cells which are part of the body’s immune system.
Epilepsy: this is a condition caused by electrical activity in the brain that is abnormal. These abnormal activities result in convulsions, loss of consciousness and sensory disturbance episodes that recur.
Lyme disease: this is a type of a bacterial disease that is infectious and is caused by a tick bite. The area that one was bit becomes red and begins to expand; it is known as erythema migrans.
Hypoglycemia: this is a condition whereby the level of sugar in an individual’s blood is lower than it ought to be. Glucose is needed to maintain normal blood sugar yet aspartame does not provide the same.
ALS: this is a neurodegenerative disease that is progressive and affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
- Feelings of committing suicide
- One can enter into depression state that is severe
- An addiction to aspartame that causes one to crave its sweetness.
- A feeling of intense fatigue that can be said to be chronic.
- Hyperactivity in children
- Behaviors of aggression in children
- Irreversible brain damage especially to a newborn.
- Susceptibility to infections is increased
- Migraines and headaches.
For one reason or the other, aspartame-containing products tend to cause you gain weight.
Reasons why aspartame can cause gain weight:
- When using sugar, there is a way that they function together with the brain to suppress one’s appetite so that they can stop eating. With aspartame like other artificial sweeteners, the pathways in the brain for food rewards do not get activated, hence, you can never feel like you have had enough. You will keep eating and it will, therefore, reflect in your weight. As compared to glucose, aspartame has a way of increasing an individual’s hunger instead of quenching it.
- Like any other thing that has sweetness in it, aspartame also increases one’s appetite, hunger is just for the moment but one’s appetite for food is always the thing that drives one to eat. The greater your appetite, the more often you are likely to eat and great quantities of food too.
- When an individual is constantly taking sweets, they tend to develop cravings for them more often and due to the fact that they believe it is safe for them, their intake increases and can eventually lead one to have excess amino acids.
- Aspartame also affects insulin and leptin production that are responsible for how the fat in the body will be broken down. The insulin and leptin affect how fat will be stored, where it will be stored and if it will be stored. The fact that aspartame deranges the metabolism of fats goes to show that a person is more likely to gain more weight than to shed weight because phenylalanine and aspartate present in aspartame encourage fat storage.