Walking down the isles of your local supermarket, it is difficult to pick up any one item that does not contain aspartame. Without actually reading the ingredient list, consumers are led to believe that labels touting, "No Sugar Added", "Low Sugar", or "Sugar-Free" are actually healthy no sugar alternatives, when in truth; most items that carry such labels contain chemical sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose that are far from "healthy".
Consumption of aspartame can be linked to arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, insomnia, headaches/migraines, dizziness, and loss of vision just to name a few.
Now, one state has joined in the fight to have one of these chemicals removed from the food supply. Hawaii is making strides toward legislation that would ban aspartame from the food on Hawaiian store shelves. They are the second state to craft legislation geared toward aspartame removal.
In 2006, New Mexico attempted legislation that would have effectively put a halt to what some have labeled, "Rumsfeld's Disease", named appropriately after aspartame's chief champion in the 1970's, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The lobbyists and corporations went to testify and according to Stephen Fox, who petitioned to push the bill into legislation, Richard Minzner, former Majority Leader in the House, told the Committee that it was, "irresponsible and illegal to even think about challenging an FDA approved chemical." Stephen reported that not one committee member objected to this statement. They simply sat listening as they ate their ham sandwiches and downed cans of diet soda.
Hawaii took up the gauntlet in late January to try their hand at a ban on the toxic substance. Today, that bill was killed in Committee for the entire 2008 session.
It was decided that instead of bringing this Hawaii House bill to a vote, which is what Representative Josh Green, M.D., told his constituents that he would do last week, he has "deferred at the discretion of the Chair". According to Stephen Fox, there is still a bill to be considered by the Senate, but with over 3000 other bills in consideration, the Senate bill to ban aspartame has, "yet to be scheduled for its hearing."
Awareness regarding the dangers of aspartame seems to be increasing even though the FDA, corporations, and some doctors insist on its safety.
Dr. Kalani Brady, a physician at John A. Burns School of Medicine says, "Aspartame has been studied hundreds of times. Nothing has ever been shown to be a detriment with aspartame. It's perfectly safe."
Dr. Brady insists that a ban on aspartame would have an adverse affect on life as we know it. "Oh, we would shut things down, you know. It's very difficult to look into all the products that aspartame is contained in. More than just an inconvenience, it would shut down the economy."
On February 12, 2008, ABC aired a piece with Diane Sawyer regarding new research from Purdue University in the field of aspartame dangers.
Dr. Marie Savard tells us that as little as one diet soda a day can change your metabolism and actually cause you to gain weight. She also reported that consumption of artificial sweeteners can change brain chemistry.
The artificial sweetener industry issued a response in regard to the new research information. The Calorie Control Council rebutted the study saying, "Previous studies in humans have shown that low calorie sweeteners are indeed beneficial for weight control."
Dr. Savard tells us in this interview that there have been "small studies" showing benefits, but two recent large studies involving 18,000 participants that were followed for five to nine years found "healthy adult people consuming as little as one diet drink a day could increase the risk of Metabolic Syndrome, pre-heart disease, and weight gain by 30-40%."
Researchers are not certain if the brain will "reset" once the artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are stopped or at least lessened to less than one a day. They admit that more research is needed.
You can see this interview here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5tpCpqABhM) .
Aspartame is the one substance that receives the most complaints to the FDA and yet it remains on the market. The FDA stopped tabulating complaints on aspartame in 1992 after the tally had reached over 10,000 complaints. According to Dr. Janet Hull, one of the top researchers on the dangers of aspartame, the FDA began to categorize the complaints regarding aspartame into generic categories not related to aspartame, "such as death", for example. "If the death by seizure was reported as a reaction to aspartame, the death was recorded as seizure only and not as an 'aspartame' seizure." says Dr. Hull. Before 1992, when complaints were accepted as directly related to aspartame consumption, between 78% and 85% of all FDA complaints were about aspartame.
What Contains Aspartame?
There are approximately 6000 products on the market that contain aspartame. Some of them include:
* diet sodas
* hot chocolate mix
* lemonade mix
* children's vitamins
* chewing gum
* flavored water
* frozen desserts
* "sugar free" items
* "no sugar added" items
* "___% less sugar" items
The FDA seems unwilling, despite ever mounting evidence that this toxic substance is affecting people daily, to reconsider their position regarding its approval. Our own state law makers seem unable or unwilling to protect us further by shelving bills, legislation, and petitions that could potentially save lives by outlawing aspartame. Even some doctors seem more concerned that a ban on aspartame might actually affect the economy adversely, although it seems to be perfectly capable of crashing without the help of a ban on aspartame, than sound science and saving human lives. We can only protect ourselves. For the sake of your and your family's health, check the labels on every item that you put into your grocery cart from vitamins to water to chewing gum.
The last thing you want, is to end up as another ignored complaint on the FDA's website, another ignored name on a petition to law makers, a misdiagnosed complaint in your doctor's office, or another name added to the "unfortunate reaction" list of deaths to this toxic substance.
If you have a complaint regarding aspartame, please visit the FDA’s website at:
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