And for good reason. At the time, independent studies had found it caused brain cancer in lab animals, and the studies submitted by G.D. Searle to the FDA for the approval were quickly suspected of being sloppy at best. To get an idea of of how aspartame made it through the FDA approval process despite warning signs of potential health hazards and alleged scientific fraud, take a look at the historical timeline of aspartame:
Food Industry Undermines Health Policy, Study Finds
According to a recent international analysis of the involvement by “unhealthy commodity" companies in health policy-making, researchers warn that self-regulation was failing, calling for more stringent industry regulations by outside parties.6 The analysis, which was published in the journal Lancet,7 points out that aggressive marketing of health harming foods by multinational food companies is the driving factor behind global epidemics of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Even more importantly, the researchers cited industry documents that reveal how companies are actively trying to affect health legislation and avoid regulation that might harm their bottom lines. As reported by Reuters:8
“This is done by 'building financial and institutional relations' with health professionals, non-governmental organizations and health agencies, distorting research findings, and lobbying politicians to oppose health reforms... They cited analysis of published research which found systematic bias from industry funding: articles sponsored exclusively by food and drinks companies were between four and eight times more likely to have conclusions that favored the companies than those not sponsored by them.
'Regulation, or the threat of regulation, is the only way to change these transnational corporations,' wrote the researchers, led by Rob Moodie from the University of Melbourne in Australia. Ian Gilmore, special adviser on alcohol to Britain's Royal College of Physicians said the findings were 'a final nail in the coffin' of the idea that involving the alcohol industry in public health measures could work. 'Any government serious about public health should in future divorce its public health activities from industry involvement,' Gilmore, who was not involved in study, said in a statement.”
The Most Dangerous Food Additive on the Market: Are You Being Affected?
Unfortunately, aspartame toxicity is not well known by physicians, despite its frequency. Diagnosis is also hampered by the fact that it mimics several other common health conditions. It’s quite possible that you could be having a reaction to artificial sweeteners and not even know it, or be blaming it on another cause. To determine if you're having a reaction to artificial sweeteners, take the following steps:
- Eliminate all artificial sweeteners from your diet for two weeks.
- After two weeks of being artificial sweetener-free, reintroduce your artificial sweetener of choice in a significant quantity (about three servings daily).
- Avoid other artificial sweeteners during this period.
- Do this for one to three days and notice how you feel, especially as compared to when you were consuming no artificial sweeteners.
- If you don't notice a difference in how you feel after re-introducing your primary artificial sweetener for a few days, it's a safe bet you're able to tolerate it acutely, meaning your body doesn't have an immediate, adverse response. However, this doesn't mean your health won't be damaged in the long run.
- If you've been consuming more than one type of artificial sweetener, you can repeat steps 2 through 4 with the next one on your list.
If you do experience side effects from aspartame, please report it to the FDA (if you live in the United States) without delay. It's easy to make a report — just go to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator page, find the phone number for your state, and make a call reporting your reaction.
Are You Addicted to Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners tend to trigger enhanced activity within your brain's pleasure centers, yet at the same time provide less actual satisfaction. This separation of the taste of sweetness from caloric content means that when you consume artificial sweeteners, your brain actually craves more of it because your body receives no satisfaction on a cellular level by the sugar imposter. This can actually contribute to not only overeating and weight gain, but also an addiction to artificial sweeteners.
In order to break free, be sure you address the emotional component to your food cravings using a tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). More than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT works to overcome food cravings and helps you reach dietary success. If diet soda is the culprit for you, be sure to check out Turbo Tapping, which is an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your soda addiction in a short amount of time.
If you still have cravings after trying EFT or Turbo Tapping, you may need to make some changes to your diet. My free nutrition plan can help you do this in a step-by-step fashion.
If you’re searching for a safer sweetener option, you could use stevia or Lo Han, both of which are safe natural sweeteners. Remember, if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or extra weight, then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would likely benefit from avoiding ALL sweeteners.