The Artificial Toxic Sweetener
Founded On Shenanigans

By Quinn Takei, L.Ac, DOM(NM)
Articles & Facts
From The Center: Natural Health Specialists
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in just about everything nowadays. While the
FDA and some studies claim aspartame is harmless, more and more research and studies
are claiming the exact opposite. Some studies find aspartame to be a toxin causing a wide
variety of health-related disorders.

But how can this be? How can studies find it to be both a harmful toxic substance while
others find it to be completely safe? How and why would the FDA approve such a
questionable substance? These questions have motivated me to devote this entire
newsletter to the issues surrounding aspartame. It is my intention to bring to light some of
the health related concerns related to aspartame, as well as, question some of the
questionable practices and politics involved in shaping our perceptions of what we
consider to be "healthy" and "safe".

Perhaps things are not always as they seem...

What is Aspartame and Where is it?
Aspartame is probably the most commonly used artificial sweetener. It is made from
methanol, phenylalanine and aspartic acid.  This no calorie chemical is in the brand
names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure and also commonly found in the
following foods and products:
  • Virtually anything that says “Diet”
  • Breath Mints
  • Diet Soft Drinks
  • Cereals
  • Chewing Gum
  • Flavored Syrups for Coffee
  • Flavored Water Products
  • Frozen Ice Cream Novelties
  • Fruit Spreads
  • Candy
  • Ice cream Toppings
  • Ice Creams, No Sugar or Sugar Free
  • Iced Tea, Powder
  • Instant Cocoa Mix
  • Jams & Jellies
  • Juice Drinks
  • Maple Syrups
  • Nutritional Bars
  • Powdered Soft Drinks
  • Protein Nutritional Drinks
  • Pudding
  • Cookies
  • Ketchup
  • Table Top Sweeteners
  • Vegetable Drinks
  • Yogurt

So What’s the Problem with Aspartame?
Aspartame has been identified as the cause and contributing factor in a wide variety of
illness and adverse symptoms.  Lendon Smith, M.D. who has done extensive research on
aspartame states, “there is an enormous population suffering from side effects associated
with aspartame” including the following symptoms:  Blindness and disorders of the eyes,
decreased hearing, tinnitus, seizures, numbness, headaches, tremors, depression,  
anxiety, insomnia, shortness of breath, hypertension, digestive disorders, itching,
diabetes, weight gain, hypoglycemia, PMS, vomiting, aggressive behavior, birth defects,
and respiratory disorders to name a few. (For a more detailed list, click here).

Aspartame has also been found to trigger, mimic, or cause the following illness:  Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein-Barr, Post-Polio Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Grave’s Disease,
Meniere’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, ALS, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), EMS,
Hypothyroidism, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, non-Hodgkins, Lymphoma, Attention Deficit
Disorder (ADD).

Aspartame symptoms typically are not found in lab tests because it actually changes the
ration of amino acids in the blood.  As a result, many very important processes including
regulation of serotonin, tyrosine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline is blocked or
compromised and several classical “textbook” illnesses are possibly the result of
aspartame poisoning.

Hold on a moment… If aspartame is some toxic and hazardous to my health then
how was it approved for use by the FDA?
What a great question!!! I’m so glad you asked. I have one word for the entire process of
how aspartame became approved by the FDA.  That word is SHENNANIGANS!  Although
not very well know by many, the actual history of how aspartame came to be an
“approved” substance is no secret.  Do your own research, or read it all here in an article
by Joe Martino entitled, “The Shocking Story of How Aspartame Became Legal”;

Did you know that Aspartame was banned by the FDA twice? How is this product legal

The bittersweet argument over whether Aspartame is safe or not has been going on for a
long time. On one side we have medical evidence that suggests we should avoid using it
and on the other side we lean on the FDA’s approval that suggests it is safe. Since
generally that seems to be the factor that many continue to hold trust based upon, I
thought we could look into the Aspartame story to find out how it came to be accepted as
safe by the FDA. You would think that something so widely used and so well accepted
would have quite the pristine story leading to its acceptance. I imagine one will discover
otherwise after reading this post.

It all starts in the mid 1960′s with a company called G.D. Searle. One of their chemists
accidentally creates aspartame while trying to create a cure for stomach ulcers. Searle
decides to put aspartame through a testing process which eventually leads to its approval
by the FDA. Not long after, serious health effects begin to arise and G.D. Searle comes
under fire for their testing practices. It is revealed that the testing process of Aspartame
was among the worst the investigators had ever seen and that in fact the product was
unsafe for use. Aspartame triggers the first criminal investigation of a manufacturer put
into place by the FDA in 1977. By 1980 the FDA bans aspartame from use after having 3
independent scientists study the sweetener. It was determined that one main health
effects was that it had a high chance of inducing brain tumors. At this point it was clear
that aspartame was not fit to be used in foods and banned is where it stayed, but not for

Early in 1981 Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld (who is a former Secretary of Defense..
surprise surprise) vowed to “call in his markers,” to get it approved. January 21, 1981, the
day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, Searle took the steps to re-apply aspartame’s
approval for use by the FDA. Ronald Reagans’ new FDA commissioner Arthur Hayes Hull,
Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry’s decision. It
did not take long for the panel to decide 3-2 in favor of maintaining the ban of aspartame.
Hull then decided to appoint a 6th member to the board, which created a tie in the voting,
3-3. Hull then decided to personally break the tie and approve aspartame for use. Hull
later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, served briefly as Provost at New York
Medical College, and then took a position with Burston-Marsteller. Burstone-Marstella is
the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and GD Searle. Since that time he has
never spoken publicly about aspartame. (Click here for the rest of the article)

WOW!  The FDA approval process of aspartame sure seems questionable, but
aren’t there now studies and tests that show aspartame is safe?
This is another great question.  Yes, there is plenty of “research” which concludes that
aspartame is safe.  However, in looking at the validity of research, it is imperative that you
also consider who is conducting and funding the research.  Ironically, research conducted
by the aspartame industry states it is safe, while most independently funded research
finds the exact opposite.  Below is an abstract of a study evaluating the outcomes of
aspartame research from industry vs independently funded sources.   

In addition, Arthur M. Evangelista, Former FDA Investigator and author of “Aspartame:
The History Of A Killer”, states,

Summary & My Parting Thoughts
Avoid aspartame.  Seriously.

Those of you who have been my clients know that I see the pros and cons in all things.  It
is rare that I have the opinion to never or always do anything.  I have a list of 4 things that
I suggest you always avoid.  These are: artificial dyes and  colorings, high fructose corn
syrup, hydrogenated oil, and artificial sweeteners.  My reasoning to completely avoid
these are because they have all been identified as being hazardous to your health and all
the products that these are in are easily available without these nasty products in it.  For
example, instead of buying crackers made from hydrogenated oil, but some that are not.  
Likewise, instead of chewing gum with aspartame, chew gum without it.  Instead of having
sweet tea made with aspartame, have some made from good old fashioned sugar.  
Instead of a diet soda, have a regular soda (although, I will remain of the opinion there is
no good reason to have soda at all).  Aspartame is a sugar substitute.  I recommend if you
choose to do something sweet, then choose sugar over this toxic chemical.

Aspartame has found its place in our culture.  Changes are good all of us knowingly or
unknowingly ingest this on a regular basis.  There is a cultural assumption that this
chemical is “fine” and safe.  After all, how can a substance used everywhere and in
everything actually be harmful and toxic?  We believe there are companies and regulatory
agencies that are looking out for our best interest and safeguarding us against harmful
substances.  Right???  Wrong!  The FDA and these companies DO NOT have YOUR best
interest in mind, they have THEIR best interest in mind.  It is not the FDA’s job to take care
of you and your health, it is your job.  

While the entirety of this article is bashing aspartame, it is truly more my intent to illustrate
the necessity for each of us to empower ourselves to take accountability for our lives in
every way.  Clearly, it is my opinion that aspartame is a toxic harmful chemical.  Don’t
believe me (although you sure can) and please don’t believe what the manufactures and
sellers of this chemical have to say.  Find out for yourself.  Do the research.  Make your
decisions based on what you KNOW to be true, not what our culture assumes to be true.  

Be diligent about your life and what you eat.  You are worth it.
Studies of aspartame in the peer reviewed medical literature were surveyed for
funding source and study outcome. Of the 166 studies felt to have relevance for
questions of human safety, 74 had Nutrasweet® industry related funding and 92
were independently funded. 100% of the industry funded research attested to
aspartame's safety, whereas 92% of the independently funded research
identified a problem. A bibliography supplied by the Nutrasweet® Company
included many studies of questionable validity and relevance, with multiple
instances of the same study being cited up to 6 times. Questions are raised
both about aspartame's safety and the broader issue of the appropriateness of
industry sponsorship of medical research.  For more information click here

Quinn Takei, L.Ac, DOM(NM)
The Center: Natural Health Specialists
8404 Six Forks Road, Suite 201
Raleigh, NC  27615
office: (919) 848-0200
fax: (919) 848-2011
“Aspartame is a toxin, and is unique in this hazardous respect. This in
NOT an allergic reaction, but rather a true toxin. No other food can be
provided as a comparison to the toxic nature of NutraSweet. Upon closer
examination, the available research revealed that the manufacturer
(Monsanto) and the FDA are manipulating the public (via the media) into
thinking that aspartame is safe. It is not. As an American who trusted the
system we all created, as an American who worked for the system, it made
me angry that public health has taken a backseat to greed. This is the
"engine" that perpetuated this epidemic: the collusion of our government
with multi-national conglomerate influence.