Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pick Your Poison-Aspartame Vs. Splenda

A little something I wrote a few years back at that's still relevant today.

 Sep 3, 2007

Once upon a time last year while I was enjoying a Diet Coke flavored with Splenda I decided to call the soft drink giant with a comment and suggestion. The comment was how much I preferred the Splenda flavored cola to its aspartame flavored counterpart. The suggestion was that they do away with the aspartame altogether. The Splenda was great I thought, and not only that, it also has no reputation for being a deadly poison. After some further research however I came to the conclusion it might just be the lesser of two evils. Dr. Janet Hull for instance on her website makes the point that many people think Splenda is the savior, but she thinks it may be just as bad.

At the time when I called the number on my can on pop I had recently been turned onto the website which consists of scientific research and testimony from various sources that indicates the stuff is just plain bad for you in the worst of ways. I mentioned this site and the man on the other end of the phone said my opinions would be noted and passed along or something to that effect. He also said that the aspartame flavored Diet Coke was one of their best selling products. You don't say, now we're getting somewhere! The root of all evil, the bottom line, the old mighty dollar. The phrases pick you poison, and compare and contrast come to mind.

Sucralose is the substance commonly known to consumers under the brand name Splenda and it is not without its fair share of criticism. The Sugar Association and their website The Truth About Splenda, which unlike Aspartame Truth.Com is an industry site brings up the following points.

 1.Sucralose is a chlorocarbon
 2.Up to 27% of sucralose that is ingested is absorbed
 into the body by the digestive system
 3.Long-term human studies with sucralose have not been

Fair enough, but this is the Sugar Association we are talking about and I would hazard a guess that they have a monetarily fueled interest in this subject. As is also the case with allegations of misleading advertising launched at Splenda from the makers of Equal, which by the way is just a brand name for aspartame!

False advertising claims are one thing. Health matters are something else altogether. Most of the criticism of Splenda by the Sugar Association and the makers of Equal focus on the advertising issues, which appear valid, but pale in comparison to people's wellbeing.

Industry criticism aside the aforementioned Dr. Janet Hull is a credible and prominent Splenda critic. Other credible sources are mentioned in Wikipedia's article on the subject. (linked throughout this article)

The article makes note of Food and Diet's webpage on the substance which mentions claims filed that allege "drug-like feelings of disorientation and confusion, headaches, depression, anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting, extreme fatigue, and more." stemming from Splenda. Also mentioned by Wikipedia is the natural and organic foods retailer Whole Foods Market who decided not to sell Splenda or other Suraclose containing products, citing concerns similar to that of Sugar Association.

If rarely occurring the side effects mentioned above are bad, but it seems that in the battle over which substance is worse for you aspartame currently takes the cake and flavors it too.

The two sweetners share mundane reported side effects such as headaches. But aspartame is currently in a league of it's own when it comes to the really disturbing ones. The companion article on aspartame on Wikipedia entitled  Aspartame Controversy makes mention of the fact that "a few studies have recommended further investigation into the possible connection between aspartame and diseases such as brain tumors, brain lesions, and lymphoma."

As I looked into these studies further I found their results are being found valid by some very credible people. The most respected of these studies was accepted for publication by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The study found Aspartame Causes Cancer in Rats at Levels Currently Approved for Humans! The long-term animal tests from the Italian cancer institute found increases in lymphomas, leukemia’s, and breast cancers in rats exposed to the sweetener. Among the people who took notice of this research and supported its findings was 
a member of the London parliamentary select committee on food and the environment, Roger Williams. He went so far as to inform the Commons "the additive was potentially 'far more dangerous' than Sudan 1, the banned food dye linked to cancer and found in some products in Britain."

Another source to cite the research as good evidence of a cancer connection to aspartame was the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) who called for the FDA to "to voluntarily switch to other sugar substitutes."

But only a year later a new government study attempting to refute the Italian Cancer Institutes research made CSPI change their tune. Or maybe the fact that their board of directors includes former FDA and other government officials had something to do with it. The study was the epitome of the phrase 'conflict of interest' and anything but independent and objective. Paul Joesph Watson's analysis of the study proves it laughable at best.

A documentary film has even been made entitled "Sweet Misery" that presents further evidence of a link between aspartame and cancer as well as other illnesses. The film also poses compelling questions such as "The FDA would not approve a poison to put on grocery store shelves and in hundreds of products just because a few political favors were pulled in, would they?"

Well we needn't look any further than the horse’s mouth to find the answer to that one. In 1981 Donald Rumsfeld stated he would use "political rather than scientific means" to finally get FDA approval for aspartame. As Dr. Betty Martini notes in a news article she wrote on the subject "For 16 years, the FDA resisted pressure to approve aspartame due to safety studies linking the artificial sweetener to numerous adverse reactions, including the development of brain tumors in animal studies." That is until Bushes former right hand man Rummy stepped in with his political clout.

MS like symptoms are another side effect reported to stem from the use of aspartame. For testimony on this one I didn't have to look any further than my own family. My mother related the following story to me:

"When I was in my early forties I started experiencing numbness and tingling in my wrists, elbows and shoulder.  Due to the nature of my work, which included repetitive movements, typing and sitting in one position for long periods of time the doctor and even I thought I was experiencing a form of carpal tunnel.  The numbness and tingling never subsided and in fact started moving down my back, into my lower legs and feet.  Eventually I got to the place where I couldn't sit for more than 15 or 20 minutes without my hips seeming to lock in place.  These symptoms only grew worse until I couldn't raise from a sitting or laying position without pulling myself up with the strength of my arms or being pulled up by another person.  Once I was in a standing position I would have to take very small calculated steps until I would gradually limber up enough to walk with a normal gait. 

My doctor thought perhaps I was suffering from fibro mialgia and started treating me with Zoloft and told me to do stretching exercises.  I continued to get worse and also felt weak so he decided to run a series of tests to rule out MS.  They performed an MRI on me and concluded that I wasn't suffering the effects of MS after all. 

I proceeded to go through psyical therapy and when receiving treatment the therapist asked if I drank a lot of diet soda.  He said he had been hearing from other therapists who were starting to make a connection between patients who were ingesting a lot of Equal brand sweetener, especially through drinking diet sodas. 

I began researching Equal, finding out that it was really aspartame.  I began purchasing soda products and using Splenda and did notice a big difference in the way I felt.  Admittedly I was seeing a chiropractor also but nearly 13 years later I have not experienced the same type of malady since. 

Recently I let down my guard and began drinking soda's containing Equal and noticed that I was experiencing headaches and more body aches and pains.  I am once again attempting to break away from Equal as a sweetening agent but now with the new found evidence I'm reluctant to use Splenda as a substitute.  Since most of my sweetener intake is the form of diet soda's I've decided to choose the Splenda as the less of two evils but am trying to limit my intake of even that artificial sweetener, allowing myself to savor more real, raw sugar and readjusting myself to drink more water.  In essence the verdict is still out on whether I will see any improvement in my condition." 

So in closing maybe the smartest thing we can all do is just drink water! Wait, never mind, I forgot they add fluoride to that now. But hey I'm just being paranoid. If the Government says Aspartame Is Good For You why wouldn't you believe them? They didn't know about the dangers of Agent Orange either? Right?

To visit this article on the Care2 News Network click HERE.


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