Dangerous Sweetener to Hit Food Shelves - Neotame - Monsanto Corp.
Since 2002 an artificial sweetener called neotame has been approved for use
in food and drink products around the world, although so far its use
appears to be very limited.
Neotame is a chemical derivative of aspartame, and judging by the chemicals
used in its manufacturing, it appears even more toxic than aspartame,
although the proponents of neotame claim that increased toxicity is not a
concern, because less of it is needed to achieve the desired effect.
Neotame is bad science originally brought to you by the Monsanto Company.
They sold the NutraSweet Company to J.W. Childs Equity Partners in 2000,
but the approval of neotame came under Monsanto's ownership and was most
likely a result of Monsanto's cozy relationship with the FDA. More about
that in a minute.
My recommendation for neotame is the same as that for aspartame, which is:
it should be avoided if you care about your health.
Why is Neotame Dangerous?
Hopefully by now you are aware of the dangers of aspartame, if you aren't,
please review this article below this one:
But as if aspartame wasn't bad enough, NutraSweet (a Monsanto subsidiary at
the time of neotame's approval) "improved" the aspartame formula, making
neotame 7,000-13,000 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose) and 30-60 times
sweeter than aspartame.
How did they do this?
In 1998, Monsanto applied for FDA approval for neotame, "based on the
aspartame formula" with one critical addition: 3-dimethylbutyl, which just
happens to be listed on the EPA's most hazardous chemical list.
So not only is neotame potentially more devastating to your health than
aspartame, it is also approved for use in a wider array of food products,
including baked goods, because it is more stable at higher temperatures.
What is 3-Dimethylbutyl?
Neotame is manufactured by combining aspartame with
3,3-dimethylbutyraldehyde,which was added to block enzymes that break the
peptide bond between aspartic acid and phenylalanine, thereby reducing the
availability of phenylalanine.
However, 3,3-Dimethylbutyraldehyde is categorized as both highly flammable
and an irritant, and carries risk statements for handling including
irritating to skin, eyes and respiratory system.
In other words, the NutraSweet company assures you that neotame is
perfectly safe, while at the same time, they manufacture neotame through a
chemical reaction between aspartame and a substance that is highly
flammable and skin, eye and respiratory irritant (that must be handled with
extreme caution by anyone involved in the manufacturing process).
Does this sound like something you want to put into your body?
This eliminates the need for a warning on labels directed at people who
cannot properly metabolize phenylalanine.
Why are These Chemicals Approved for Human Consumption?
Many people actually consider the FDA to be a "subsidiary" of the Monsanto
Company. It sounds impossible, but when you look at all the Monsanto
executives who have gone through the revolving door between private
industry and government oversight, a truly disturbing picture emerges of
the foxes guarding the henhouse...
The FDA is packed by pro-business, pro-corporation advocates who often have
massive conflicts of interest when it comes to protecting the health of the
In fact, the revolving door between private industry and government
oversight agencies is so well established these days, it has become
business, as usual, to read about scandal, conflicts of interest and
blatant pro-industry bias, even when it flies in the face of science or the
A few examples include:
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, a former dental amalgam company
executive, helped subvert a federal judge's order to label mercury fillings
as a hazard to children and pregnant women.
The FDA's top medical-device regulator, Daniel Schultz, resigned following
internal dissent over decisions that his critics said was too friendly to
Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and
Research, was accused of a massive conflict of interest stemming from an
ethics complaint filed by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc.
The agency's list of corruption and collusions is now a mile long. And each
piece of new legislation aimed to improve its function seems to do just the
opposite-making the FDA even more dependent upon financial support by Big
Why Aspartame and Neotame are NOT a Dieters Best Friend
One of the biggest marketing and PR tactics for man-made chemical
sweeteners has been the claim that they help in the battle against obesity.
Folks, they don't. They never have and they never will.
The research and the epidemiologic data suggest the opposite is true, and
that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and neotame tend to lead to
weight gain. As I've often said, there's more to weight gain or weight loss
than mere calorie intake.
One reason for aspartame and neotame's potential to cause weight gain is
because of phenylalanine and aspartic acid - the two amino acids that make
up 90 percent of aspartame and are also present in neotame -- are known to
rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and leptin; two hormones that are
intricately involved with satiety and fat storage.
Insulin and leptin are also the primary hormones that regulate your
So although you're not ingesting calories in the form of sugar, aspartame
and neotame can still raise your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated
insulin and leptin levels, in turn, are two of the driving forces behind
obesity, diabetes, and a number of our current chronic disease epidemics.
Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become
resistant to it, just as your body can become resistant to insulin, and
once that happens, your body can no longer "hear" the hormonal messages
instructing your body to stop eating, burn fat and maintains good
sensitivity to sweet tastes in your taste buds.
What happens then?
You remain hungry; you crave sweets, and your body stores more fat.
Leptin-resistance also causes an increase in visceral fat, sending you on a
vicious cycle of hunger, fat storage and an increased risk of heart
disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and more.
Real Reason Artificial Sweetener Use Has Exploded
If you want some answers in scenarios like this it is typically useful to
follow the money trail. Aspartame currently has the largest market share of
all artificial sweeteners, and the people at NutraSweet would like to keep
it that way.
Artificial sweeteners cost a great deal less than real sugar, corn syrup or
molasses, so the processed food and beverage industry saves money by using
LESS of these man-made chemicals to create MORE sweetness in their
Neotame is manufactured from aspartame, and builds on aspartame's ability
to provide more sweetness from less raw material, as it is 30-60 times
sweeter than aspartame.
In a search of pubmed.gov, the U.S. National Library of Medicine, which has
over 11million medical citations, neotame returns zero double-blind
scientific studies on toxicity in humans or animals.
If neotame was indeed completely safe to ingest, you would think the Nutra
Sweet Company would have published at least one double-blind safety study
in the public domain? They haven't.
You have to ask yourself "why not?"
Unfortunately, one byproduct your body creates by breaking down aspartame
is formaldehyde, which is extremely toxic to your health even in very small
doses. The NutraSweet Company claims the addition of
3,3-Dimethylbutyraldehyde to aspartame makes it more stable at higher
temperatures, and reduces the availability of phenylalanine. But nowhere do
they discuss the formation of formaldehyde when your body breaks down
aspartame, which is the main ingredient of neotame.
Have You Experienced a Bad Aspartame or Neotame Reaction?
Did you know that only a fraction of all adverse food reactions is ever
reported to the FDA? This is a problem that only you as the consumer can
have an impact upon.
In order to truly alert the FDA to a problem with a product they've
approved, they must be notified - by as many people as possible who believe
they have experienced a side effect. This means you can take action against
the manufacturers of these chemicals that continue to put your optimal
health at risk if you feel you have had a bad reaction to their product.
I urge you, if you believe you have experienced side effects from aspartame
orneotame, let the FDA know about it!
Please go to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator page, find the phone
number listed for your state, and report your adverse reaction.
There's no telling just how many reports they might need before considering
taking another look at the safety of aspartame or neotame, but the only way
to press them is by reporting any and all adverse effects!
And in the meantime, do your health and the health of your family a favor
and treat all foods and drinks that contain aspartame or neotame as if they
were deleterious to your optimal health. Because, in my opinion, they are.
Aspartame Is The Most Dangerous Substance On The Market That Is Added
Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal,
Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when
James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an
anti-ulcer drug. How Aspartate (and Glutamate) Cause Damage
Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages
in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but
objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr. John W. Olney and Consumer
attorney James Turner in August 1974 as well as investigations of G.D.
Searle's research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). In 1985,
Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The
NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries.
Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food
additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious
including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms
listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include
Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms,
weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia,
insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing
difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus,
vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.
According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of
aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by
ingesting of aspartame: Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic
fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation,
lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and
methanol. The book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," by James and
Phyllis Balch lists aspartame under the category of "chemical poison." As
you shall see, that is exactly what it is.
What Is Aspartame Made Of?
Aspartic Acid (40 percent of Aspartame)
Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical
University of Mississippi, recently published a book thoroughly detailing
the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from
aspartame. Blaylock makes use of almost 500 scientific references to show
how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic
acid (about 99 percent of monosodium glutamate (MSG)is glutamic acid) in
our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a
myriad of other acute symptoms.
Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by
facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too
much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing
the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers
excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell
damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they
are referred to as "excitotoxins." They "excite" or stimulate the neural
cells to death. Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form
(unbound to proteins) it significantly raises the blood plasma level of
aspartate and glutamate. The excess aspartate and glutamate in the blood
plasma shortly after ingesting aspartame or products with free glutamic
acid (glutamate precursor) leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters
in certain areas of the brain.
The blood brain barrier (BBB), which normally protects the brain from
excess glutamate and aspartate as well as toxins, 1) is not fully developed
during childhood,2) does not fully protect all areas of the brain, 3) is
damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions and 4) allows seepage of
excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain even when intact.
The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons. The
large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of
the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are
noticed. A few of the many chronic illnesses that have been shown to be
contributed to by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage
· Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Parkinson's Disease
· ALS Hypoglycemia
· Memory Loss / AIDS
· Hormonal Problems& Dementia
· Hearing Loss Brain Lesions
· Epilepsy Neuroendocrine Disorders
· Alzheimer's Disease
The risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with
certain chronic health problems from exciting toxins are great. Even the
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which
usually understates problems and mimics the FDA party-line, recently stated
in a review that: "It is prudent to avoid the use of dietary supplements of
L-glutamic acid by pregnant women, infants, and children. The existence of
evidence of potential endocrine responses, i.e., elevated cortisol and
prolactin and differential responses between males and females would also
suggest a neuroendocrine link and that supplemental L-glutamic acid should
be avoided by women of childbearing age and individuals with affective
"It is prudent to avoid the use of dietary supplements of L-glutamic acid
by pregnant women, infants, and children. The existence of evidence of
potential endocrine responses, i.e., elevated cortisol and prolactin, and
differential responses between males and females would also suggest a neuro
endocrine link and that supplement all L-glutamic acid should be avoided by
women of childbearing age and individuals with affective disorders."
Aspartic acid from aspartame has the same deleterious effects on the body
as glutamic acid.
· The exact mechanism of acute reactions to excess free glutamate and
aspartate is currently being debated. As reported to the FDA, those
· Abdominal Pains Fatigue (blocks glucose entry into brain)
· Sleep Problems Vision Problems
· Anxiety Attacks Depression
· Asthma/chest tightness.
One common complaint of persons suffering from the effect of aspartame is
memory loss. Ironically, in 1987, G.D. Searle, the manufacturer of
aspartame, undertook a search for a drug to combat memory loss caused by
excitatory amino acid damage. Blaylock is one of many scientists and
physicians who are concerned about excitatory amino acid damage caused by
the ingestion of aspartame and MSG.
A few of the many experts who have spoken out against the damage being
caused by aspartate and glutamate include Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D., an
experimental psychologist specializing in research design. Another is
Olney, a professor in the department of psychiatry, School of Medicine,
Washington University, a neuroscientist and researcher, and one of the
world's foremost authorities on exciting toxins. (He informed Searle in
1971 that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice.)
Phenylalanine (50 percent of aspartame) Phenylalanine is an amino acid
normally found in the brain. Persons with the genetic disorder
phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine. This leads to
dangerously high levels of phenylalanine in the brain (sometimes lethal).
It has been shown that ingesting aspartame, especially along with
carbohydrates, can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the brain even
in persons who do not have PKU.
This is not just a theory, as many people who have eaten large amounts of
aspartame over a long period of time and do not have PKU have been shown to
have excessive levels of phenylalanine in the blood. Excessive levels of
phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of seratonin in the brain
to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression.
It was shown in human testing that phenylalanine levels of the
blood was increased significantly in human subjects who chronically
Even a single use of aspartame raised the blood phenylalanine levels. In
his testimony before the U.S. Congress, Dr. Louis J. Elsas showed that high
blood phenylalanine can be concentrated in parts of the brain and is
especially dangerous for infants and fetuses. He also showed that
phenylalanine is metabolized much more efficiently by rodents than by
One account of a case of extremely high phenylalanine levels caused by
aspartame was recently published the "Wednesday Journal" in an article
titled "An Aspartame Nightmare." John Cook began drinking six to eight diet
drinks every day. His symptoms started out as memory loss and frequent
headaches. He began to crave more aspartame-sweetened drinks. His condition
deteriorated so much that he experienced wide mood swings and violent
rages. Even though he did not suffer from PKU, a blood test revealed a
phenylalanine level of 80 mg/dl. He also showed abnormal brain function and
brain damage. After he kicked his aspartame habit, his symptoms improved
As Blaylock points out in his book, early studies measuring phenylalanine
buildup in the brain were flawed. Investigators who measured specific brain
regions and not the average throughout the brain notice significant rises
in phenylalanine levels. Specifically, the hypothalamus, medulla oblongata,
and corpus striatum areas of the brain had the largest increases in
phenylalanine. Blaylock goes on to point out that excessive buildup of
phenylalanine in the brain can cause schizophrenia or make one more
susceptible to seizures.
Therefore, long-term, excessive use of aspartame may provide a boost to
sales of seratonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and drugs to control
schizophrenia and seizures.
Methanol (aka wood alcohol/poison) (10 percent of aspartame)
Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. Some people may remember methanol
as the poison that has caused some "skid row" alcoholics to end up blind or
dead. Methanol is gradually released in the small intestine when the methyl
group of aspartame encounters the enzyme chymotrypsin.
The absorption of methanol into the body is sped up considerably when free
methanol is ingested. Free methanol is created from aspartame when it is
heated to above 86Fahrenheit (30 Centigrade). This would occur when
aspartame-containing product is improperly stored or when it is heated
(e.g., as part of a "food" product such as Jello).
Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body.
Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. An EPA assessment of methanol states
that methanol "is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of
excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to
formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic." They
recommend a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day.
A one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about
56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as
much as 250mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.
Symptoms from methanol poisoning include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness,
nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory
lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral
disturbances, and neuritis. The most well-known problems from methanol
poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive
contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision,
retinal damage, and blindness. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, causes
retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication and causes birth defects.
Due to the lack of a couple of key enzymes, humans are many times more
sensitive to the toxic effects of methanol than animals. Therefore, tests
of aspartame or methanolon animals do not accurately reflect the danger for
humans. As pointed out by Dr. Woodrow C. Monte, director of the food
science and nutrition laboratory at Arizona State University, "There are no
human or mammalian studies to evaluate the possible mutagenic, teratogenic
or carcinogenic effects of chronic administration of methyl alcohol."
He was so concerned about the unresolved safety issues that he filed suit
with the FDA requesting a hearing to address these issues. He asked the FDA
to "slow down on this soft drink issue long enough to answer some of the
important questions. It's not fair that you are leaving the full burden of
proof on the few of us who are concerned and have such limited resources.
You must remember that you are the American public's last defense. Once you
allow usage (of aspartame) there is literally nothing I or my colleagues
can do to reverse the course. Aspartame will then join saccharin, the
sulfiting agents, and God knows how many other questionable compounds
enjoined to insult the human constitution with governmental approval.
"Shortly thereafter, the Commissioner of the FDA, Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr.,
approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages, he then left for a
position with G.D. Searle's public relations firm.
It has been pointed out that some fruit juices and alcoholic beverages
contain small amounts of methanol. It is important to remember, however,
that methanol never appears alone. In every case, ethanol is present,
usually in much higher amounts. Ethanol is an antidote for methanol
toxicity in humans. The troops of Desert Storm were "treated" to large
amounts of aspartame-sweetened beverages, which had been heated to over 86
degrees F in the Saudi Arabian sun. Many of them returned home with
numerous disorders similar to what has been seen in persons who have been
chemically poisoned by formaldehyde. The free methanol in the beverages may
have been a contributing factor in these illnesses. Other breakdown
products of aspartame such as DKP (discussed below) may also have been a
In a 1993 act that can only be described as "unconscionable," the FDA
approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous food items that would
always be heated to above 86 degree F (30 degree C).
DKP is a byproduct of aspartame metabolism. DKP has been implicated in the
occurrence of brain tumors. Olney noticed that DKP, when nitrosated in the
gut, produced a compound that was similar to N-nitrosourea, a powerful
brain tumor causing chemical. Some authors have said that DKP is produced
after aspartame ingestion. I am not sure if that is correct. It is
definitely true that DKP is formed in liquid aspartame-containing products
during prolonged storage.
G.D. Searle conducted animal experiments on the safety of DKP. The FDA
found numerous experimental errors occurred, including "clerical errors,
mixed-up animals, animals not getting drugs they were supposed to get,
pathological specimens lost because of improper handling," and many other
errors. These sloppy laboratory procedures may explain why both the test
and control animals had sixteen times more brain tumors than would be
expected in experiments of this length.
In an ironic twist, shortly after these experimental errors were
discovered, the FDA used guidelines recommended by G.D. Searle to develop
the industry-wide FDA standards for good laboratory practices.
DKP has also been implicated as a cause of uterine polyps and changes in
blood cholesterol by FDA Toxicologist Dr. Jacqueline Verrett in her
testimony before the U.S. Senate.
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