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Dangerous Sweetener to Hit Food Shelves - Neotame - Monsanto Corp.

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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 a 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 public.

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 law.

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 were too friendly to industry.

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 corruptions 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 Pharma.

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 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 metabolism.

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 maintain 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 products.

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 are 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 mean 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.

New Article:

Aspartame Is The Most Dangerous Substance On The Market That Is Added To Foods!

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 include:

· 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 excite 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 disorders."

"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 reactions include:

· Headaches/migraines4Nausea

· 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 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 excite 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 were increased significantly in human subjects who chronically used aspartame.

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 humans.

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 dramatically.

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 encounter 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 factor.

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).

Diketopiperazine (DKP)

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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