Effects of Aspartame

10 07 2012

Let me start out, that if you have not seen this documentary yet, watch this now and come back to my post after watching it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI7_8FDzuJE&feature=mv_sr

I wrote to the FDA about this.  Here is what I wrote.

I would like to know why Aspartame hasn’t been taken off the market yet.
What is wrong at the FDA that something with so much evidence against it is still poisoning our vulnerable public.
As a minimum, our Medicare and Medicaid expenditures would go down if we as a nation stop some of the obvious poisoning of our own population.  Will someone with authority respond and get this off the market please?  Thank you.
I can’t even buy my old favorite Juicy Fruit anymore without that poison in it.

Thank You,

Greg McIver

It’s a very long reply but here is the cover your tracks reply:

CFSAN-Consumer:

This is in response to your inquiry of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about sweeteners as food additives.  An artificial sweetener, also known as a non-nutritive sweetener or a high-intensity sweetener, is a man made food additive that has less than 2 percent of its caloric value of sucrose per equivalent unit of sweetening capacity.  It is used as a sugar substitute with the intent of duplicating the effect of sugar or corn syrup in taste with less food energy.  Its sweetness intensity is many times that of sucrose.  The Agency regulates artificial sweeteners as food additives which must be approved as safe before they can be marketed. There have been recent questions about using Agave syrup as a food additive. Agave nectar (Agave syrup) is a sweetener commercially produced in Mexico.  It consists mainly of fructose and glucose.  There are no food additive regulations or GRAS Notices pertaining to its use at this time. 
The FDA evaluates a sweetener’s composition and properties, determines how much of the substance is likely to be consumed, and reviews various types of safety studies submitted to support the manufactures claims for safety. For each of the approved sweeteners, the typical amount used by U.S. consumers is well within designated “acceptable daily intake levels (ADI),” or levels that can be consumed safely every day over a lifetime.  For any specific information on safety studies submitted to the Agency please file a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) using guidance located at http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/FOI/default.htm.
1) Aspartame is 180 to 200 times sweeter than sugar. It has a caloric value similar to sugar (4 kcal/g), but the amounts used are small enough to consider aspartame essentially free of calories. Brand names include NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame was first approved by the FDA in 1981 as a tabletop sweetener, and for use in chewing gum, breakfast cereal, and other dry products. The use of aspartame was expanded to sodas in 1983, as well as other uses from 1984 to 1989.  In 1996 it was granted approval for use as a general-purpose sweetener.
Before approval, the FDA reviewed numerous studies showing that aspartame did not cause cancer or other adverse effects in laboratory animals. This included three studies in which rats were fed aspartame in proportions more than 100 times higher than humans would likely consume.
In the mid-1990s, a researcher raised concerns that a rise in brain cancer incidence in the United States was linked to aspartame use. According to FDA experts, there is no scientific evidence supporting a link between aspartame and any type of cancer. The National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, also conducted aspartame studies in mice and found no cancer link.
In 2005, the European Ramazzini Foundation (ERF) published new findings of a long-term feeding study on aspartame in rats. ERF scientists concluded that aspartame causes leukemia and lymphoma and that current uses of aspartame should be reevaluated. After reviewing the study data, however, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a statement in May 2006 that said the ERF’s conclusion was not supported by the data. After learning of the ERF study results, the FDA requested the study data and received a portion of the data in February 2006. However, after reviewing the study data, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) releases a statement in May 2006 that said the ERF’s conclusion was not supported by the data.  The FDA will announce its conclusions after completing its review.
At this time, FDA’s position that aspartame is safe is based on the large body of information previously reviewed, including more than 100 toxicological and clinical studies on safety.  When ingested, aspartame is converted in the body to methanol and two amino acid-asparic acid and phenylalanine. 
Because of the phenylalanine component, aspartame does carry a risk for people with the rare genetic disorder phenylketonuria. People who have this disorder should avoid or restrict aspartame use because of their body’s difficulty in metabolizing phenylalanine. Its use can cause phenylalanine to build up in the blood at higher levels than normal. The aspartame regulation requires that a statement be placed on the label of all products containing aspartame specifically to alert phenylketonurics of the presence of phenylalanine.
2) Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than sugar and has no calories. Brand names include Sweet’N Low, Sweet Twin, and Necta Sweet. Saccharin is used in tabletop sweeteners, baked goods, soft drinks, jams, and chewing gum.
Saccharin was discovered in 1879 and had been considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS) until 1972, when it was removed from the GRAS list by the FDA. By definition in the law, a GRAS substance has a long history of safe use in foods, or is determined to be safe based on proven science. But if new evidence suggests that a GRAS substance may no longer be safe, the FDA can prohibit its use or require further safety studies.
In 1977, the FDA proposed a ban on saccharin because of concerns about rats that developed bladder cancer after receiving high doses of saccharin. In response, Congress passed the Saccharin Study and Labeling Act. This legislation put a moratorium on the ban while more safety studies were under way. Also, foods containing saccharin were required to carry a label warning that the sweetener could be a health hazard and that it was found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Saccharin has been the subject of more than 30 studies in humans.
According to the National Cancer Institute, further studies showed that saccharin did not cause cancer in humans, and that the bladder tumors in rats were related to a mechanism that isn’t relevant for humans.
In 2000, the National Toxicology Program determined that saccharin should no longer be listed as a potential cancer-causing agent. Federal legislation followed in 2001, removing the requirement for the saccharin warning label.
3) Acesulfame-K (potassium) is 200 times sweeter than sugar, with zero calories. Brand names include Sunett and Sweet One. Acesulfame-K was first approved by the FDA in 1988 for specific uses, including as a tabletop sweetener. The FDA approved the sweetener in 1998 for use in beverages. In December 2003, it was approved for general use in foods, but not in meat or poultry. Acesulfame-K can be found in baked goods, frozen desserts, candies, beverages, cough drops, and breath mints.
The FDA and the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives have evaluated the sweetener’s safety.  More than 90 studies support the safety of acesulfame-K.
4) Neotame is 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar, depending on how it’s used in food, and has no calories. The FDA approved neotame in 2002 as a general-purpose sweetener in a wide variety of food products except meat and poultry.
5) Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar on average and has no calories. Although sucralose is made from sucrose (table sugar), it adds no calories because it isn’t digested in the body. The brand name is Splenda. After reviewing more than 110 animal and human studies, the FDA approved sucralose in 1998 for use in 15 food categories, including as a tabletop sweetener and for use in products such as beverages, chewing gum, frozen desserts, fruit juices, and gelatins. In 1999, the FDA allowed sucralose as a general-purpose sweetener in all foods.

Sugar Alcohols: Though not technically considered artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols are slightly lower in calories than sugar and do not promote tooth decay or cause a sudden increase in blood glucose. They include sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, mannitol, and maltitol and are used mainly to sweeten sugar-free candies, cookies, and chewing gums. FDA classifies some of these sweeteners as “generally recognized as safe” and others as approved food additives.
Other “natural sweeteners” are available, but these are variations of table sugar and contain about the same amount of calories. These products include honey, molasses, evaporated cane juice, rice syrup, barley malt, and fructose.
Another product, stevia, is derived from a South American shrub. Based on its review of information and data submitted by industry, FDA has concluded there is no basis to object to the use of certain refined Stevia preparations in food. These refined Stevia preparations may be lawfully marketed and added to food products sold in the United States Based on the information provided by industry, as well as other information available to FDA, the agency has no questions at this time regarding GRAS submissions conclusion that rebaudioside A purified from the leaves of S. rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni is GRAS under the intended conditions of use. The agency has not, however, made its own determination regarding the GRAS status of the subject use of rebaudioside A purified from the leaves of S. rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni.  It is the continuing responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure that food ingredients that they market are safe, and are otherwise in compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Though sugar substitutes have a long history of controversy, the Calorie Control Council says Americans are continually searching for good-tasting, low-calorie products as part of a healthy lifestyle. Market surveys show that calorie-conscious consumers want more low-calorie foods and beverages. And though artificially sweetened products are not magic foods that will melt pounds away, they can be, experts say, a helpful part of an overall weight control program that includes exercise and other dietary factors.
For guidance and information here is the definition for sucrose (table sugar) under 21 CFR 184.1854.
(a) Sucrose (CHO11, CAS Reg.  No. 57-50-11-1) sugar, cane sugar, or beet sugar is the chemical [beta]-D-fructofuranosyl-[alpha]-D-glucopyranoside. Sucrose is obtained by crystallization from sugar cane or sugar beet juice that has been extracted by pressing or diffusion, then clarified and evaporated.
(b) The ingredient must be of a purity suitable for its intended use.
    (c) In accordance with Sec. 184.1(b)(1), the ingredient is used in food with no limitation
    other than current good manufacturing practice.
    (d) Prior sanctions for this ingredient different from the uses established in this section do
    not exist or have been waived.

Consumer Affairs Specialist #3
Communication and Coordination Branch
Division of Education and Communication
Office of Food Defense, Communication and
  Emergency Response
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
  U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Now, let’s see.  They are unwilling to remove it from the market after obvious anecdotal and scientific evidence showing that it is not healthy.  Just the fact that part of the Aspartame molecule is converted into wood alcohol, a very harmful liquid that is difficult for the body to remove, should be enough reason for it to be removed.  No further studies needed!

This substance makes a lot of money for the companies that use.  Follow the money.

So, Big Brother isn’t out to protect the little guy but seems to be manipulated by the Big Corp.  Protect yourself and do not eat anything that is harmful for you.  The closer we eat food in its natural form, the healthier we will be.  Watch Forks Over Knives and Big, Fat and Nearly Dead to start.

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