Did you know the FDA banned aspartame twice – due to it causing brain tumors. Yet somehow it is still for sale?! The appeal of it, despite the risks is its low caloric content. Being approximately 60 to 220 times sweeter than sucrose, very small amounts of aspartame are needed for sweetening. So we’ve been sold that we can have our cake and eat it – and stay slim.
Too good to be true? The studies say yes.
Because research on this controversial sweetener led me to headlines like “European Safety Review of Aspartame a Whitewash, Says CSPI”.
And ten different study paper summaries said aspartame “induces cancers of the liver and lung in male Swiss mice”, leads to “urinary tract tumors” “kidney function decline in women” “leukemia in men and women” “oxidative stress in the brains of rats” “associated with Type 2 Diabetes”, “insulin sensitivity” and is “shown to destroy kidney function”.
Pretty serious accusations, yet aspartame still sells swiftly in over 6000 products like diet soda, low calorie yogurt and chewing gum, cooking sauces, tabletop sweeteners, drink powders, flavored waters, sugar-free products, breakfast cereals and much more.
The FDA approved it in 1981, after disallowing it twice, and still publicly posts 92 symptoms attributed to aspartame from submitted complaints
In laboratory settings, dogs, mice and rats all avoid aspartame – yet millions of humans have latched on to it because of wily advertisers who present it as “sugar free”.
Our motivation to lose weight cannot be understated. We apparently will do almost anything to be slim – even justify cigarette smoking to lose pounds. So it should not be a surprise that millions of overweight people overlook the many questionable side effects of aspartame, thinking it will get them to their weight loss goal.
The shocking fact is that on top of increasing your risk for cancers, kidney failure and leukemia, aspartame does not actually help you lose weight! In fact the studies show that the opposite happens.
Researchers concluded in a 2013 study from the Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University do Rio Grande do Sul:
“Greater weight gain was promoted by the use of saccharin or aspartame, compared with sucrose, and this weight gain was unrelated to caloric intake. We speculate that a decrease in energy expenditure or increase in fluid retention might be involved.”
Rats were fed plain yogurt sweetened with either saccharin, aspartame, or sugar, plus their regular food over a 12 week stretch. The scientists stated:
“Results showed that addition of either saccharin or aspartame to yogurt resulted in increased weight gain compared to addition of sucrose, however total caloric intake was similar among groups,”
And would you believe that aspartame can prompt premature birth? According to a Danish study, aspartame significantly raised the risk of medically induced pre-term delivery in women who reported a greater consumption of aspartame sweetened drinks.
Though the FDA has reversed its thinking and now tells you aspartame is risk free, there are many reasons to think otherwise. If your sweet tooth gets the better of you, we at AlgaeCal believe that natural sweeteners are still less harmful for you than aspartame.