Got Headaches? 75% of FDA Complaints Linked to this Diet Soda Ingredient

Aspartame symptoms My Aspartame Affair

Every year, at the excitement of Lent, I think about aspartame and my tenderness affair with Diet Coke.  Little did I know….

I was curved on the stuff through high teach, college and well into business govern.   I was what the soda industry calls “a heavy user.” I’d drink hither and thither 6 cans of the stuff a sunlight. So much so, that every year instead of Lent, I would give up my diet sodas.  I was with equal rea~n hooked that the first few weeks of Lent to the end of time resulted in massive headaches, as my body went through withdrawals, and then I’d feel great persons.

Then on Easter Sunday, after 6 weeks on the farther side of the stuff, I’d plunge straight back in.  Until the year that I got connubial, when my husband asked me wherefore not just stay off of it. And I did.  I not at all went back.  That was back in 1997, drawn out before I began blowing the whistle forward the dangerous ingredients in our subsistence.

But the story of aspartame begins in 1981, whereas the substance was first approved ~ dint of. the FDA as an artificial sweetener notwithstanding human consumption. Fourteen years later, in 1995, the chief of the FDA’s Epidemiology Branch—the section that monitors the incidence of diseases and healing problems—reported that in those fourteen years complaints not far from aspartame constituted 75 percent of entirely FDA reports concerning adverse reactions to feed.

Artificial colors are everywhere, it seems. But in such a manner is the artificial sweetener, aspartame—the base for NutraSweet and Equal—which is used in everything from Diet Coke to yogurt. So for what cause aren’t we talking about it?

In a surprise impel last year, Diet Pepsi announced that it was rupture up with the artificial sweetener and removing it from its crops.

Diet cola drinkers in the U.S. told us they wanted aspartame-unreserved Diet Pepsi and we’re delivering,” reported Seth Kaufman, senior vice president of Pepsi and Flavors Portfolio, PepsiCo North America Beverages. “We grant that consumer demand is evolving and we’re cocksure that cola-lovers will enjoy the curl, refreshing taste of this new outcome.”

Since aspartame is one of the additives that is frequently not used in foods in other countries, it’s virtue taking a look at why Pepsi wanted to drop it and why other companies aren’t doing the same.

If in that place was a small flurry of studies in successi~ synthetic coloring, the research done attached aspartame qualifies as a blizzard. Aspartame has been linked to a army of diseases, including brain tumors, brain lesions, and lymphoma. Meanwhile, the fable of how this controversial substance came to be approved by the FDA reads like a John Grisham fiction. If you want to understand the two the science and the politics of synthetic ingredients, aspartame offers nearly a classic example of what be possible to go wrong with both.

The account of aspartame begins in 1981, at what time the substance was first approved ~ dint of. the FDA as an artificial sweetener beneficial to human consumption. Fourteen years later, in 1995, the grand of the FDA’s Epidemiology Branch—the es trangement that monitors the incidence of diseases and medical problems—reported that in those fourteen years, complaints near to aspartame constituted 75 percent of wholly FDA reports concerning adverse reactions to commons.

Wow. Seventy-five percent of all complaints. Wouldn’t you think a number like that would bestow the FDA pause, maybe make it consider again its approval?

Of course, just inasmuch as someone reports a complaint doesn’t moderation the complaint is justified. Either a enduring or a doctor might believe, incorrectly, that aspartame caused a condition that was actually caused by event else. Still—75 percent? That’s a chance of aspartame-related complaints: three state of things as many as all the other complaints impose together.

But let’s not rely put ~ people’s (and doctors’) reports. Let’s take a be turned at the scientific research that has been terminated.

Weight gain: A 1997 study at the universal school of Texas Health Sciences Center, reported at a concourse of the American Diabetes Association, place a “41 percent increase in the risk of being overweight for every be possible to or bottle of diet soft drink a one consumes each day.” These tools and materials were supported by another study, published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition, showing that 5 percent of subjects who reported symptoms from aspartame also reported a “paradoxic weight get .” And a study in the International Journal of Obesity also found that women who were dieting tended to take in again calories after consuming aspartame than later ingesting either sugar or water.

Memory lapses: A 2001 Psychology Today part reported on a Texas Christian University study suggesting that aspartame users were in addition likely to report long-term monumental record lapses. “After reporting his tools and materials at a recent Society for Neuroscience interview,” the article continued, “[psychology professor Timothy M.] Barth [,Ph.D.,] cautioned that he thinks it’s sooner than due to condemn aspartame. But he does worry here and there the largely untested effects of long-winded-term use.”

Brain tumors: In November 2006, the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology published a scientific paper saying that aspartame, might exist responsible for a dramatic increase in the compute of people who develop brain tumors. Reported in a 60 Minutes broadcast, the Swedish study mould a link among elderly and centre-aged people between drinking diet sodas and developing fully convinced types of large brain tumors.

Lymphomas, leukemia, and other cancers: A lingering-term Italian study conducted by Italy’s Ramazzini Foundation by Morando Soffritti and his colleagues and published in the summer of 2005 in the European Journal of Oncology linked aspartame to lymphomas and leukemias in animals. A 2005 followup study published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that aspartame was linked to a expressive increase in cancer of the kidney and peripheral nerves.

Now, this Italian study has also been the subject of controversy. Both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and our be in possession of FDA concluded that these findings were not produce for concern.

Likewise, the FDA claimed to receive found “significant shortcomings” in the Italian study, shortcomings that “compromised” its findings. In August 2007, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority concurred, issuing a constrain release criticizing the study and affirming the safety of aspartame.

Further criticism of the Italian study came, virtually, from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which published a study in April 2006 discovery no meaningful link between aspartame and leukemia, lymphoma, or brain tumor. The study relied on 1995 and 1996 surveys completed ~ means of 340,045 men and 226,945 women—obviously, a vast number—detailing what they ate and drank. Based forward followup data from this sample, the NCI concluded, you couldn’t bond aspartame and cancer.

However, the NCI study likewise had its critics, who pointed away that the Italian study was designed to adjust lifelong consumption of aspartame, focusing on its cumulative effects, rather than considering only a few years. Moreover, the humans in the NCI study were central part-aged, whereas, according to neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, “The greatest jeopard of leukemia and lymphoma would exist in a younger population (young children and adolescents) and they would strait to be exposed regularly from soon in life.”

Clearly, this is a capsule where the experts would appear to diverge. If even the scientists can’t agree up~ whether aspartame is safe or not, for what cause are we supposed to decide?

An analytics of peer-reviewed medical literature conducted by Ralph G. Walton, M.D. and cited in a CBS/60 Minutes section that aired in December 1996, institute that 100 percent of the studies in their review that had been funded by the aspartame persistence found that aspartame was safe.

What around the non-industry funded studies? Dr. Walton’s resolution found that of the 90 non–efforts funded studies, 82 of them, or a whopping 92 percent, identified the same or more problems with aspartame. And of the 7 which found aspartame innocent, 6 were conducted ~ means of the FDA, an agency which, at the same time that we saw in Chapter 4 and in the same manner with we’ll see later in this chapter, has potentially installed its own revolving door to greet past and future executives from the food industry.

I find this information in the same state shocking that I’m going to repeat it, just in case you fancy you might have read it immoral: All the industry-funded studies before-mentioned aspartame was completely safe. Ninety-sum of ~ units percent of the independent studies declared aspartame poses at least some dangers (99 percent suppose that you don’t count studies conducted through the industry-riddled FDA).

Who confer you think has the greatest impulse to tell the truth?

If you need one more piece of evidence to get you doubt industry-funded research, hindrance me cite one last study, relating to medical articles about soft drinks, sap, and milk. A team of researchers, including Harvard’s David Ludwig, at the same time that well as other researchers from Children’s Hospital in Boston and the Center because of Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C., reviewed 206 articles published for the time of 1999-2003. Of these articles, 111 disclosed fiscal sponsorship: 22 percent were entirely funded ~ means of the food industry; 47 percent had no industry ties; and 32 percent had blended funding. Doesn’t that make you bewilderment. about why all studies don’t bring to view their financial sponsorship?

The researchers concluded, “Funding cause was significantly related to conclusions at the time that considering all article types. . . Industry funding of feeding-related scientific articles may bias conclusions in be ~able of sponsors’ products, with potentially momentous implications for public health.”

In other tongues, when industry pays for a study, it tends to procreate science that supports the safety of its products. And while a study is independently funded—in the same manner with with the 82 aspartame studies—it is estranged more likely (in the case of aspartame, 92 percent besides likely) to be critical of a meat, drink, or additive, with, as Dr. Ludwig at Harvard had honest pointed out, “potentially significant implications on the side of public health.”

Above and on the farther side of the funding, other scientists have raised questions the two about the substance and about the inquiry that’s been done to consider it. A 1998 Spanish study conducted ~ward rats found that aspartame ultimately converts to formaldehyde in the dead ~, and then tends to accumulate in the brain, liver, kidneys, and other tissues. Industry scientists, in whatever manner, replied that the Spanish scientists weren’t actually measuring formaldehyde, but rather some other byproducts from aspartame, which perhaps are not as harmful.

So suppose that someone tells you that there’s again a lot of controversy about aspartame, technically, they’re honest. But when you hear people arguing through the whole extent of whether the product is safe, have ~ing aware that the ones who allege it is tend to be one and the other from the food or chemical industries or from command agencies that fill key positions by food industry executives and sometimes but also corporate shareholders.

Scientists have insisted that aspartame is dangerous—and they’ve been doing in the way that for more than forty years. Consumers are listening. Even Diet Pepsi announced that they were acquisition rid of it last year.

According to the New York Times, the send down in soda consumption represents the select largest change in the American diet in the continue decade. Over the last 20 years, sales of replete-calorie soda in the United States acquire plummeted by more than 25 percent. Diet soda is declining, too.

A growing include of Americans continue to #dumpthejunk.  For many, the first thing to go are the sodas. It’s not complying. It was a hard habit in the place of me to break, I was curvated on Diet Coke, and I am in the way that sensitive to how difficult it can be.

But it’s food for thought and worth considering. If you paucity to learn more about the Aspartame Affair, politicians involved in it (some of whom are still in the recent accounts today!), full details are available in my volume, The Unhealthy Truth.


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Sharon P. Fowler, S.P. MPH, University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine, San Antonio. Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, instructor, sports nutrition, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. WebMD News: “Artificial Sweeteners May Damage Diet Efforts.” Davidson, T.L. International Journal of Obesity, July 2004; vol 28: pp 933-955; CBS News: Diet Soda Drinkers Gain Weight, Overweight Risk Soars 41 Percent With Each Daily Can Of Diet Soda, June 13, 2005, accessed August 5, 2008

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Formaldehyde derived from dietary aspartame binds to texture components in vivo, Life Sciences, 1998;63(5):337-49, to the degree that cited on the National Center during the term of Biotechnology Information Medical and Scientific Affairs, The NutraSweet Company, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 2002 Apr;35(2 Pt 2):S1-93 , during the time that cited on the National Center despite Biotechnology Information

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Robyn O'Brien

Robyn is a forgoing financial analyst covering the food industry. She triggered an allergic reaction in the meat industry when she asked: “Are we allergic to commons or what’s been done to it?”

About the maker

Robyn O'Brien

Robyn O’Brien

Robyn is a antecedent financial analyst covering the food assiduity. She triggered an allergic reaction in the regimen industry when she asked: “Are we allergic to bread or what’s been done to it?”

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