Category Archives: aspartame

Another reason to avoid artificial sweeteners — they may actually RAISE blood sugar

artificial-sweetenersSeems sort of counterintuitive, doesn’t it? The sweeteners that have been developed to help people control their weight and avoid diabetes that are featured in diet soda, yogurt and other foods can raise the blood sugar level instead of reducing it, according to new experiments in mice and people.

The provocative finding—made possible through a new avenue of research—is likely to stoke the simmering controversy over whether artificial sweeteners help or hinder people’s ability to lose weight and lower their risk of diabetes.

The research shows that zero-calorie sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose and aspartame can alter the population of bacteria in the gut and trigger unwanted changes such as higher blood glucose levels—a risk factor for diabetes.

“The scope of our discovery is cause for a public reassessment of the massive and unsupervised use of artificial sweeteners,” said Eran Elinav, a physician and immunologist at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and lead author of the study, which appeared Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Though many people consume artificial sweeteners instead of sugar to control their weight, the scientific evidence that they work is mixed. Some studies have indicated that the sweeteners can help lead to weight loss, while others suggest they contribute to weight gain.

One reason is that it isn’t clear whether people who consume artificial sweeteners are overweight because of what they eat—or whether overweight people are the ones who typically gravitate to such products.

Based on existing evidence, guidelines jointly published in 2012 by the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association noted that artificial sweeteners “when used judiciously…could facilitate reductions in added sugar,” and thus influence weight loss.

The new Nature study marks a significant advance because it brings together two separate areas of research—the role of sweeteners in raising blood sugar levels, and the complex workings of the vast colonies of bacteria that inhabit the gut. Individuals can have differing bacterial colonies in their gut, meaning people respond differently to what they consume.

In one experiment, the researchers found that mice whose diets included saccharin, sucralose or aspartame had significantly higher blood-glucose levels than mice whose diet included sugar, or no sugar at all.

They next wanted to test whether the fake sweeteners caused that metabolic change by altering the balance of microbes in the animals’ gut.
They transplanted bacteria from artificial-sweetener-fed mice or sugar-fed mice into other mice that were bred to have no gut bacteria of their own and that had never consumed a sweetener product. They found that the bacterial transfer from the sweetener-fed mice raised the blood sugar levels in the transplant recipients—suggesting that the gut microbes had triggered the higher sugar levels in mice fed fake sweeteners.

Was the same link true for people? Dr. Elinav and his colleagues examined the relationship between long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners and various metabolic measurements in some 380 nondiabetic people.

They found that the bacteria in the gut of those who regularly ate fake sweeteners were notably different from those who didn’t. In addition, there was a correlation between the sweetener consumption and a susceptibility to glucose intolerance, which is a disturbance in the blood glucose level.

Correlation, however, doesn’t necessarily mean causation. In the next experiment, seven volunteers who normally didn’t consume fake sugar were asked to consume products high in the sweeteners. After four days, four of them had significantly higher blood-sugar levels as well as altered populations of bacteria in their gut—an outcome similar to what was seen in mice.

“This susceptibility to sweeteners [can now] be predicted ahead of time by profiling the microbes in the people,” said Eran Segal, a co-author of the study and computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute.
The results need to be corroborated through a study with many more participants.

In a statement, the Calorie Control Council, a trade group that represents makers of artificial sweeteners and other food products, said the Nature study suffered from several limitations. It said the results from the mouse experiments may not apply to humans, while the human experiments had a small sample size. It said further research was needed.

FoodFacts.com has never had anything good to say about artificial sweeteners. Reports of negative health effects have far outweighed the marketed benefits. Research like this points straight to the idea that artificial sweeteners are not only unnecessary, but actually harmful — harmful enough that Dr. Elinav, the study’s lead author, stopped using them completely once he saw the results. That should certainly tell us something.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/research-shows-zero-calorie-sweeteners-can-raise-blood-sugar-1410973201
http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140917/artificial-sweeteners-blood-sugar?page=2

Aspartame may be worse than you think

FoodFacts.com has long been of the opinion that artificial sweeteners can’t be good for our health. Artificial ingredients are generally pretty bad. They do nothing for our bodies nutritionally and many have disturbing health effects. Aspartame is one of those ingredients that we caution against.

While the FDA considers aspartame to be safe (except for those with phenylketonuria), it’s been linked to side effects such as headaches, rashes, fatigue, irritability, heart palpitations, dizziness, insomnia and seizures. Birth defects and cancers have been associated with the use of aspartame, but the National Cancer Institute has refuted any links between aspartame consumption and cancer.

A new study coming out of the University of Life Sciences in Poland reports that aspartame can be metabolized into three different molecules: phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. All of these can be toxic.

Methanol metabolites can cause central nervous system depression, vision problems and other disorders that can lead to coma.

The study points out that aspartic acid in high concentrations is a toxin that causes hyperexcitability of neurons and is a precursor of glutamic acid.

Phenylalanine can block the transport of important amino acids to the brain which can lower the levels of dopamine and serotonin, important for both mood and sleep.
In addition, the study seems to link aspartame with cancer because its metabolites can cause cancers in the central nervous system.

There have been a variety of conflicting study results on aspartame. Some have determined that it is safe and others have linked it to a variety of side effects and conditions. Interestingly, of the 166 previous studies on the artificial sweetener, the 74 that were funded by the aspartame industry found no safety issues. 90 percent of the other 92 independent studies found serious health concerned linked to the use of aspartame.

FoodFacts.com urges our community to avoid the consumption of aspartame. While none of the research is conclusive, aspartame has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. It may be linked with cancer and can have adverse neurological effects. That’s a pretty long list of possibilities linked to one artificial sweetener. Overall, it’s just not worth it. As always, FoodFacts.com encourages everyone to rely on real food ingredients. While nothing in excess is a healthy idea, using actual sugar in moderation is the best choice available when looking for a sweetener. We know what it is, we understand what it does and it doesn’t metabolize into the toxic substances that aspartame has been identified with. Let’s stay educated and aware about everything we consume.

http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/chemical/aspartame_0511130104.html

Diet Alert: Foods and beverages containing Aspartame might actually cause weight gain, not help weight loss

FoodFacts.com has been warning consumers about the possible dangers of the non-nutritive sweetener Aspartame for quite a while now. We’ve always understood that the ingredient has not received the type of analysis that would verify its overall safety for the population and that several studies have shown the potential side effects of the substance.

Aspartame, and other non-nutritive sweeteners, like saccharin, have been marketed to consumers as an aid to dieting and weight loss. While its safety has always been in question, aspartame’s use for weight loss hasn’t actually been questioned. Today, we read with interest new evidence that Aspartame might actually be contributing to weight problems, instead of helping to solve them. A new study out of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil has found that the intake of aspartame affected the calorie intake and weight of rats who consumed it as compared to those who contained plain old sugar.

It was discovered that rats fed diets containing aspartame had a significantly larger weight gain than those fed diets containing sugar. The research focused on 29 rats who were fed two different diets. Some of them consumed a plain yogurt sweetened with sugar, while others were fed a plain yogurt sweetened with aspartame. They also ate a regular rat chow and were given water. Their physical activity was restrained. The rats were followed for total body weight gain and caloric intake over a 12 week period. The rats fed yogurt sweetened with aspartame had a measurably larger weight gain than those who were fed the sugar-sweetened yogurt. The caloric intake was similar between the two groups, as well as the physical activity permitted. The conclusion was reached that the rats eating the aspartame-sweetened yogurt needed to consume more of the rat chow to satisfy their hunger. In a manner, they adjusted their consumption to satisfy their needs.

The study is far from conclusive, but it certainly suggests a link between the consumption of aspartame and weight gain – not weight loss. Its results call for further analysis of the ingredient and its benefits to weight control. There are thousands and thousands of products containing Aspartame lining our grocery store shelves. Our population is consuming the ingredient constantly and consciously, believing that Aspartame will help their weight control efforts. This study points to the concept that Aspartame has the opposite effect for weight-conscious consumers. That’s pretty eye-opening.

When we put this possibility together with the many, many other potential dangers of Aspartame, FoodFacts.com can’t help but reiterate our original idea. Aspartame is an ingredient we should avoid. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this study and any that come from its results.

In the meantime, we encourage you to read more: http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Sweeteners-linked-to-higher-weight-gain-Rat-study and http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/chemical/artificial_sweeteners_weight_gain_1128121243.html

Aspartame, cancer and controversy

FoodFacts.com read an interesting new study today that we wanted to make sure to share with you. This long-term research has actually linked aspartame to blood cancers in humans. Cancers like leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma are all blood-related and of tremendous concern for the population

The research period lasted 22 years and showed that drinking one or more soft drinks containing aspartame every day increases the risk of the development of several blood-related cancers in men. Coming out of the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

It was determined by the end of the study that men who consumed one or more sodas each day that were sweetened with aspartame had an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma compared with men who didn’t drink diet sodas. The women involved in the study showed no increased risk, regardless of whether or not they drank diet soda.

While the study was fairly intensive and certainly long-term, there are many questions surrounding the validity of the results. It appeared that the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma was also increased among men who drank higher amounts of soda sweetened with sugar. There are many different ingredients present in all soda – diet or regular – that may be carcinogenic, that and many are saying that this alone weakens the implication of aspartame as the cancer cause. A controversy is brewing over the “questionable” strength of the results.

It’s important to note that this is the longest study to date that has been done on the possible relationship between aspartame and cancer. The longest research before this spanned only four and a half months. While the beverage industry responded to this newest research by reminding us that aspartame has been declared safe by the world’s leading scientists for decades, the studies performed in the past were always short-term. Toxicity may not be apparent from this type of exposure.

Aspartame contains methanol. When methanol is metabolized by the body it becomes formaldehyde which can damage protein and DNA, leading to the risk of cancer and autoimmune disease. While FoodFacts.com understands that the concluding data in this research does hold some questions, we’re also well aware that aspartame is, to say the least, a questionable ingredient in our food supply. We also understand that food and beverage manufacturers using aspartame in their products have a lot to potentially lose from these findings. We’ll be keeping an eye on the controversy that may be forming around this study and keep you posted. In the meanwhile, read more about it:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/336384#ixzz2C9HibBYm
http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/chemical/aspartame-leukemia_1107120713.html

Important nutrition news for diabetics

FoodFacts.com ran across some very important information today that we wanted to share with our community. It’s especially pertinent for diabetics or anyone with diabetics in their family or circle of friends and warrants attention.

Many diabetics and folks who know and love them have considered diet food products as an answer to keeping their sugar levels down. In addition to understanding how carbohydrates affect their disease, and adjusting their diets accordingly, they can also consider sugar-free diet, light, or low fat food products acceptable choices. After all diabetes is a disease that is directly related to sugar … right?

There’s been new research released that point to two additives in foods that can actually cause an increase in fasting blood glucose levels and have been found to be linked to the onset of type 2 diabetes. This is the most common form of the disease, affecting anyone from young children to older adults. And it turns out that the foods that some people think may actually be safe to eat for diabetics really may not be at all.

The study involved mice and its results showed that both aspartame and MSG are actually increasing fasting blood glucose levels and reducing insulin sensitivity … not a good combination for folks with dietabetes.

The presence of aspartame as a product ingredient was shown to have both these effects. When both aspartame and MSG are included in product ingredients a dual effect was discovered – both the spike in fasting blood glucose levels and reduced insulin sensitivity along with weight elevation. As double whammy for diabetes.

This study is fairly ground breaking as it is the first one published that illustrates a hyperglycemic effect from chronic exposure to a combination of food additives that are incredibly common in the food supply. Just take a look at products labeled “sugar-free”, “diet”, “light”, “low-calorie” or “low fat”. And it’s especially important to remember that looking for MSG isn’t just a simple search for monosodium glutamate on an ingredient list. MSG is hidden in many ingredients that are added to processed food. The dual effects described in this study show that this combination can actually spur the development of diabetes.

As with all studies, more research is needed. But since FoodFacts.com understands how many of the products in stores across the country contain both of these ingredients, we felt it especially important to inform and educate our community. Whether you have diabetes or there’s someone in your family who does, it’s more important than ever to read and understand the ingredients of food products. Once again, the ingredient list can tell us what we need to know to keep our families safe and healthy.

Read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22697049

Ingredients that make Diet Cola a bad choice…

FoodFacts.com understands that informed food choices are the best food choices. So we wanted to make sure you’re well acquainted with four disturbing ingredients in Diet Colas that could help you to make more educated beverage selections.

Potassium Benzoate
Potassium Benzoate is used as a preservative in foods. It prevents bacteria and fungi from contaminating food, beverages, cosmetics, dental care products, and pharmaceuticals, Fruit juice, pickles, and soft drinks can be preserved with potassium benzoate. Most countries approve the use of potassium benzoate, but the European Union suggests children not consume products preserved with it.

Phosphoric acid
Phosphoric acid is a corrosive acid that can form three different classes of salts, namely primary phosphates, dibasic phosphates and tribasic phosphates. Phosphoric acid is soluble in water. It is incompatible with strong caustics and it is corrosive to ferrous metals and alloys. It readily reacts with metals to form flammable hydrogen gas.
It is used as an anti-oxidant in food, as a flavor additive for sharp taste in food (jellies, preserves) and soft drinks, as a tang (Food Additive 338) and for the manufacture of yeasts and gelatin. Phosphoric acid has been shown to decrease bone density and erode tooth enamel.

Caramel Coloring
There are many different types of caramel coloring, each engineered to serve a particular purpose in food chemistry. The caramel coloring used in soft drinks adds ammonia and sulfites to the production of the beverage. In addition to possible dangers of these unwanted ingredients, caramel coloring can also be derived from food products that are common allergens and should be avoided by people with allergies.

Aspartame
One of the most common artificial sweeteners is aspartame. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar and lower in calories. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the acceptable daily intake of 50 mg/kg of body weight/day. The European Food Safety Authority recommends only 40 mg/kg. There is much controversy on whether aspartame causes cancer. Expert agencies in the United States declare aspartame as safe to consume. A few studies have given rats aspartame with leukemia and lymphomas occurring in rats. However, many studies in the lab and by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) examined the effects of aspartame and saw no signs of aspartame as a carcinogen, or causing cancer. Health problems can still occur with the consumption of aspartame.

When you reach for a beverage, there’s more to consider than calories and taste and FoodFacts.com wants you to be as informed as possible when making decisions about different products.

More on Aspartame and its Controversy

Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

It seems that people have always had a “sweet tooth” to some extent.
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So much so, that much of the Caribbean and the American south was covered with sugar plantations throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

This need for something sweet has carried on to the present-day. Unfortunately, sugar, as sweet and delicious as it is, is also very effective at packing on the pounds.
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So, when James Schlatter, a drug researcher at G.D. Searle and Co., stumbled upon aspartame in 1965, it was instantly studied as a substitute for sugar.

According to Aspartame.org, which is a member The Calorie Control Council, an international non-profit association representing the low-calorie food and beverage industry, the artificial sweetener is currently “consumed by over 200 million people around the world and is found in more than 6,000 products.”

Controversy over Safety and Toxicity

However, since the artificial sweetener was approved by the FDA in 1974, there has been controversy around its safety and toxicity.

After it hit the market in 1985, several complaints against the artificial sweetener arose. However, the government maintained that aspartame is safe for human consumption. Yet, opponents of the artificial sweetener state that the government’s investigation and subsequent approval were corrupted due to a conflict of interest.

Nevertheless, the Aspartame.org maintains, “The safety of aspartame has been affirmed by the U.S. FDA 26 times in the past 23 years.”

Many people, including some doctors and researchers, are not convinced.
dietsnapplelemon
In article by Dr. John Briffa for The Epoch Times, the link between Aspartame side effects and fibromyalgia is explored. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome usually characterized by fatigue and chronic pain in the muscles and in tissues surrounding the joints.

Two Cases Linking Aspartame to Fibromyalgia

Braiffa cites two cases from Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology journal published in December 2010.

In the first case, a woman suffered from the syndrome for years. While on vacation she discontinued her aspartame consumption and her symptoms ceased. When she returned home, she resumed consuming aspartame and her symptoms returned.

In the second case, a man suffered from fibromyalgia for three years. His doctor removed aspartame from his diet and his symptoms ceased. In reference to these two cases Braiffa states:

“Case studies such as these don’t prove that these individuals’ symptoms were due to aspartame. [snip] Certainly, should I see an individual suffering from generalized pain andfibromyalgia in the future, I’ll be making doubly sure I ask about their consumption of aspartame and will be advising them to stop it as a matter of course.”

Side Effects of Aspartame

In a recent article found at The Gleaner, Dr. Janet Star Hull stated the following were common Aspartame side effects:

• Nervous system: epileptic seizures, headaches, migraine, severe dizziness, unsteadiness, memory loss, drowsiness and sleepiness, numbness of the limbs, slurring of speech, hyperactivity, restless legs, facial pain, tremors, attention-deficit disorder and brain tumors.

• Eyes/Ears: blindness, blurring or decreased vision, bright flashes, and decreased night vision, pain in the eyes, bulges in eyes, ringing or buzzing sounds, hearing loss.

• Psychological/Psychiatric: depression, irritability, aggression, anxiety, personality changes, insomnia, phobias.

• Chest: palpitations, shortness of breath, high blood pressure.

• Intestinal: nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

• Allergies: wheezing, asthma, itching, skin rash.

• Diabetes: Aspartame can precipitate diabetes, worsens blood sugar control, may cause diabetics to have seizures and interact badly with insulin.
equal-sweetener-w200-h200
Aspartame aggregates diabetic retinopathy, damages the optic nerve and promotes blindness. The free methyl alcohol it produces causes neuropathy and increases the risk of diabetics losing limbs.

However, Aspartame.org contends that these allegations are false – proven not only by the FDA, but also by other food safety organizations.

“Recently, several governments and expert scientific committees (including the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Commission, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency, the French Food Safety Agency and Health Canada) carefully evaluated the Internet allegations and found them to be false, reconfirming the safety of aspartame. In addition, leading health authorities, such as the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The National Parkinson Foundation, Inc., the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Lupus Foundation of America, have reviewed the claims on the Internet and also concluded that they are false.”

The organization also states the artificial sweetener has received a clean bill of health from the National Cancer Society and the American Diabetes
Association.

This controversy has been going on for nearly three decades and there is no sign of it letting up any time soon.
(Top Secret Writers)

Ditch Chewing Gums?

gumball-machine

What do you know about chewing gum? Foodfacts.com presents you with an article that quickly lists some pros and cons of this popular sticky treat. Are you a fan? Or do you stay clear of gum??

In addition to lip chap and my cell phone, gum rounds out my list of essential purse items. But when it comes to chewing gum in general, how much do we really know about these tasty, rubbery pieces we regularly munch on? Are there any benefits to chomping?

Health Benefits

Heartburn relief: In 2005, researchers found that the saliva stimulated by chewing seemed to neutralize the digestive stomach acid that had leaked into the esophagus. It also seemed to help force fluids back into the stomach and therefore provide heartburn relief. Chewing gum — sugarless, of course — for 30 minutes did the trick and can provide relief for up to three hours.

Kills bacteria and freshens breath: Chewing stimulates saliva production, and the more saliva you have in your mouth, the less bacteria you will have. Gum that is said to be sweetened with xylitol is said to increase salivation and prevent bacteria from replicating in the mouth. In terms of what flavor to go with, it’s best to stick with cinnamon, as it can actually help to decrease bacteria in your mouth — sugar-free cinnamon, naturally.

Curbs your appetite: A study at Louisiana State University took 115 people who regularly chewed gum and measured their food cravings before and after lunch. The results showed that those who chewed gum three times hourly after lunch, ate fewer high-calorie snacks and reported lower feelings of hunger and cravings for sweeter foods. And who knew that the body burns 11 calories an hour through working the jaw?

Health Risks

Aspartame and sugar content: In an effort to help make gum “healthier” by decreasing its sugar content, many gum companies began replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sorbitol, and xylitol. Although aspartame was approved in 1996 by the FDA for use in foods and beverages, there still remains many conflicting findings about the controversial sweetener. People who have a sensitivity to aspartame may experience neurological symptoms like headaches, dizziness, skin reactions, seizures, and depression. Fortunately for these individuals, there are gums like PUR that are sugar-free, aspartame-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan.

(Fit Sugar)

Aspartame Causing Severe Depression?

Aspartame Causing Severe Depression? | Foodfacts.com

Aspartame Causing Severe Depression? | Foodfacts.com

Our Foodfacts.com Blog research on aspartame has revealed additional speculation and claims worth exploring.

The National Institutes of Health characterize aspartame as an artificial sweetener that’s 220 times sweeter than sugar. It’s a combination of phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Both of these ingredients are considered amino acids, which can make them sound somewhat healthy in nature. However, there are links between the consumption of aspartame and depression. Continue reading

Cut The Sugar: 7 Ways To Cut Empty Calories

Cut The Sugar | Foodfacts.com

Cut The Sugar | Foodfacts.com

In the early nineteenth century the average American consumed about 12 pounds of sugar a year. Today, some experts estimate that it’s more than 150 pounds, in the form of sugar and other sweeteners.

By contrast, the human body needs only about two teaspoons of sugar in the bloodstream at any one time. Is it any wonder overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions in this country? Continue reading