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Aspartame: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

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Helps Control Weight Gain Myth

"I drank diet soda for the obvious reason -- to avoid sugar and to avoid weight gain" claims a businesswoman in a case reported to Dr. Roberts (qtd. In Roberts 147). It's not unusual for people who are dieting to reach for an aspartame product verses a product containing sugar. Aspartame is "200 times sweeter" than ordinary sugar so fewer calories are consumed (Deskins G1). With a weight conscious society, fewer calories can be attractive. However, a closer look shows that aspartame may not help control weight gain.

Outlined in the following list are some reasons why aspartame might not be effective in controlling weight:

1. According to an article in Technology Review, "aspartame may actually stimulate appetite and bring on a craving for carbohydrates" (Farber 52). 2. An article in Utne Reader claims, "researchers believe that any kind of sweet taste signals body cells to store carbohydrates and fats, which in turn causes the body to crave more food" (Lamb 16). 3. From the San Francisco Chronicle, Jean Weininger states that "studies have shown that people who use artificial sweeteners don't necessarily reduce their consumption of sugar -- or their total calorie intake. . . . Having a diet soda makes it okay to eat a double cheeseburger and a chocolate mousse pie" (1/ZZ1). 4. "The American Cancer Society (1986) documented the fact that persons using artificial sweeteners gain more weight than those who avoid them" (Roberts 150)

Whether you are trying to lose pounds or maintain your weight, using an artificial sweetener such as aspartame does not seem to have any significant effect on weight control. Those extra calories you saved by drinking a diet pop won't make much of a difference if you still need to satisfy your hunger and indulge in several cookies later. If it is actually increasing your appetite, why use it? Common sense tells you that proper diet and exercise are more beneficial. Even if you believe that aspartame may aid in dieting, is this worth risking your health?

FDA approval and natural ingredients may signal safety at first, but the mounting evidence against aspartame reveals many hidden dangers and possible risks. If you are experiencing any of the adverse reactions, stop using aspartame and see if the symptoms disappear. Now that you are aware of the problems with aspartame, inform others of the symptoms of aspartame poisoning. Notify the FDA of any adverse reactions that you may experience and encourage others to do the same. Don't just stop using aspartame, but make a difference by returning any aspartame products you may now have. If sales go down, hopefully aspartame will be pulled off the market and put an end to the aspartame dilemma.

Fraudulent Claims of Aspartame as a "Diet Aid"

Interestingly, even the American Cancer Society confirmed that users of artificial sweeteners gained more weight than those who didn’t use the products, further undermining the supposed "purpose" for the existence of aspartame in the food.[16] Haven’t we heard this kind of criminal fraud before?

The major selling point of aspartame is as a diet aid, and it has been demonstrated that the use of this product actually causes people to consume more food. Normally, when a significant quantity of carbohydrate are consumed, serotonin levels rise in the brain. This is manifested as a relaxed feeling after a meal. When aspartame is ingested with carbohydrates, such as having a sandwich with a diet drink, aspartame causes the brain to cease production of serotonin, meaning that the feeling of having had enough never materializes. You then eat more foods, many containing aspartame, and the cycle continues. Monsanto’s profit from its NutraSweet Division was $993 million in 1990.


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