Have you ever wondered about aspartame? The stuff of Nutri-Sweet, myths and legends online and in frenzied emails, thrust at you with the fervor of someone who is sure the world is ending with the sample packets of Phenalalynine raining from the sky.
I used to laugh. I sent along the Snopes.com site. I drank my Diet Coke.
A friend at a board posted the link to a movie called Sweet Misery a few days ago. We had had discussions of the problems with aspartame, but as an avowed fan of Diet Coke for years, I wasn’t about to give up my one sole vice. I am also not a fan of the fear tactics of well-meaning folks who say that if you drink aspartame your head will ‘asplode’.
We’ve been told eggs are dangerous, and then that eggs are all right. That smoking was all right, and now that smoking is dangerous. It seems as though the whims of the nation change, leaving many in the comets tail as it passes by. In all of this changing chaos, Low Carbohydrate Lifestylers fly in the face of a nation who thinks that high-calorie, low-fat diets are the way to live healthfully.
We follow this lifestyle, not because of anecdotal evidence, but because we know the benefits of a largely grain-free, whole foods existence. We can’t afford to be chicken littles, running around crying that the sky is falling. Instead, we provide the blood workups. The cholesterol tests. The empirical evidence which shows health and sustenance on this way of eating. We show, not through sensationalism and screaming from street corners or placards, but with empirical data
People are rational and cogent. Making claims toward Aspartame (the mainstay of many a weight loss plan) should merit no less the same attention to detail, taking into account that scare tactics are no more the answer than lack of actual evidence.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that neurological problems are increasing in this country at an alarming rate. Why? The answers could be in the very substances we are willingly ingesting, when we’re not breathing it (polluted air) or absorbing it (lead).
Research and empirical data are the key when trying to help people to understand. It’s worth the effort to win advocates with knowledge and without fear. This isn’t religion. This is science.
Aspartame is something which has been prone to over-sensalization.
There are a lot of scare tactics out there warning people off of many things.
People should see the film (I believe), do their own research, and then determine for themselves whether there is something to it. It’s like the SuperSize Me film– there is something for everyone, even if people don’t ascribe to everything in the movie.
It’s worth a watch.
Now, I have seen the movie this morning and I have done my own research.
I am not in any way, shape or form, an aspartame fan, but I am an opposer of sensationalism and appeals to emotion and authority (or to peer pressure and fear mongering).
Despite my dislike for anecdotal evidence as the reasoning for anyone to believe anything (especially online), I will appeal for a moment to my own circumstantial evidence.
For several years I have been suffering from facial numbness. It has been a worrisome continuation of numb face, which especially is exacerbated with stress. This has been a relative new occurrence, beginning in 2006.
In 2007, I was given an MRI (a brain scan) because I was encountering odd tingling in my limbs which came and went, but which were increasing in frequency and in discomfort.
Nearing 2008, I was also encountering dizzy spells, tending to fall down for no reason whatsoever, and more recently have been experiencing lapses in the ability to find the words I want to use when speaking or writing. I will often stop for a moment and think about the word I’m looking for, when, years ago, they found me quickly. It was almost as though I was suffering from aftereffects of stroke. Now I find my vision blurred. I will close my eyes and shake my head to ‘right’ myself, but don’t trust myself to drive on various occasions due to this out-of-the-blue anomaly.
Despite being morbidly obese for years, I have been tested for and have been determined to not have diabetes. No stroke, and aside from occasional panic attacks, no cardiac concerns. My blood pressure is normal, and I am not medicated for any infirmities, nor do I take vitamins regularly. I do eat a healthy, whole-foods diet.
I have been an avid consumer of aspartame in Kool-Aid and in Diet Coke, Extra Gum, Jell-O, D-Zerta, and other drink items and food items regularly since 1983, consuming approximately 1-2-liters of the beverages per day (give or take) over the last 25 years.
The MRI showed shadows on my brain, but no absolute evidence of a disease. The doctor is monitoring me for possible signs of multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease many are registering with the FDA.
Again, this is anecdotal. This is my experience.
I look to my research and I now wonder at the number of heightened autism cases which exist in the United States, as an explosion in the last 20 years has prompted more research and acknowledgment of the affliction. Are babies in the womb who are subjected to aspartame turning out to be the new fetal alcohol syndrome kids?
Are my four autistic children this way due to the poisons jumping the blood-brain barrier for years on end while I Diet Coke-d and Extra-Gum’d and Kool-Aid’d my way through pregnancy?
This morning I woke up for the first time in weeks with no dizziness and no facial numbness. This is not somatic compliance. This is fact. I was able to stand up without grabbing onto something. My cheek doesn’t feel as though it is lingering in a Novocaine lap pool. I am astonished, but not surprised.
I am not going to try to convince anyone here that, based on my personal experiences and research that aspartame is a poison. You have to do that research for yourself. I can’t convince you that there have been more brain tumors in the United states in the last 20 years any more than I can convince you that there is or is not snow on the ground in Colorado.
For me, the evidence is compelling.
But you’ll have to find your own evidence.
Need help? Google “neurological problems” and “aspartame.” It’s a beginning.
Since working through the Aspartame situation with research and my own personal journal of physical conditions, I’m having to rethink my positions on Splenda. Will we, in 25 years, be reading a new list of frightening and potential problems?
y soon be reworking all recipes which call for any artificial sweeteners and replacing them with stevia.
Stevia is basically an herb. That’s it! With leaves 30 times the potency of sugar, my friend Vesna says a young child she knows calls it a “Lollipop plant”. The leaves can be harvested right from your own garden and used in tea, or dried and ground to make your own sweetener.
Since it is like chives, or oregano, or anything else you can forage as you go, growing it in gardens outside or in, the FDA will probably not be quick to challenge the Splenda and Aspartame industry with this safe alternative.
Stevia can be bitter due to the intensity of it’s potency, so use has to be tempered. A little goes a long way. I ordered Stevia plants this weekend, and am awaiting their arrival. They are tender perennials, which means they will fare better if brought into the home when the weather changes; however, the dark seeds from proven plants can be harvested and new plants can be attempted from these. As well, these plants propagate through cuttings.
Want a good, healthy lemonade recipe for summer using stevia? Check this out
Stay tuned for more stevia recipes. I am going to try to move away from Splenda and towards this natural sweetening herb for cooking, and will probably rework some recipes to the same effect.