The answer to that question is a resounding NO! Whether it’s aspartame, or sucralose, you are poisoning your body with these chemicals. Yes, they came from “natural sources” such as sugar, however, once chemically changed, they are not good for your body.
Let’s discuss aspartame first. The FDA has cataloged over 79 different side effects of aspartame. Symptoms include: memory loss (the single greatest complaint), migraines (2nd greatest complaint), other headaches, blurred vision, blindness, dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, muscle spasms, numbness, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, insomnia, fatigue, nausea, loss of taste, pituitary tumors, severe rashes and seizures, to name only some of the symptoms. Seizures are so common in fact, that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has put out a memorandum telling pilots not to consume aspartame prior to a flight!
Forty percent of aspartame is aspartic acid. Aspartic acid kills neural cells (cells in the brain and nervous system) – it is an excitotoxin that excites or over stimulates the cells to death. It takes 75% of neural cells in a particular area of the brain to be killed before any clinical symptoms are noticed! It makes a great ant poison due to this factor.
Ten percent of aspartame is Methanol (a.k.a. wood alcohol, a deadly poison). Methanol breaks down into formaldehyde in the body, a deadly neurotoxin. The recommended limit of consumption is 7.8mg/day. A one liter beverage contains an average of 56 mg of methanol. Heavy consumers consume as much as 250 mg/day or 32 times the EPA limit.
The last 50% of Aspartame is Phenylalanine which causes phenylketonuria (PKU). The high levels of Phenylalanine depress serotonin levels in the brain causing severe depression, severe mood swings, violent rages and schizophrenia.
Now for sucralose – the supposedly “natural” artificial sweetener, nothing could be further from the truth. Sucralose is produced by chlorinating sugar (sucrose). This involves chemically changing the structure of the sugar molecules by substituting three chlorine atoms for three hydroxyl groups. Some chlorinated molecules serve as the basis for pesticides such as D.D.T. and accumulates in body fat.
Signs and symptoms associated with sucralose use include: shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage to a vital immune system gland), enlarged liver and kidneys, atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus, increased cercal weight (part of lower bowel), reduced growth rate, decreased red blood cell count, hyperplasia of pelvis, extension of the pregnancy period, aborted pregnancy, decreased fetal body weights and placental weights, and diarrhea. A compound chemically related to sucrose – 6-chloro-deoxyglucose – is known to have anti-fertility and neurotoxic effects. Sucralose contributes to lessened control of diabetes. It contributes to weight GAIN by increasing the appetite and cravings for sugar. Sucralose contributes to serious chronic immunological or neurological disorders. For more information, see the Sucralose Toxicity Information Center.
There have been very few studies done on sucralose and according to the Medical Letter on Drugs & Therapeutics, “Its long-term safety is unknown”. One issue that concerns researchers is that 40% of sucralose is not being eliminated! It is being absorbed; however no one knows quite yet where it’s being stored. It is still a mystery.
The bottom line is that artificial sweeteners are not good substitutes for sugar. Saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame and sucralose have all demonstrated carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects. Your body doesn’t know how to process these chemicals and the destructive forces in the body can be profound. It would be better to use processed sugar (with all of its problems) than an artificial sweetener. At least your body knows what to do with it! Better alternatives are raw honey, molasses, pure maple syrup or stevia. Stevia is a plant and appears to be safe as long as it is the crushed green leaf. In the refined forms (white or liquid), there are side effects now being reported.
©2005 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.