Aspartame is an artificial sweetener about 180 times sweeter than cane sugar. Known by the brand names Equal and NutraSweet, aspartame is one additive found in more than 6,000 foods. Estimates of global consumption of aspartame exceed 200 million people, according to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, but controversy has followed its accession on American diet since 1981 inclusion in foods
Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by a chemist who worked on finding new treatments for ulcers. According to surveys conducted by Elmhurst University, aspartame consists of phenylalanine and aspartic acid, two amino acids. There is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener. It binds to the sweet receptor taste buds on the tongue to create taste of sweetness.
Although the US Food and Drug Administration showing no adverse effects from ingesting aspartame, some consumers have reported side effects. The side effects often associated with the use of aspartame are neurological disorders such as headaches, hallucinations, dizziness, mood swings, seizures and panic attacks. Among the more serious side effects that have been reported is Grave’s disease and cancer. Even with the possibility of these serious side effects, aspartame is safe for consumption by the FDA because studies have not been able to finally connect aspartame to specific diseases or conditions.
Shortly after its discovery in 1965, aspartame was submitted to the FDA for approval as a food additive. In 1981, aspartame was approved for use in dry table-top products. There has been considerable controversy about FDA approval of aspartame mainly because of the claim that most of the studies that concluded that aspartame is safe for public consumption was financed by aspartame manufacturers. Dr. Ralph D. Walton claims that at least 90 percent of the surveys carried out by independent researchers found serious problems with aspartame. Other aspects of FDA controversy cite political connections as responsible for aspartame approval and has hints of conspiracy.
In addition to allegations of industry-sponsored research bias, further controversy with studies of aspartame are many. FDA takes issue with several independent studies citing unreliable research methods. But Dr. Walton argues that all independent studies have found at least one problem with aspartame, while industry-funded studies have shown no problems with aspartame. Many of the studies that show problems with aspartame consumption can not be duplicated.
Anecdotal Unfavorable Report and Back Views
Internet sites that describe serious side effects from aspartame consumption is too many to mention. However, David Oliver Rietz committed an entire website (dorway. Com) to share their experience with aspartame. He also uses the site to post information he finds on aspartame. On his website is a list of 92 symptoms of aspartame published by the FDA in 1995. However, there is no reference to this document found on the FDA website. In rebuttal to the many sites citing side effects, just as many places refute rumors about aspartame. The University of Hawaii has prepared a fact sheet describing the myths and truths about aspartame.