Today's toxin has had me in mourning. Aspartame is one of the unhealthiest additives out there. Before I started eating clean I was drinking nearly 2 litres of Diet Coke per day, along with eating artificially sweetened yogurt and other treats in an effort to control my weight. Since I reached well over 200 pounds, obviously it wasn't working.
Aspartame is made of 3 ingredients: methanol, aspartic acid, and phenylalanine. Each of these chemicals on their own is considered toxic. When heated past 86*F the methanol turns into formaldehyde, and then formic acid. This causes "metabolic acidosis" which can mimic the symptoms of MS. The formic acid is stored in the fatty tissues of the body. The name brand sweetener, Nutrasweet has been linked to over 90 side effects, including dizziness, headaches and weight gain.
Let's look at the individual ingredients.
Methanol: Methanol is alcohol obtained from wood. It is used to make formaldehyde, solvents, and windshield washer fluid ( the non-freezing type used in the winter.) On it's own, methanol is highly toxic. Consuming as little as 10 mL, causes permanent blindness through destruction of the optic nerve and as little as 30 mL can be lethal.
Aspartic Acid: Aspartic Acid is an amino acid. Isolated amino acids can be damaging to the brain. Some studios have shown that aspartic acid consumption caused lesions or "holes" in the brains of laboratory rats. This acid breaks down into many different toxic by-products. It is classified as excitotoxin, which is a neurotoxin. This chemical has been linked to brain tumors.
Phenylalanine: Research in 1976 confirmed that cancer could not live without phenylalanine. That did not stop the FDA from allowing it, in combination with other ingredients to be allowed in our food in the form of aspartame. This chemical is also an isolated amino acid. 50% of the chemical makeup of aspartame is phenylalanine. This amino acid can be especially harmful for diabetics of for people suffering from a disease called PKU (Phenylketonuria). This chemical has also been strongly linked to brain cancer.
Another issue with artificial sweeteners that is currently being studied is it's link to weight GAIN. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. As opposed to satisfying a consumer's sweet tooth, it can actually trigger the person to eat more, as the body searches for the sugar and carbohydrates it has been tricked into thinking it has already consumed. These sweet taste of these amino acids cause the body's cells to store carbs and fat,which signals the body to consume more of those items.
In conclusion, the calories you save by consuming a diet soda will likely be added right back into your diet once the cravings triggered in your brain hit. The toxins you are consuming have all individually been linked to cancer. There is no reason to believe that they become safer in combination with one another.
My personal experience was this: I stopped drinking Diet Coke cold turkey on Dec. 1, 2009. I had headaches for the first couple of days, but once they went away I had no further problems. I suffer from some arthritis joint pain, which has lessened dramatically since I removed artificial sweeteners from my diet. I no longer crave Diet Coke, and suspect if I had a sip of it now I would find it sickeningly sweet.
Artificial sweeteners have no place in a clean eating lifestyle. Sweeten with honey, maple syrup or organic unprocessed sugar instead.