FDA Approves Aspartame, Bans Stevia

It’s 1974, and the Food and Drug Administration has approved the sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is found in the brand names Equal and NutraSweet. That FDA approval was later rescinded because two studies found that aspartame caused brain tumors in laboratory animals.

Fast forward to 1981. Although those two studies were never officially refuted by the FDA, it approved aspartame as a food additive. And the FDA approved aspartame as a soft drink sweetener in 1983.

It’s interesting to note that the National Cancer Institute reported a sharp rise in brain tumors in the general U.S. population from 1983 to 1987. The estimated annual percent change increased from 2.1 percent to 8.1 percent in men, and from 2.1 to 11.7 percent in women. Could it be connected to people consuming more products sweetened with aspartame?

Now hold onto your pants, because the events that follow are going to sound like a government conspiracy worthy of an X-Files episode!

Stevia, a natural sweetener derived from a shrub in South America, gained popularity in the 1980’s. Indigenous tribal peoples in South America used it as a digestive aid and topical wound healing agent for centuries. Clinical tests also show that this calorie-free sweetener can decrease blood sugar levels and increase glucose tolerance. The powdered concentrate is 300 times sweeter than natural sugar.

Celestial Seasonings, one of the largest all-natural herbal tea companies in the world, used stevia as a flavoring agent in many of its products. Completely without warning, one day in 1986 representatives from the FDA stormed into Celestial Seasonings and confiscated their entire stock of stevia without explanation. Celestial Seasonings was simply told that it could not use stevia in its teas. Period.

Then in 1981 the FDA officially banned stevia as a sweetener. The FDA claimed that stevia was an “unsafe food additive” despite its being widely available in many other countries. Millions of people throughout the world consume stevia every day, with zero reports of toxicity. Hmmm. . .Was stevia banned due to in-depth, conclusive studies, or simply to prevent it from competing with aspartame? Just who has more say-so with the FDA, independent scientists or the food and pharmaceutical industries?

You can bet there’s probably a pharmaceutical company somewhere that’s trying to patent a drug that “cures” aspartame-like symptoms! And you can probably bet that at least one executive from the food industry that manufactures products containing aspartame sits on that pharmaceutical company’s board of directors!

By 1994, 6,888 adverse reactions to aspartame were reported to the FDA. This sounds almost unbelievable, but more than 75 percent of all non-drug complaints to the FDA involve aspartame! Common complaints include headache, dizziness, mood swings, numbness, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and spasms, abdominal pain and cramps, vision problems, joint pain, skin lesions, memory loss and seizures. And before 1987, five deaths were reported to the FDA that were possibly caused by ingesting aspartame!

Of course, this is probably just a fraction of the adverse reactions that consumers experience as a direct result of ingesting aspartame. Some people may experience reactions and never put two and two together. And if they did make the connection, probably only a small percentage would take the time to report it to a doctor or to the FDA. So statistically speaking, for every adverse reaction that’s officially reported, 10 to 100 go completely unreported. That would bring the total number of aspartame-related cases to between 70,000 and 700,000.

A few studies have been conducted that show that aspartame is “safe.” But it’s important to note that those studies utilize a capsule form of aspartame–not the mixed form that’s the commonly used food and beverage additive.

Dr. Ralph G. Walton, Chairman of the Center of Behavioral Medicine of the Western Reserve Care System, has documented aspartame’s risks to the human central nervous system and mental health. He estimates that a full 35 percent of the population is at risk of adverse reactions to aspartame. Aspartame excites the central nervous system, causing seizures, depression and even mania. Dr. Walton found in one study that patients with a history of mood disorders experienced a higher number of adverse aspartame reactions than those with no history of mood disorders. These brain and mood changes can be easily triggered by elevated phenylalanine levels.

Further, aspartame is composed of 10 percent methanol. Yes, methanol. Methanol is also called methyl alcohol, or wood alcohol. The methanol breaks down into formic acid, a type of poison that ants can excrete; formaldehyde, a known carcinogen; and diketopiperazine or DKP, which causes brain tumors. Methanol is particularly toxic to the optic nerve, and its poisoning effects are cumulative over time. People who have consumed bootlegged whiskey have gone blind as a result of the methanol it contained.

The body’s absorption of methanol is sped up when aspartame is heated, as with hot beverages such as hot chocolate. George E. Leighton, an airline pilot, experienced severe blurred vision two hours after drinking hot chocolate sweetened with aspartame; he was completely unable to read the instrument panel and just barely averted having to make a crash landing. Mr. Leighton hasn’t consumed any aspartame since that incident, and he hasn’t experienced blurred vision since. Other pilots have even suffered seizures after consuming aspartame and have lost their flying licenses.

In Israel, consumers are warned not to ingest large quantities of aspartame and not to store products containing aspartame in hot areas. The FDA, on the other hand, has approved using aspartame in baked goods!

Yet the FDA continues to ban all-natural stevia, despite its safe use worldwide. In Japan alone, stevia represents 50 percent of the sweetener market, which also includes sugar. Japan even used stevia in its Diet Coke until replacing it with aspartame to comply with the worldwide recipe.

The American Herbal Products Association has petitioned the FDA to lift its ban on stevia. The FDA has yet to act. Stevia is not banned in any other country.

If you would like to encourage the FDA to lift its ban on stevia, write to the FDA Commissioner at Fishers Lane in Rockville, MD 20857. You might want to request that the FDA ban aspartame while you’re at it. To educate others in your local community, you might want to send a copy of your letter to your local newspaper.

To report an adverse reaction to aspartame or to receive more detailed information, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network, P.O. Box 780634, Dallas, TX 75378. The Consumer Safety Network can also be reached at 314.352.4268.


10 Responses to “FDA Approves Aspartame, Bans Stevia”

  1. Sharon Janeiro on October 22nd, 2007 2:38 pm

    Knowing how harmful Aspartame is, how can FDA approve this harmful ingredient to go into anything the public consumes!! FDA is suppose to ward off any substance or chemical that would be harmful to us. Because of this I have lost respect for FDA. Where are your morals? Or have you lost them taking aspartame? Put a natural ingredient in what we consume with( FDA )approval.

  2. Rose Baxter on October 25th, 2007 7:37 pm

    I’m diabetic and my health has deteriated in several areas, namely my vision and suceptability to strokes–could this be due to the usage of aspartame as a substitute sweetner, especially daily hot tea and coffee? I’ve recently heard about stevia and I’ve stopped ingesting aspartame. I’m trying to find more information on the safety of stevia.

  3. ted on November 25th, 2007 9:40 pm

    I’ve been reading about steviafor years now & can’t find any studies in humans that hint of any problems with it. Aspertame, on the other hand, appears to cause lots of problems.

    I’d hate to have to believe that corporate America has such control over the FDA, but there seems to be no other conclusion.

    I don’t eat sugar, which has its own set of health problems. And i don’t use artificial sweeteners. After a while, your taste buds adapt & you really don’t miss the sweetness. There are times, tho, when I’d like to bake for others, and for that I’ve used stevia with success.

    I’m writng the FDA.

  4. Rich on January 26th, 2008 2:27 pm

    That’s why it’s called the Food AND Drug Administration. Crooked, crooked, crooked………

  5. Mindy on March 15th, 2008 5:53 pm

    The only reason why the FDA approved aspertame is to make money off of people who get cancer or other health problems because they will need to buy medications and any other medical treatments. They want people to get sick and die so they can make money. They only care about themselves, not the well being of humans. To put it into two words: completely corrupt.

  6. Terri Varga on March 20th, 2008 9:28 pm

    The FDA wants people to get sick not only from aspartame but alot of medications.
    Everyone should ban these poisons. Do not trust the FDA. They are greedy crooks.

  7. tweak'n on April 10th, 2008 2:37 pm

    don’t forget this information:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame_controversy#FDA_approval_process

    “The head of the FDA, Jere E. Goyan, was removed from his post on the first day of Ronald Reagan’s presidency (1981). Previously, Goyan refused to approve the legalization of aspartame, due to the studies documenting increase of cancers in rats. Reagan appointed Arthur Hayes, MD, (FDA Commissioner 1981-1983) Commissioner, who legalized aspartame a year later. In November 1983 Hayes quit and joined G. D. Searle & Company public-relations firm as senior medical advisor. G. D. Searle & Company renamed aspartame NutraSweet.”

    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Rumsfeld#Private_career

    From 1977 to 1985 Donald Rumsfeld served as Chief Executive Officer, President, and then Chairman of G.D. Searle & Company.

    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Rumsfeld#Private_career

    It was under Rumsfeld that Searle got the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for the controversial artificial sweetener, aspartame, which it marketed as NutraSweet. This was despite a previous 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it “might induce brain tumors.” It was given the go ahead after Reagan’s new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr added a 6th member to the review board, after the initial 5 members voted 3-2 to uphold the ban.

  8. Christy on April 29th, 2008 8:25 am

    I agree with all the comments above. I believe that the American Government has created a market out of sickness and disease, and when they find that people are catching on to this…catching on to the fact that we need to be in control of our health and choose more natural forms of prevention instead of synthetic symptom based treatments, they ban it from us.

    I encourage everyone to do your research. Don’t let one unsubstantiated e-mail or article fool you. And if you aren’t sure where to begin, find a company that has done it for you. One that you can trust.

  9. Ted Kennedy Diagnosed with Brain Tumor « Lance Dutson Story, and other Crazy Tales on May 21st, 2008 8:27 am

    [...]  I use Stevia:  (See this for more sleaze in Washington:   [...]

  10. Eyes Wide Open on August 7th, 2010 1:51 pm

    The Japanese –our so called “friends” are the producers of Aspartame. They pushed it’s approval in the United States. Interestingly, the Japanese population does not eat foods/drinks containing ASPARTAME. They have long since known of the dangers of Aspartame.

    So i ask you this–
    Why would a “friend/ally” want to quietly poison us Americans with deadly compounds like Aspartame and MSG? What do they stand to gain?

    A: world wide competitive advantage in everything from Academics to technology.
    An American competitor doesn’t stand a chance if their brain and bodies are fried with Tumors, mental retardation, seizure disorders, etc. etc.

    They have systematically fed our parents lies and consequently fed our children poison for over 20+ years.
    And now every one is wondering why countries like Japan are gaining economic, academic, technological advantage over Americans.
    “Innovation” comes from HEALTHY brains NOT toxic ones.

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