What if I told you that in the past week, you’ve probably consumed a substance that:
- has over 10,000 complaints filed against it to the FDA
- causes muscle spasms, blindness, weight gain, loss of taste and 70 others adverse effects (All documented by the FDA)
- is found in over 5000 products across North America
- causes tumours and brain damage when fed to rats
You better believe it. But first, let’s bring things back down to Earth so that you don’t nervously shit your pants at the thought of waking up with a tumour.
Slow And Steady Kills Surely
Just like smoking, the substance in question doesn’t necessarily have instant and immediate adverse effects – but consume it consistently enough and eventually it will cause some type of life-threatening consequence.
And just like smoking, some will get by without any issue, while others will suffer in the worst way possible.
So what is this mystery ingredient? Well if you’re a good guesser, you probably already knew that it’s none other than aspartame – and today I’m going to make a compelling case as to why you need to stay the fuck away from it, and what you can use instead to continue on with your zero-calorie crusade.
How It Works
Aspartame is made up of aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. Now your brain already contains something called aspartate – which acts as a neurotransmitter (helps brain cells talk to each other). However, when you take in aspartic acid from aspartame, it increases the blood plasma levels of aspartate. And when you have too much of that neurotransmitter, it is now an “excitotoxin.”
Basically, it “excites” the brain cells to death. Imagine a smart, sexy college chick that dies by overdosing on speed – anyone that says having too much fun can’t kill is clearly wrong. So it should be of no surprise then, that those 10,000+ complaints filed to the FDA mostly consisted of neurological issues. Everything from severe headaches to difficulty thinking, seizures, memory loss etc.
Who knew that continually killing brain cells would cause such issues? I for one am totally shocked (not). You keep up this brain-cell killing frenzy long enough, and it can lead to things like Alzheimer’s disease, Epilepsy, Dementia and whole bunch of other shit that’ll turn you into a useless prune.
Then we have methanol, which when ingested is converted into formaldehyde in both humans and rats (don’t forget this fact). Now, if you’ve never heard of formaldehyde then it’s about time I introduced you to this fine substance full of charm, prestige and pedigree. Ok, not really since it is a known carcinogen and below are a few of the nasty things it is known to cause:
- Cancer (duh)
- Permanent blindness through damaging of the optic nerve
- Chronic Poisoning
- Chronic toxicity
- Skin Rashes
Now here’s where things get a little interesting: methanol (the precursor to formaldehyde) is naturally found in wine and fruit juices. I know, we’re all fucked right?
“Mother nature how could you!?”
But isn’t it interesting how we don’t experience those (oh so desirable) symptoms from actually drinking natural fruit juices or alcoholic beverages? Well there’s app for that… er, I mean a reason for that.
You see, the methanol in wines and fruit juices is attached to something call pectin. What this does, is it blocks the conversion of methanol to formaldehyde in the first place, which means it passes right through your body and you piss that sucker out the next day. You can think of pectin like a bouncer, grabbing methanol by the arm and kindly escorting it out of your system.
It seems like mother nature knows what she is doing after all.
On top of that, fruits and wines also contain natural amounts of ethanol (that’s the magical ingredient that gets us wasted and has been lowering the sexual standards of men and women for thousands of years).
Why is this important to know? Because ethanol counter acts with methanol and essentially cancels it out. In fact, one of the treatments for methanol poisoning is to IV the patient till their blood alcohol level shoots up. Or in layman’s terms, get them wasted – now there’s a visit to the hospital I can get behind. So ethanol is the reason why you can consume an entire fruit basket and not worry about going simultaneously blind and dumb.
But The Million Dollar Question Is…
Does aspartame contain any of the protective substances that stops the formaldehyde conversion?
And want to know the worst part about formaldehyde? Your body doesn’t know how to get rid of it, so it just stores it. You know, just in case you needed some fucking poison for a rainy day in the foreseeable future.
Wait, Isn’t Aspartame FDA Approved?
It sure as hell is – in fact, it is known as a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) compound. So how did this happen in the face of strong evidence?
Well, that is an epic thriller in it’s own right. In fact, you should really check out the documentary called Sweet Misery, A Poisoned World. But in case you don’t have time for that shit (or prefer reading words), I’m going to list some interesting pieces of history for you to chew on.
When aspartame was first discovered and tested, it was NOT allowed to be marketed or sold. The head of the FDA at the time (Jere E. Goyan) looked over the studies and saw the highly increased rate of cancer in rats that ingested aspartame. He disallowed the use of aspartame and was then shortly fired. And those studies Goyan looked at are now nowhere to be found. Isn’t that a shocker?
Instead, they were replaced by studies that seemed like they were performed by drunk morons. This point was proven years down the road (after Aspartame got approved) when some investigators found that the rats used during the studies had tumours that were intentionally cut out and then documented as if they had none in the first place (WTF?)
Or how bout this gem – when rats would die of brain tumours or other issues with organs and/or tissues, they wouldn’t autopsy the body for years, letting the tissue deteriorate. Then when they felt like it, the researchers would then cut them open and again document the results of the study as safe. “Look ma, no tumours!”
Follow The Money
So how did these shoddy studies make their way through as “proof”? Well there are campaign contribution records that show Searle (The company that came up with Aspartame, now bought out by Monsanto) basically paid money to senators that were involved with keeping aspartame on the market. Then to take it a step further, Monsanto would point to articles published by the American Diabetes Association and The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation that support aspartame to basically show the public, “look, it’s not just us that are telling you Aspartame is fucking amazing, these organizations said it’s completely safe too!”
Of course, you cannot blame the public for buying into that bullshit. In fact, support from those groups does sound believable… right up until you realize that Monsanto made even bigger contributions (exact amount unknown) to both of these “non-profit” groups. This is the classic case of the jock flexing his power to get the nerds to do his homework. And you thought life after high-school would be different?
The Man Without Balls
Now obviously what I’m about to say isn’t what you’d call “hard” evidence, but as a human, you do have to ponder the following question: Why did Dr. Arthur Hull Hays (the man who approved Aspartame’s use as the FDA commissioner at the time) hide behind his door like a pansy when a harmless young female report approached him and started asking him questions?
I mean, you don’t have to be an expert in reading human body language to know that such behaviour is obviously practised by those that have something to hide with a possible shitty conscience affixed on top.
Think about it, if he was a man with some balls and integrity he would’ve had no problems in saying, “Based on the data at the time, I thought it was completely safe to use, so I approved it.” There’s nothing wrong with that. I mean shit, a decade a go, based on the “data” I had available at the time, I thought dumbbell kick-backs were fucking awesome.
But now I realize this was foolish and know that exercises such as the close grip bench press, overhead press and thick rope pulldowns are far superior and give you monstrous grip strength to crush the hands of weaklings.
So for all you Diet Coke drinkers out there, I hope you know that even if you are in complete denial about Aspartame, you are consuming a substance that was approved by a shady asswipe who runs and hides behind doors in the face of a harmless woman. I wonder if pussyfication is another side-effect of aspartame? I should probably report that to the FDA.
Explaining The Non-Obvious
“I’ve been drinking diet coke for ever, and I’m fine! Why you scaring me like this?”
Again, just like smoking, you’re unlikely to drop dead upon initial ingestion. In fact, you might even be resistant to the obvious and/or mild side effects of aspartame. But take it long enough and consistently enough and that minor toxicity in your body builds up until it’s too late.
So in the end, why the hell would you bother?
The Real Truth, And Nothing But
There was a study released in the European Journal of Oncology by Morando Soffritti and coworkers which came to the following conclusion (link is in the reference section if you want to read up on the whole thing – not for the faint of heart):
“In our experimental conditions, it has been demonstrated, for the first time, that APM (Aspartame) causes a dose-related statistically significant increase in lymphomas and leukaemias in females at dose levels very near those to which humans can be exposed. Moreover, it can hardly be overlooked that at the lowest exposure of 80 ppm, there was a 62% increase in lymphomas and leukaemias compared to controls, even though this was not statistically significant.”
The boldfacing was done by me to illustrate the point home. If you remember from earlier on, I told you to memorize a certain fact – that methanol is converted into formaldehyde similarly in humans and rats. So if you give rats doses of Aspartame that are very near to those of which humans can be exposed to, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the odds are high stacked against you when it comes to tumours. Basically, it’s a good indication of the fact that you’re fucked.
I will say however that from what I saw, the people that suffered due to Aspartame intake did see noticeable improvements in health once they stopped taking it. I would hardly call it completely irreversible but still, just like poker you should quit that shit while you’re ahead.
First of all, I want you to ask yourself, “Why do I want to take a sugar substitute?”
Because let’s be honest, I’ve tried them all and none taste as good as sugar, which means taste and satisfaction cannot possibly the reason to make the switch.
So how about “health” reasons? What if you want to lose weight? Well as you may or may not know, I E-Train clients and so I have a shit load of experience when it comes to helping people look down right sexy. My take on it is that while you may think replacing all sugar with a low/no calorie option is a great trick to reduce your daily calories, it may not be enough.
There was a study done with over 70,000 women where they tried to see how artificial sweeteners would effect their weight. Here’s the exact quote from their findings:
“Average weight gains or losses by artificial sweetener users differed by less than 2 pounds from gains or losses among non-users. These results were not explicable by differences in food consumption patterns. The data does not support the hypothesis that long-term artificial sweetener use either helps weight loss or prevents weight gain.”
Again, the boldfacing was done to prove a point – that making a change this small to your diet is insignificant. It’s a like trying to save the world’s pollution problems by driving a Prius. Truthfully, you just look like a tool that has horrendous taste in vehicles who also fails to realize that the batteries themselves cause more harm than good and that the vehicle itself isn’t as efficient as you might think (See references for the video).
So why should you bother? Well, you shouldn’t. Instead if you’re an “average” individual then you should just have some raw sugar and get yourself a well-designed exercise program instead.
“What If You’re Wrong FJ?”
But fine, I’ll play along to amuse you. Let’s say that somehow I’m completely wrong because the data and facts I looked at were the ones that were tainted and bullshitted as propaganda.
Let’s say that Aspartame was found to be completely safe. Actually, let’s say it was found to be good for you… what will I do? Take this article down? Admit my defeat?
Not a chance, but honestly the world would keep spinning and those that’ve been drinking Diet Coke can pat themselves on the ass and ride the “I told you train.” Great, but it wouldn’t affect me either way because I’ve stuck to natural raw sugar which has no side effects (assuming you consume it like a normal human being.)
But… What If I’m Right?
Then you’re all majorly fucked.
Think about it for a second, I’m in a no-lose position. I can be wrong, but being wrong doesn’t have any consequences to me other than the fact that people can come to this article, and feel mildly validated. But there is a good chance I’m right, and if data ever becomes as conclusive as “2+2=4,” then have fun spending your future years as a mindless vegetable.
A Sugar Substitute That Doesn’t Suck
I will say that there is an audience which can benefit from saving a few calories here and there from their diets.
Who exactly am I referring to?
Anyone hovering at around 10% body fat and wants to get leaner. Basically, anyone who already possesses the body you drool over, but wants to fine-tune their physique for competition, vacation, photo shoots and other occasions where looking damn hot is absolutely necessary.
For individuals like these, I recommend Stevia – which is a plant based alternative and has been used in Japan for over 3 decades without any reports of serious illnesses.
But for the average person that has 10 or 20 pounds to lose? It makes no sense. You’ll get more bang for your buck if you train your ass off and focus on consuming lower quantity of very high quality foods. Basically, take in less stuff but make sure it’s the good stuff.
If you enjoyed this and want more kick-ass fitness and nutrition information that doesn’t come force-fed from the spoons of shoddy organizations, scroll down below and grab the FREE Myth-Busting chapter of my book (The insane amount of five-star reviews on Amazon don’t lie).
And if you have had any serious issues or complications from Aspartame, I want to hear about it. Post it in the comment section below.
Trocho C, Pardo R, Rafecas I, Virgili J, Remesar X, Fernández-López JA, Alemany M (1998). Formaldehyde derived from dietary aspartame binds to tissue components in vivo.63. pp. 337–349.PMID 9714421.
Olney JW, Farber NB, Spitznagel E, Robins LN (November 1996). “Increasing brain tumor rates: is there a link to aspartame?”. Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology55(11): 1115–23.doi:10.1097/00005072-199611000-00002.PMID 8939194
Dangers Of Aspartame: http://bit.ly/11Il1TR
Prius Vs BMW M3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmxUsGiGp3w
or copy/paste link below