Aspertame Poisonous?

I drink large quanties of hot tea with Nutrasweet and was warned by a friend recently that Aspertame was a dangerous substance. I subsequently checked it out on the web and found there are several sites warning about the dangers of Aspertame if used in hot drinks and how it’s responsible for all manner of ailments due to the fact that it forms methanol and formaldahyde compounds when digested.

If it’s so toxic how can Monsanto get away with selling it. Wouldn’t a nasty chemical like formaldahyde be easy to detect in testing?

Just wondering as I sip.

Don’t worry about it. It’s just one of many hysterical, stupid scares about chemicals that is not true, like Alar on apples or sodium lauryl sulfate in shampoo. This lie was started by some woman how is just plain nuts. True there are some individuals who lack a key enzyme to digesting Aspartame (they know who they are) and this could be very bad, but for the general population there is no problem. True also that ANY chemical is harmful in a LARGE enough amount, but the toxicity is so low for Aspartame that you would have to drink a ridiculous amount of tea or pop to get ill.

Have you ever checked the main ingredient in Nutrasweet (or any other artificial sweetener)? It’s dextrose, or glucose, (or sucrose)…ordinary simple sugars. It turns out these things are SOOOO sweet that the company puts very little in the packages and cuts it with sugar.

astro writes:

The consensus is generally that these claims are bogus, and that these sites are put up by people who have an axe to grind about:
There are studies that link aspartame (although not conclusively) to an increased likelihood of seizures; if you are an epileptic, it’s probably better that you eschew the stuff. Also, of course, the phenylalnine (an animo acid) can be toxic if you have the metabolic disease plenylketonuria (PKU). If you have neither of these disorders, sip away in good (still) health.

Disclaimer: I am not a physician. I don’t even play one on TV.

“Kings die, and leave their crowns to their sons. Shmuel HaKatan took all the treasures in the world, and went away.”

Cecil’s done this. Search the archive.It causes heahaches on some people. However, limited drinking of diet drinks should be OK for most people. Just because it has no calories, I wouldn’t drink ten cans of diet drink a day.
There are some indications it may increase carbohydrate craving in very large doses.

Until there is new science data, case closed. But there will be new data, because this product is consumed daily by …millions.So wait, I’d say. Maybe it will have effects 20 years later?

That’s the whole idea, my friend. Sweet.

“Cuts it” with sugar? I dunno about that terminology. The sugar is there because people would be quite baffled and/or disappointed when they saw nothing but a few milligrams of powder in those packets (if they managed to see anything at all).

One word of caution with using Nutrasweet/aspartame in HOT beverages. Aspartame breaks downs into nontoxic, but also non-sweet-tasting, byproducts when exposed to heat. It can’t be used in baking, for example. It can be added to coffee or tea you plan to drink on the spot, but not to coffee you’re carrying in a thermos for all day consumption. Also, if you ever encounter a can of Diet Coke that is deformed, pick another can. The denting usually means that the can has been exposed to heat, & the contents are likely to be undrinkable as a result of aspartame breakdown.

Sue from El Paso

bill is wrong.there is only one ingredient in Nutrasweet/Aspartame, the dipeptide-ester that is Aspartame.

I think bill is wrong too about them cutting Aspartame with sugar, because then, of course, it would lose its low calorie advantage. I do know it is “cut” with something though, because it is about 2000 times sweeter than sugar. (OK maybe 200. I forget) I assume that “something” is inorganic, and bland.

As for the safety of Apspartame, they said Saccharine was safe, and they said the precursor to it (the name of which I’ve forgotten) was safe. Hell, they said nicotine was safe! Aspartame is demonstrably unsafe for certain people, and if it convinces others that drinking huge vats of artificially colored, carbonic acid (aka sodas) is actually healthy, then it’s definitely unsafe too. Who knows what further studies will show? My advice is to drink soda, and tea in coffee too, in moderation, and stick with real sugar. When they’re removing the brain tumors of Miss “I’ll take a cheesburger and a Diet Coke”, you’ll thank me.

I’m sure you meant to include the SuperSize fries in the sarcasm…

The early-sixties artificial sweetener was cyclamate. Their was & still is considerable controversy regarding the “science” that purported to show increased bladder tumors in rats (or some other kind of lab animals).

[bold]warning - long explanation ahead[/bold]
A little historical perspective may be useful here. Like most federal agencies that get their funding from Congress (and ultimately taxpayers & voters), the FDA’s work is not done in an ivory tower, but rather in a very politicized environment. In the early 60’s, the US was still reeling from the perceived failure of their government, specificaly, the FDA, to protect us all from the real dangers of Thalidomide. Thus everything the FDA approved or allowed to remain on the market was subject to intense scrutiny & second-guessing. This led to an FDA through which it was extremely difficult to gain approval for any new drug, because they wanted to be absolutely sure not to have a repeat of Thalidomide.
Fast forward to the 80’s. There has been an explosion of new drugs which are clogging up the FDAs pipeline, so that new drugs people were hearing about in the news took, on average, 5 years from recognition of potential to gain approval. There were also new diseases (HIV/AIDS) for which there were NO treatments. Increasingly, people began to realize that while the ultra-strict testing procedures demanded by the FDA had protected from bad drugs, we were paying a price as people were suffering & dying while good treatments were tied up in a bureaucracy in which all too often no decision was the safest way to go.

Currently there is a recognition that a drug that may benefit many will often harm a few. When this happens (e.g. Rezulin/troglitazone is an extremely effective treatment for type 2 Diabetes, but has caused liver failure & death in about 100 people), there is much hand-wringing about whether the benefits outweigh the harm. In the case of Rezulin, a happy solution seems to have been found in which Rezulin should only be used by people with severe diabetes, and with very careful monitoring so that early liver damage can be
detected & the drug stopped before irreversible liver damage has occurred.

Sue from El Paso

Drugs are different from sweeteners. You take a calculated risk there.

The FDA does NO experiments to approve a drug. They do have some lab capability, but it does not cover much.

See what the FDA does:
…codes may not work today…
Regular sodas have about 5 teaspoons of sugar in each can. We middle age folks would not want that much sugar. Consider coffee with one spoonful of sugar or ice tea. Or even light beer.It’s surprising how few the choices are for diabetics.

This may be a nitpick, but the people you are referring to have a genetic defect called PKU (phenylketonuria) which prevents them from metabolizing a common amino acid (phenylalanine) correctly. People with PKU know who they are (or they don’t know anything - a little black humor).

Your statement is technically correct, but misleading, since most people would assume that there is a possibility that they are in the group you mention. However, phenylalanine is in all protein and demonstrably not harmful to a vast majority of people.

Yes but the FDA (=Food & Drug Administration) has regulatory oversight over both.

No, the FDA does not test drugs. Drug manufacturers test drugs. The FDA reviews the results of all drug testing and approves the sale of those drugs which it determines, after reveiwing test results, are both effective and safe.

However, when the political environment is such that there is zero tolerance for approval of any drug which later proves to cause serious adverse effects, gaining approval for any drug is going to be more difficult & time-consuming than it should be.
The FDA can insist on seeing primary data for every single detail involved in the testing process. (For example, if researchers cannot find the original document for one interview on one subject, the FDA can invalidate all testing done on all subjects, and insist that the whole process be repeated before any further consideration can be given).
The FDA can say that the testing done under a protocol which they approved earlier was not sufficient, and demand either that you produce before & after liver protein levels on all 600 subjects (numbers vary from drug-to-drug) involved in the test, or that you repeat the whole testing process on 600 different subjects.
If 3 of 600 subject reported the same adverse effect, the FDA can require testing done on 5400 additional subjects to make sure that the apparent 0.5% rate of the adverse effect was not an underestimate.
They used to be able to take as long as they pleased to review anything and everything you sent in (now there are time limits).

This is not intended to criticize the FDA, and indeed the FDA has increased staff & significantly changed procedures to allow good drugs, particurly those which offer treatment where there has been none, onto the market considerably faster than in the past. But anyone who believes that the FDA approval (based on testing in subjects without other medical problems, and taking few, if any, other drugs) guarantees that new problems won’t be recognized in the first few years after a new drug is released is naive. Anything you put into your body can have adverse effects. I, however, am glad that I and others have the choice right now whether to drink a soda with aspartame or sugar.

Sue from El Paso

Direct from my box of Nutrasweet packets:

Ingredients: Dextrose with Maltodextrin,
Aspartame (Nutrasweet ™ brand).

Btw, each packet contains one gram of powder.

For more info, read this article .

That’s a lot of stuff in one place, pro and con!
Aspartame contains two amino acids, which are present in other foods.The amounts actually used can be argued about. However, I do not recommend taking any amino acid additives, the kind they sell in health food stores, to “add stamina”. You do not need any of them if you eat meat. If you are a vegetarian, you will have figured out how to keep ypur protein intake balanced. I can’t see any reasons to take a single amino acid supplement in quantity. They are not like vitamins.

End of lecture.

I have noticed that when consuming ANY of the artificial sweeteners, I get very painful sores on my tongue. The only other time I had a problem like this was when I was started on Dilantin for my seizure disorder. This leads me to believe that something in the artificial sweeteners is interacting with the anticonvulsant drug. I have had to switch to a specific brand of naturally flavored toothpaste, and also have to use the nasty tasting original Listerine. All of the other mouthwashes contain artificial sweeteners (what a surprise).
As for being poisonous, I just don’t know. I’m not going to test it out on myself, either! I have enough problems already without searching for more.