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Warehouse K
Sweet And Deadly
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Beware The Deadly Lineup Of Artificial Sweeteners

By James Donahue

It was a family joke that the first words I ever spoke were “Mama dirt.” Translated, I was asking my mother for dessert, or something laced with sugar. I had been introduced to sugar and was addicted to it before I could talk.

People love their sugar and they are getting their fill of it in the foods and soft drinks they consume daily. Food processing companies know this and they add some form of a sweetener to almost everything they make to make it more appealing to our taste buds. We get it in salad dressing, pasta sauce, pizza, ketchup, and of course in soft drinks and candy.

People in western society use sugar as a form of self-medication because it gives them brief bursts of energy, enhances their mood and gives them a sense of instant gratification. It has been said that the sugar addiction is so severe that our dependence on it closely resembles addictions to crack cocaine or heroin. Withdrawal symptoms are distinct. When all sugar is taken away in experimental research, humans experience extreme moodiness and irritability, become sweaty and light headed.

Also like cocaine and heroin, sugar is a substance refined from plants grown in nature and refined to maximize its chemical surface area and biological action in our bodies. It is made from either sugar cane or sugar beets.

And like cocaine and heroin, sugar destroys our health over time. It rots our teeth, disrupts normal brain function, promotes heart disease and is directly linked to obesity and diabetes.

This is not news to medical researchers and people involved in the food industry. Consequently there has been a search for a safe sugar substitute that will make food taste like it contains sugar without including harmful side effects. To date, all of the artificial sweeteners marketed for human consumption, and strangely approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, appear to be more dangerous than plain white sugar.

As of July, 2006, the FDA approved five different sugar substitutes that the agency declared safe. These were aspartame, acesulfame K, neotame, saccharin and sucralose. Yet another deadly sweetener that has found its way into much of the processed food we purchase is high fructose corn syrup.

When you examine what these chemicals do to our bodies, however, it appears clear to us that just using sugar, with moderation, honey, non-refined sugars, or Stevia are the best choices if we cannot live without our sugar fix.

Aspertame is clearly the worst of the lot. Researchers have concluded there are at least 92 different side effects associated with consumption of this product. Most importantly, aspartame is an excite-toxin. That is it excites the brain causing temporary euphoria as it releases excess dopamine. Consumers enjoy this sensation and crave even more aspartame, but in the process it is killing brain cells. People who drink diet cola, with both aspartame and monosodium glutamate added, find themselves quickly addicted to the drink. They also lose their ability to think clearly.

Aspartame changes the ratio of amino acids in the blood altering levels of serotonin, tyrosine, adrenaline and others. It has been found to be linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein-Barr, Post-Polio syndrome, lymes’ disease, grave’s disease, Meniere’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, EMS, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, lupus, lymphoma and attention deficit disorder. It is suspected of causing disease of the eye, heart, endocrine system, digestive system and skin allergies. The list goes on and on.

Aspartame was developed by G. D. Searle Co. in the United States. It is currently produced by the Ajinomoto Group of Japan. For a while Monsanto was the manufacturer of aspartame.

Acesulfame K has been shown to cause cancer in animals and is believed to be a carcinogen in humans. It is a potassium product manufactured in China. This product is sold commercially as Sunette or Sweet One. You can find it in chewing gum, dry mixes for beverages, instant coffee and tea, gelatin desserts, puddings and nondairy creamers.

Neotame is among the latest poisons developed by Monsanto Chemical Corp. The formula is similar in structure to aspartame, formerly produced by Monsanto. This stuff is reportedly 8,000 sweeter than sugar, and some reports say it may be even more toxic than aspartame. Like aspartame it is an excitotoxin in that it excites the production of dopamine in the brain and causes a slight state of euphoria. Thus it destroys brain cells. It contains formaldehyde metabolite, a known carcinogen that also damages the immune system. While long-term effects are yet to be determined, critics believe they will closely resemble those caused by aspartame.

Saccharin, among the earlier artificial sweeteners marketed under the name Sweet N’ Low, has remained on the grocery shelves and a food additive even though tests have shown that it can cause cancer in mice. It remains a suspected carcinogen. For diabetics it may be the less dangerous of all of the sweeteners. The Cumberland Packing Corp. of New York purchased the Sweet N’ Low brand from Monsanto Corp. in 2000.

High-fructose corn syrup, used as a sweetener sometimes along with aspartame or some of the other artificial chemicals listed above, is turning up in a frighteningly large amount of the processed foods sold in our grocery stores. New studies find that this stuff causes a high increase in body fat and is directly linked to liver disease.

The other sweeteners on the market that reportedly come from “natural” sources that are much safer than any of the above. These include Sucanat and stevia.

Sucanat is a non-refined cane sugar so it is brown in color. That is because it retains its molasses content. It is essentially pure dried sugar cane juice.

Stevia is manufactured from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana species of plants found in tropical and subtropical regions. It has been produced by Morita Kagaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. of Japan since 1971 and is widely used in Asia. It went on the market in the United States in 1995 and can usually be found in health food stores.

An interesting aspect of stevia is that it has been found to have possible medical applications. The leaves of the so-called “sweet plants” have been used in South American countries for medicinal teas for treating heartburn and other ailments. New medical research has shown promise in treating hypertension, enhancing glucose tolerance and reducing blood glucose. Thus it would be a good choice as a sweetener for diabetics and people on carbohydrate-controlled diets.

Agave: There is one more “natural” sweetener on the market that we should watch out for. It is agave nectar, produced from the juice of the agave plant in Mexico. Primarily used in making tequila, the juice is heated and processed into a mixture of concentrated fructose and glucose. Tests on animals show that agave may cause cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, heart disease and contributes to obesity. Also it is addictive. In short: Don’t use it!