Aspartame is the most used artificial sweetener even though the controversy about its safety still persists. Dr. Russell Blaylock, neurosurgeon and clinical assistant professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Centre in his book ‘Excitotoxins – the Taste That Kills’ writes that aspartame contains excitotixins toxic materials that excite or stimulate neurons in the brain and spinal chord and lead to their death. The very young and the very old appear to be most susceptible to the deleterious effects of these toxins. Symptoms include headaches, joint, pain, remors, spasms, swollen glands, anxiety, insomnia, breathing problems, diarrhoea and constipation. Certain chronic illnesses that can be triggered or worsened by consuming aspartame include brain tumours, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s, disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, birth defects and fibromyalgia.
“Despite the research still being ambiguous, the fact that it is approved by the FDA gives it a safety stamp. Existing evidence says that the safe consumption limit is 50 mg/kg body weight, set by WHO,” says Dr. Anoop Mishra, HoD, diabetes and metabolic diseases, Fortis Hospital.
Certain quarters of the Western scientific community believe that the green signalgiven to Aspartame by health organisations and regulatory bodies is the job of lobbyists in favour of the sweetener.
Closer to home, experts have varying opinions about artificial sweeteners. “They are chemical products which may harm the body in the long run,” says dietician Shikha Sharma.
Research also indicates that aspartame can be deadly to diabetes because formicacid a by product, of aspartame decomposition — worsens their condition. But Dr. Ambrish Mithal, senior consultant endocrinologist, Apollo Hospital says there is no absolute proof of this. “Studies have been conducted on rats which show there are no adverse effects even with daily consumption of about six to eight tablets of low cal sweeteners.” Views may vary but there is a general consensus that up to 10 tablets/day is safe for most people.
(source: Mail Today newspaper)