Food, Fixings and Holidays—How Sweet Is It?
By: Elizabeth Joyce
Americans today have a greater variety of foods to choose from than ever before. Yet many people are confused and anxious about the impact of their eating habits on their health and are concerned about the safety of foods. One of the ironies of modern life is that as the technology of food production has advanced, Americans have come to rely increasingly on processed foods or convenience foods that are often stripped of nutrition and fiber. This has become the “shortcut to good nutrition.” Many others take vitamins and nutritional substances that contain “pure” nutrients. Some of these products may provide heath benefits, but in terms of a healthy daily diet, they are not adequate substitutes for whole, fresh foods. The substances in fresh foods contain an astonishingly complex balance that cannot be reproduced by a pill or in any heavily processed food product. We know that eating fresh or minimally processed foods is the best way to be sure of obtaining all of the nutrient benefits that food offers.
A unique aspect to the knowledge of foods is that there are many non-nutrient substances recently discovered that can have a profound impact on your health. Consumers tend to hear about additives used to make foods more palatable or attractive, for example, the sodium added to many canned foods or the wax sometimes used on fruits and vegetables. But numerous other substances, many of which occur naturally, go to work in our bodies in various ways during the digestive process. Some of these effects appear to be highly beneficial. Dietary fiber, through it is not absorbed by the body, performs a number of valuable functions and may help to prevent such chronic health problems as heart disease and certain types of cancer. Similarly, chemical substances known as indoles, which occur in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, have been linked to cancer prevention, as has ellagic acid, which is found in certain types of berries.
On the other hand, solanine, a substance in sprouting potatoes, is toxic; hydrazines, which occurs in raw mushrooms, and aflatoxin, found in the mold that grows on peanuts, are both known carcinogens. Foods are subject to contamination from bacteria (for example salmonella, found in spoiled turkey dressing) as well as man made chemical agents such as residue from pesticides, which has an adverse effects on our health. There is a lot to be learned about foods of all kinds, but enough research has been done to provide safety guidelines when appropriate. MOSTLY!
Sugar is bad for you, right? This Thanksgiving and Holiday Season we’ll all cut back on pies, cookies and homemade sweets. Sugar has calories and makes you fat! However, we have found a taste that is sweet and doesn’t have any calories so it won’t make you fat. The low-calorie sweetener. That is the thinking that supports the widespread use of the artificial sweeteners. Millions of people guzzle soft drinks sweetened with aspartame, a man made chemical sweetener. This compound is sold under the traditional name of Nutrasweet or Equal. This chemical ingredient is found in all kinds of diet foods, in toothpaste, and sprinkled out of small packets with tea and coffee. It is sold world wide.
The following information comes from the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network Fact Sheet, written by Lendon Smith, MD.
Aspartame is considered to be abut 200 times as sweet as sugar. It is calorie free and when ingested and metabolized, it breaks down into three substances:
- 1) phenylalanine (50%) one of the amino acids needed for the production of neurotransmitters essential to brain function. While this may sound OK, it is not. People with PKU (phenylketonuria) are missing the enzymes to break down this amino acid and may end up with an excess that causes brain damage. For susceptible people, phenylalanine will become neurotoxic and may cause seizures.
2) aspartic acid (40%) which can cause brain damage in the fetus.
3) methanol (10%) an alcohol which turns into formaldehyde, a known toxic substance used, among other things, as an embalming fluid.
Early studies in the 1970 showed that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice. Monkeys fed aspartame died or had grand mal seizures. However, these studies were not submitted to the FDA when approval for aspartame was requested. The request was approved by the then FDA commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., in 1981, after he overruled the Public Board of Inquiry’s recommendation to ban this artificial sweetener. Two months before quitting his post, Hayes approved the use of aspartame in soft drinks, even though the National Soft Drink Association had warned the FDA that aspartame was breaking down body structures in warm climates.
From the early 1980’s until present time, consumer complaints have been pouring into the FDA related to aspartame use. Among the symptoms reported are the following:
vertigo ……………….. hyperactivity ……………….. hearing loss
heart arrthythmia ……………….. tinnitus ……………….. edema or swelling
insomnia ……………….. gastrointestinal disorders ……………….. seizures
numbing/tingling of extremities ……………….. blurred vision
skin lesions ……………….. blindness ……………….. muscle cramps
joint pain ……………….. memory loss ……………….. fatigue
slurred speech ……………….. PMS ……………….. mild to suicidal
depression ……………….. eye problems ……………….. chest pains
menstrual irregularity ……………….. personality changes ……………….. skin disease
violent episodes ………………… increased appetite
Artificial sweeteners will increase appetite because as the sweet taste hits the mouth, a message is sent into the body that carbohydrates are coming in to be digested. Then the pancreas swings into action and sends insulin into the blood stream. As there will be no actual carbohydrates, the insulin lowers the blood sugar and appetite increases. In this manner, artificial sweeteners can contribute to hypoglycemia.
This noxious substance , so ingrained in our commercial food supply, should be recalled by the FDA and retested as a drug!
In addition to the above symptoms, aspartame can mimic a number of autoimmune diseases. Betty Martini, founder of Mission Possible, an organization dedicated to spread information about problems with aspartame, found that methanol toxicity causes metabolic acidosis, which mimics multiple sclerosis (MS). She lists the following symptoms as Aspartame disease, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, shooting pains, joint pains, depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision and memory loss. In addition to MS, aspartame may also mimic or trigger the following illnesses:
syndrome ……………….. Alzheimer’s disease………………… Lyme disease
hypothyroidism……………….. Epstein-Bar ……………….. ADD
post-polio syndrome ……………….. Meuniere’s disease
Fortunately, most of these symptoms are reversible and disappear once the artificial sweeteners are discontinued. In my kinesology work, whenever I test a client for body tolerance of any artificial sweeteners, they will test negative. With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Depression, when the body is de-toxified, it returns to its old self within ten to fourteen days, and the client is energized, functioning and eternally grateful.
There have been written warnings against pregnant women, infants, children, and the elderly ingesting aspartame on the suspicion of its relationship to seizures, changes in brain chemistry, and adverse neurological and behavioral symptoms, but these warnings have been ignored by the FDA which refuses to classify it as a drug. Therefore, the effects do not have to be monitored.
It is interesting that the US Air Force had formally warned all pilots to refrain from consuming aspartame-sweetened diet drinks, as they have found them linked to grand mal seizures, vertigo, heart disease, and suicidal depression. Aspartame interferes with the production of the calming neurotransmitter serotin. Isn’t it interesting that the sales of Prozac, which encourages the production of serotin, is the top selling anti-depressant?
For further information you may contact the following two organizations:
Mary Nash Stoddard, Founder
P.O. Box 780634
Dallas, TX 75378
(214) 352-4268 E-Mail:
Betty Martini, Founder
P.O. Box 20898
Atlanta, GA 90358
To get on a List Server on the Internet and receive automatic information,
e-mail Betty at
Betty@pd.org and send this message only… “Send me help.”
So at Thanksgiving, make a decision to enjoy the “real thing,” sugar, if you eat those home made desserts and fixings. Love your family enough not to cook with any artificial sweeteners, and stick to fruit, both fresh and dry, juices, maple syrup, or grain malts. YES – they do have calories, as does any normal food, but they will not tamper your brain and fool and confuse your body. They will not put you at risk to any skin diseases, autoimmune or neurological disorders.
Remember -keep it simple – use cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and brown sugar to flavor and sweeten foods. Bake fresh fruit pies and enjoy your family gathering with loved ones. Let’s all give thanks to The Natural Way.
Even as this is re-posted in 2009—the threats of aspertame are still with us. This substance, as well as nutrasweet is a known cause of alzehimers and dementia.It is in all diet sodas! We feed this to our children, and it causes obesity! Nutrasweet was banned off the market by the FDA in the early 70’s ,but was back on the market in the early 90’s. Oh what a little money can do!
Let’s all help to get the word out!