Aspartame Chain Email

November 7, 2008 at 8:03 pm (Nutritionism) ()

Here it is: “sweet poison” [PDF].

Some highlights: “When she got to Florida March 22, all she had to take was one pill, and that was a pill for the Aspartame poisoning!”; “These products also contain formaldehyde”; “Aspartame drives the bloodsugar out of control. Thus diabetics may suffer acute memory loss due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are NEUROTOXIC when taken without the other amino acids necessary for a good balance”; “Especially with diabetics, the Aspartame passes the blood/brain barrier and it then deteriorates the neurons of the brain; causing various levels of brain damage, seizures, depression, manic depression, panic attacks, uncontrollable anger and rage. Consumption of Aspartame causes these same symptoms in non-diabetics as well”; “It is also suspected that the Aspartame in thousands of pallets of diet Coke and diet Pepsi consumed by men and women fighting in the Gulf War, may be partially to blame for the well-known Gulf War Syndrome”. Just for fun, see how many errors you can spot.

Now, in 2002 the Scientific Committe on Food released a report into aspartame. This report found no reason to change the guidelines on aspartame. PDF.

Funnily enough, Dr Briffa is also anti-aspartame, as I’ve mentioned before, and he seems to think it’s the methanol that is the harmful component of aspartame. A bit odd, perhaps that Dr Briffa doesn’t blog about the dangers of apple juice then, which has been reported to contain up to 88mg per litre. Also, according to the Australian Skeptics group, “Volume for volume, tomato juice produces six times more methanol than does diet cola” and I haven’t seen Briffa rail against the iniquities of tomato juice yet. Aussie Skeptics.



  1. draust said,

    Yes, the Briff-ster considers himself something of an expert on aspartame. You can see this in action over at the British Medical Journal electronic archive here .

    It is pretty much a given that any article saying the fuss about aspartame is a non-story (the original BMJ editorial saying this is here) is pretty much guaranteed to provoke a flurry of protests and conspiracy theories from what one doctor on the BMJ responses rather politely describes as “excitable nutritionists”. There are, of course, many less polite descriptions that spring to mind.

  2. dvnutrix said,

    Meh, our bodies naturally produce formaldehyde as a metabolite. This is always one of those things that sounds scary until the numbers are given.

  3. jdc325 said,

    “Meh, our bodies naturally produce formaldehyde as a metabolite. This is always one of those things that sounds scary until the numbers are given.”
    Yeah, the rule is when you’re talking about a genotoxin make sure you don’t let on that it is produced in tiny, harmless amounts.
    The really weird thing is that, as far as I can tell, aspartame actually contains no formaldehyde. It supplies tiny amounts of methanol which can then be converted to formaldehyde – but these tiny amounts are less than can be found in natural, healthy products like tomato or apple juice. If tomato juice had a chemically, unfamiliar name someone would by now surely have claimed that it caused symptoms x, y and z due to its methanol content. Presumably the letter writer thought formaldehyde more scary than methanol?

    EDIT: Weird – this post is showing as having “no comments” and doesn’t appear in my list of recent posts.
    EDIT2: Ah, it’s OK in Firefox. IE must be having a hissy fit.

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