The Aspartame Story of Deception and Disease

Deeply disturbing is the only way one can describe the numerous reports of ill-health expressed by individuals consuming an artificial sweetener called aspartame. For years now I sincerely believed it was only a matter of time before aspartame in its many forms would be removed from the market but after years of use and thousands upon thousands of horror stories from very sick consumers, aspartame is now being used in more products than ever before.

By way of this article I would like to provide a general understanding of aspartame poisoning (also known as aspartame disease), spurring the reader forward to: (a) research the topic to acquire an even greater understanding; (b) recognize one’s own toxicity if it exists and take action; and/or (b) ravage one’s house and make a bonfire in the backyard with all illicit products found. But please, I beg of you, do not hand over your stash to a dieting relative; homeless shelter; or any other member of your immediate community in need of nourishment. The garbage container is the only place fit to receive this poison.


Aspartame is the most common sweetening additive being used in approximately 6,000 consumer foods, beverages, multivitamins, frozen desserts, cereals, pharmaceutical products, and tabletop sweeteners sold worldwide. If a product is described as “reduced calorie”, “low-calorie”, “reduced sugar”, “light” or “diet” then closely review the ingredients. Consider all of the following ingredients as relating to aspartame and avoid: Equal, NutraSweet, Spoonful, Benevia, NatraTaste, Canderel, Acesulfame-k or Sunette and in the European Union, it is also known under the E number (additive code) E951. In Australia, instead of aspartame, the words “Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylaline” may be used.

Aspartame contains three major components: methanol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid. All three chemicals individually have been shown to either stimulate brain cells to death, disturb hormone balances in the brain, or act as nerve poison. It is most certainly an unnatural and even life threatening substance.

Once aspartame reaches the small intestine, it is then broken down into methanol as a metabolic by-product called diketopiperazine (DKP). DKP produces a compound very similar to N-Nitrosourea, a powerful brain tumer-causing chemical. In addition, the methanol contained in aspartame breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde. Formaldehyde accumulates near DNA and causes serious damage. It has been noted that if a drink containing aspartame is stored at temperatures exceeding 85 degrees for a week or more, there would be no aspartame left in the beverage, just the components it breaks down into, like formaldehyde, formic acid, and DKP. All of these substances are known to be toxic to humans.

On June 27, 1996, the FDA approved aspartame for use in goods which are heated thereby allowing this process to occur even before we consume the product. Perhaps they were thinking why wait until it gets to the intestines to become formaldehyde and DKP. Let’s just get on with the poisoning! I would bet money that no member of the FDA consumes products containing aspartame.

Some of the damage to our health may occur as a result of the rapid breakdown of aspartame causing spikes of phenylalanine and aspartic acid which can upset chemical balances and cross the blood-brain barrier, as well as unnatural spikes in levels of methanol in places the body does not normally encounter it as within metabolic processes, raising concerns as to its safe containment and elimination.
The effects of aspartame poisoning are known to be cumulative. For some it will take months, years, or even decades to show itself by way of neurological damage, others will not be able to tolerate even the smallest amount.

Aspartame is also known to cause birth defects so you can imagine small, developing children are particularly susceptible to its ill effects. You need to make certain that your child is not ingesting this chemical and certainly look into whether or not your child’s school is offering products containing aspartame.


The following symptoms are listed on the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network Fact Sheet:

headaches, nausea, vertigo, insomnia, numbness, blurred vision, blindness and other eye problems, memory loss, slurred speech, depression, personality changes, hyperactivity, stomach disorders, seizures, skin lesions, rashes, anxiety attacks, muscle cramping and joint pain, loss of energy, symptoms mimicking heart attacks, hearing loss and ear ringing, and loss or change of taste.

Aspartame disease mimics or worsens the following conditions and should not be consumed even in the smallest quantity if afflicted:

Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Lupus, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lymphoma, Lyme Disease, Attention Deficit Disorder, Panic Disorder, Depression and other Psychological Disorders. Many reactions are quite serious, including seizures and death.

I personally know one woman who suffered for three years from vertigo, nausea, depression, anxiety attacks and ringing in the ear. She saw every specialist, tried numerous pharmaceutical drugs, even considered a recommended surgery. Her diet was never discussed to see if these symptoms were related to aspartame poisoning. On my advice she tried eliminating aspartame from her diet and the symptoms began to disappear. For three years, she suffered – missing numerous days at work – and yet one small diet change allowed her to regain her life. Giving up aspartame.


The best method to determine if your symptoms are related to aspartame consumption is to remove all aspartame from your diet for one week or longer and see if your symptoms improve. Once you are feeling better, try aspartame again. If you re-acquire symptoms you will have a most compelling reason to never touch the stuff again.

It is amazing to think that numerous symptoms are being misdiagnosed everyday and in turn are being treated with a pharmaceutical drug. Apparently we have one more successful marketing maneuver attributable to this brilliant industry actually responsible for discovering and marketing aspartame and now making a great deal more money on the diseases and conditions it triggers! I sometimes wonder why the pharmaceutical drug industry has not gone into the business of death as well, buying up all the mortuaries across the country to ensure they profit from each one of us, every moment from birth to grave.


By way of background, these are just a few of the events surrounding the discovery and approval of aspartame:

1965 – James M. Schlatter, a chemist in the employ of G.D. Searle & Company synthesized aspartame in the course of producing an anti-ulcer drug candidate. He discovered the sweet taste quite by chance when he accidentally licked his finger contaminated with aspartame.

Fall 1967 – Dr. Harold Waisman, a biochemist at the University of Wisconsin, conducts aspartame safety tests on infant monkeys on behalf of the Searle Company, Monsanto. Of the seven monkeys that were being fed aspartame mixed with milk, one dies and five others have grand mal seizures.

September 30, 1980 – The Public Board of Inquiry concludes NutraSweet should not be approved pending further investigations of brain tumors in animals. The board states it “has not been presented with proof of reasonable certainty that aspartame is safe for use as a food additive.”

January 1981 – Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle, states in a sales meeting that he is going to push to get aspartame approved within the year. Rumsfeld goes as far as to declare he will use his political pull in Washington, rather than scientific means, to make sure it gets approved.

January 21, 1981 – President Ronald Reagan’s transition team, which includes Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of G.D. Searle, hand picks Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. to be the new FDA Commissioner.

July 15, 1981 – In one of his first official acts, Dr. Arthur Hayes Jr., the new FDA commissioner, overrules the Public Board of Inquiry, ignores the recommendations of his own internal FDA team and approves NutraSweet for dry products.

September 1983 – FDA Commissioner Hayes resigns under a cloud of controversy about his taking unauthorized rides aboard a General Foods jet. General Foods is a major customer of NutraSweet. Burson-Marsteller, Searle’s public relation firm which also represented several of NutraSweet’s major users, immediately hires Hayes as senior scientific consultant.

In a 1993 act that can only be described as unconscionable, the FDA approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous food items that would always be heated to above 86°degrees F (30°Degrees C).

February 1994 – the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the listing of adverse reactions reported to the FDA (DHHS 1994). Aspartame accounted for more than 75% of all adverse reactions reported to the FDA’s Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS).

June 27, 1996 – without public notice, the FDA removed all restrictions from aspartame allowing it to be used in everything, including all heated and baked goods.


Aspartame has been the subject of vigorous public controversy regarding its safety and the circumstances surrounding its approval for many years. Several studies have also recommended further investigation into alleged connections between aspartame and diseases such as brain tumors, brain lesions and lymphoma and yet it persists as a food additive.

One would surmise from all accounts – numerous testimonials provided, persistent public outcry, and strong scientific evidence demonstrating the health dangers of aspartame – the FDA is indeed driven by power and greed just as the corporations marketing this poison. For this reason and because of the questionable and unethical way the matter has been handled by the FDA, I do believe corruption is clearly present in this governmental agency sanctioned with guarding our safety.

These findings, combined with notable conflicts of interest in the approval process, have provoked vocal activism regarding the possible risks of aspartame. In fact, in New Mexico they are working on banning the substance altogether. I do believe its days (perhaps years) are numbered but I urge you to not to be a casualty or class action member in the interim.

Copyright 2006 Paula Rothstein

Paula Rothstein has been involved in the natural health industry for over 10 years with a specific emphasis on promoting products and introducing lifestyle changes which address chronic diseases relating to high levels of toxicity.