Friday, May 20, 2011

aspartame by any other name is still brain poison

Blog post #7 ...

This post is about aspartame, one of the artificial sweeteners on the market here in the US.  I'm writing about aspartame today because my Dad has aspartame poisoning but he doesn't know it ... yet.  He's been consuming aspartame-laden foods and beverages shortly after the sweetener was introduced on the market in 1982.  And before that, his zero-calorie sweetener of choice was the nasty saccharin, which was banned in the late 1970's.  A little later on, I'll share what aspartame poisoning looks like. 

I'm offering this information to help convince you to avoid aspartame. It is my sincerest wish that you remove this from your diet, and especially from your children's diets, and guide your friends and everyone else you know to do the same.  

There are plenty of reasons to avoid aspartame, but I'm focusing on its effects on the brain.  Since many of our children struggle with brain-based issues, like sensory processing disorders, learning differences, ADD/ADHD, etc, we need to look at what could be causing the list of ABC disorders that are plaguing our children.    Today, let's point a finger at aspartame ... 

Aspartame, also known as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful and Equal Measure, may be a sweet replacement for real sugar ... 180 times sweeter, actually ... but it wreaks havoc on just about every system of our body.  

Aspartame can be found in about 6,000 products. 

First, in 'food:'   In addition to the pretty packets of all colors under the sun, you can find this sweetener in a long list of processed foods that tout they're 'sugar-free, no sugar added, diet, calorie-free, or Light.'  Sodas and other carbonated beverages, breath mints, chewing gum, flavored water,  ice cream, sorbet, gelatin, iced teas, cocoa mix, juice drinks, powdered drinks, cookies, ketchup, vegetable drinks, yogurt and a whole lot more. And that's just 'food' products.  

Then, in over-the-counter medicines like cough drops or liquids, other pharmaceuticals and even some vitamins!

What could be so bad about something so sweet? 

According to Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, the neurosurgeon who blew the whistle on the effects of aspartame on the nervous system, aspartame is an excitotoxin. Excitotoxins are amino acids that act as neurotransmitters and are dangerous and addictive compounds that damage the nervous system by killing brain cells.  I repeat ... killing brain cells. 

When brain neurons are exposed to these excitotoxins in too high a dose, they can become very excited and fire their impulses very rapidly until they reach a state of exhaustion.  Sometime later, these neurons suddenly die as if they were 'excited' to death. 

In his book, "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills,"  Dr. Blaylock shares that people enjoy the effect they get from excitotoxins because they produce a slight rush, giving someone the temporary ability to think more clearly and have a quicker reaction time to the world around them. The rush feels good, so people go for more.   

That rush comes at a very high price. 

By the way, the same happens when we eat foods with MSG, another excitotoxin.

Here is the introduction to Dr. Blaylock's book to give you a better look into excitotoxins:

What if someone were to tell you that a chemical added to food could cause brain damage in your children, and that this chemical could effect how your children’s nervous systems formed during development so that in later years they may have learning or emotional difficulties?  What if there was scientific evidence that these chemicals could damage a critical part of the brain known to control hormones so that later in life your child might have endocrine problems?  How you would feel?”

“Suppose evidence was presented to you strongly suggesting that the artificial sweetener in your diet soft drink may cause brain tumors to develop, and that the number of brain tumors reported since the widespread introduction of this artificial sweetener has risen dramatically?  Would that affect your decision to drink these products and especially to allow your children to drink them? What if you could be shown overwhelming evidence that one of the main ingredients in this sweetener (aspartate) could cause the same brain lesions as MSG?  Would that affect your buying decisions?  And finally, what if it could be demonstrated that all of these types of chemicals (called excitotoxins) could possibly aggravate or even precipitate many of the neurodegenerative brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ALS, and Alzheimer’s disease?  Would you be concerned if you knew that these excitotoxin food additives are a particular risk if you have ever had a stroke, brain injury, brain tumor, meningitis or viral encephalitis?”

“I would think that all of us would be more than just concerned to learn that well known powerful brain toxins were being added to our food and drink to boost sales.  We would be especially upset to learn that these additives have no other purpose than to enhance the taste of food and the sweetness of various diet products.”

“You would also be upset to learn that many of these brain lesions in your children are irreversible and can follow a single exposure to a sufficient concentration.  And I would bet that you would be incredulous to learn that the food industry disguises many of these “excitotoxin additives” so that they will not be recognized.  In fact, many foods that are labeled “No MSG” not only contain MSG, but also contain other excitotoxins of equal potency.”

So what can too much exposure to aspartame do to you?  Well, I'll share my Dad's symptoms from the list with you here. But you can find a comprehensive list at the DORWAY website. 

  • anxiety
  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • gout
  • neuropathy
  • numbing of extremities
  • panic attacks
  • Parkinson's
  • psychiatric complaints
  • shooting pains in the lower extremities
  • short term memory loss
  • suicidal tendencies

Our children deserve the best chance for a healthy life we can give them. So, why mess up the only brain they have by giving them this poison?

My friend, Jane Hersey of the Feingold Association has a lot to say about removing artificial sweeteners from our children's diets, and you can read one of her articles here.

If you have an extra 10 minutes, please watch this expose about aspartame and how the FDA approved it for consumer use ... was it for our health?  No, it was a political move. The FDA still asserts that aspartame is safe.  But people who've become ill from it know better. 

Be careful ... aspartame producer Ajinomoto is attempting to rebrand the sweetener as "Amniosweet," by playing with aspartame's chemistry a bit.  Also, Neotame is a new artificial sweetener that's similar to aspartame by may prove even more toxis.  

Go for the real stuff --- pure stevia (Sweetleaf is a favorite), organic raw honey (Really Raw Honey is a favorite) or organic maple syrup.

I recommend folks to steer clear of agave nectar, for reasons that are beyond the scope of this blog post, but here's an article on it:

That's what my "great stuff in ... great stuff out (tm)" philosophy's all about ... 

Until next time, I bid you fare-well. 

Ida Zelaya
sensory street(tm), inc.

(c) 2011 sensory street, inc. all rights reserved.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Follow Your Own Yellow Brick Road - No Warning Labels for Artificially Colored Foods Just Yet

Blog post #6 ...

This post was going to be about artificial sweeteners, but I'll need to save that topic until next time and give you the latest word on the FDA's decision about artificial colors during their recent hearings:

No warning labels will be on food packages at this time, but they agreed on more research.  This sounds like a stalling tactic to me.  If they'd just visit the Feingold Association's website, they'll have all the research they need to support a decision to put warning labels on packages, let alone ban that bad stuff.

Despite the lack of immediate gratification, I believe that these hearings and all the publicity are raising awareness of the negative side effects of these petroleum-based chemicals.  While the FDA calls for more research, families across the country are taking charge of their own health ... and their success stories will support the formal, scientific studies yet to come.

Here is just one of these success stories, as told by Kim - an avid Feingold supporter who saw her child's out-of-sync behavior completely turn around within 2 days of removing the artificial colors from his diet.

Watch Kim's address to the FDA this week:

The Feingold Association is a volunteer-run organization that is funded by membership dollars.  Your membership includes an extensive list of approved foods that you can purchase at most popular stores, and access to an online support forum, and more.

Please consider becoming a Feingold family.  You'll be supporting your family's wellness, and helping the Feingold Association continue to be a leader in education about the effects of artificial ingredients on ourselves and our children.

For more information, visit

Impulsivity, fidgeting, meltdowns, sensitivity to lights and sounds ... common signs of several subtypes of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  Imagine what positive shifts we can make by shifting our children's' diets.  

That's great stuff in .... great stuff out (tm) for ya

Next blog ... artificial sweeteners ... what I have to share isn't for the faint of heart.  

Until next time, I bid you fare-well. 

Ida Zelaya
sensory street(tm), inc.

(c) 2011 sensory street, inc. all rights reserved.