Study: Aspartame Doubles Risk of Rapid Kidney Decline
Is aspartame a toxic chemical? Many people are already aware of their stance on this sweetener, but for those who aren't sure, consider this new study on aspartame.
A recent study released by the scientists of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston revealed some of the effects of artificial sweeteners on the body. The study involved more than 3,000 women and indicated that those who drank two or more artificially sweetened beverages a day doubled their risk of more-rapid-than-normal kidney function decline. The study took into account other risk factors including the woman's age, blood pressure, if she smoked and any pre-existing conditions like diabetes or heart disease.
The 11 year study analyzed the effects of all sweetened drinks on progressive kidney decline, and found that consumption of two or more diet drinks a day led to a two-fold increase in rapid kidney decline incidences. High sodium intake was also found to promote progressive kidney decline in this study. Diet sodas contain higher than normal amounts of sodium than sugar soda, so it is not surprising that diet sodas were the bigger offender in this study.
It was unclear in this study which played a larger role in progressive kidney decline: artificial sweeteners or the high sodium content, but both are harmful. The study results did not show any correlation between sugar or corn syrup sweetened drinks and kidney problems, but don't celebrate yet. These ingredients are believed to be a cause of diabetes and contribute to the obesity epidemic, so shouldn't be considered safe because they didn't perform poorly in this study's focus.
The artificial sweetener aspartame was first released in the 1970s under the name "NutraSweet" and was approved by the FDA for use in certain food products. After a doctor called attention to the fact that aspartic acid, a primary ingredient in aspartame, was eating holes in the brains of tiny mice, investigations ensued. The company who produced aspartame, Searle and Co., managed to evade the FDA through a series of falsified claims, compromised study results and missing information for years. The FDA attempted to bring the company up on charges, but the case floundered over time.
Aspartame is still used in beverages and food products, despite investigations revealing that it has caused brain tumors, seizures, brain holes, and death in many of the studies. Aspartame is not the only villain in the artificial sweetener ring. Sucralose is the latest in artificial sweeteners and is marketed as being "made from sugar", but has not been tested long term on humans.
In 2008, the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health revealed that it alters gut microflora and inhibits the assimilation of dietary nutrients. Truly natural and safe alternatives to sugar and chemical sweeteners do exist, they just aren't as profitable as chemically engineered sweeteners are. One example is stevia, a sweet herb from South America that is up to 300 times sweeter than cane sugar. The FDA staunchly refused to allow stevia on the "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) list until last year, claiming inadequate safety research (while simultaneously ignoring tens of thousands of customer complaints about the safety of aspartame).
When Coco-Cola and Pepsi discovered stevia, and patented part of the plant, only then was stevia considered safe to use as a sweetener, and is now available on grocery store shelves across the country. Regardless of what the FDA or corporations say, your health should not be subject to political motives. Just listen to your body - do you feel better when you avoid chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose? Remember, when you need a little sweet in your life, just reach for stevia or honey, and avoid the harmful toxins.