Aspartame Poisoning Hoax Debunked
One of the common stories that is floating around the internet and social media is that people are slowly dying of aspartame poisoning. Aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener, is used in small amounts to create a low-sugar alternative that has barely any calories. One of the most common ways that aspartame is consumed is through a diet soda. Drink enough, aspartame critics say, and you’ll poison yourself. You could die.
The only problem is that the entire aspartame poisoning story is a hoax. It’s simply a variation of the many hoaxes that have involved this substance during its decades of existence.
Doesn’t Aspartame Create Methanol?
The goal of a good hoax is to put just enough fact with the fiction to make an idea sound plausible. When the human body digests aspartame, it is true that a small amount of methanol is produced. Other foods that aren’t considered dangerous do the same thing. Drinking a 12 ounce glass of tomato juice will give you 4 times the amount of methanol in your digestive tract than a 12 ounce can of diet soda with aspartame.
A common warning that is offered in the aspartame hoax is that methanol can make your body toxic. Sometimes this thought is taken to such an extreme that claims are made that methanol toxicity is really happening instead of lupus, which is an autoimmune disease. Here’s something to think about. Tomato juice is proven to create 4x the amount of methanol, yet tomato juice is considered healthy. Why is it then that a diet soda with 25% of the methanol considered unhealthy?
It’s Not Just the Methanol… It’s the Formaldehyde
Once questions are brought up about the methanol, the next logical step in this aspartame poisoning hoax is to bring up the fact that methanol can turn into formaldehyde. This does happen. When methanol is digested by the human body, the natural result is the creation of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogenic and is extremely dangerous was exposed to in great quantities. Here’s the issue: if you drink 4 cans of diet soda, you’re getting the same amount of formaldehyde as a byproduct of digestion as someone who drinks one 12 ounce glass of tomato juice.
Formaldehyde has been part of the natural human digestion process for as long as anyone can remember. Even when animals have been exposed to physically impossible levels of aspartame to digest, the results have been the same every single time. There is no poisoning that happens. Some people may have their stomach hurt a bit, but that really is the only thing that happens.
Does Aspartame Cause Multiple Sclerosis?
With a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, it is extremely important to note that nothing is going to be 100% safe for someone. As for the side effects of aspartame, the neurological effects are typically headaches, dizziness, and mood alterations. This happens with 2/3 of the people who say they’ve experienced side effects from taking aspartame, but as the CDC has noted several times, these are also common symptoms that can happen to humans when the environment interacts with the human body as well.
Aspartame does not cause multiple sclerosis. There is no evidence at all to show that aspartame can actually cause any disease. It is physically impossible for the human body to digest enough aspartame, even when taken in high doses, for it to become harmful. The aspartame that exists in excess is simply removed from the body.
What About Those Rats With the Tumors?
There are numerous pictures floating about of rats and mice with giant tumors that are attributed to aspartame. This is claimed to have happened because the aspartame broke down into unwanted compounds that caused the lethal tumors. Aspartame does break down into unwanted compounds at extreme pH levels, but the same is true for most food items. If you’re consuming foods at these high levels of acidity or alkalinity, then you’re going to die anyway.
There is a rare group of people who cannot consume aspartame, but that is because they have a problem with all phenylalanine products. This is because their bodies cannot handle the amino acids that these products produce. They aren’t found in just aspartame, so to blame aspartame for harm to those with PKU, which affects 1 in 15,000 people, is unfounded. Phenylalanine can be found in many different food items – and that includes human breast milk.
You Can’t Cook With Aspartame – Doesn’t That Make It Bad?
Just because you can’t cook with aspartame doesn’t mean that it is actually poisonous. The reason why you can’t cook with this artificial sweetener is that it loses its flavor during the heating cycle. It must be added afterward, so using it as a sugar substitute for cookies or baked goods just isn’t possible. There are a lot of foods that taste bland when you cook with them as well. Just because something becomes flavorless after it is cooked doesn’t mean that it is going to become poisonous.
Almost all of the issues that revolve around aspartame involve theoretical toxicity levels. These theories have been studied for over 20 years and there has been no evidence whatsoever to prove that there is harm in consuming aspartame. The safety testing has been higher with aspartame than any other food additive that is being used today because of all the concerns that surround it. Every time the research comes back to say that it is safe and won’t poison you, even in impossibly high doses.
The bottom line with aspartame is this: if the evidence isn’t going to convince someone that this is all a hoax because they believe the research and studies that support aspartame are the true hoax, then nothing will convince that person. Stick with the facts, form your own opinions, and you’ll see that there is much more fiction in aspartame poisoning than fact and that will debunk this particular hoax.