Sr. Hala Bazzi
9th Grade Science
September 18, 2013 Research paper Aspartame and caffeine can be found in products all over the world, but they are most famous for being in sugar sweeteners and diet sodas. There is much controversy surrounding these two substances, especially aspartame. Aspartame is a low-calorie, intense artificial sweetener. It is a white, odorless powder, approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar and is mainly of 2 amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are found naturally in many foods. In America and Europe, it is authorized to be used as a food additive in foods such as drinks, desserts, sweets, dairy, chewing gums, energy-reducing and weight control products and as a table-top sweetener.
But many studies by numerous well-known universities all around the world suggest that aspartame is toxic and is really harmful to the human body. The Cesar Maltoni Cancer Research Center of the European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences has released several studies which claim that aspartame can increase several malignancies in rodents, concluding that aspartame is a potential carcinogen at normal dietary doses. Other studies show even more proof that aspartame is actually linked with cancer. Aspartame when metabolized can produce Diketopiperazine, a dangerous toxic substance that can cause brain cancer. Methanol, a deadly neurotoxin, is ten percent of all aspartame. Though it is in many other foods, the Methanol in every one of those foods and drinks are usually accompanied by large amounts of ethanol, a kind of antidote for toxicity. Although Methanol is in the food or drink, it isn’t technically toxic unless it is heated above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). This may happen when you store the food improperly or is heated. So if it isn’t technically toxic, why is it so dangerous? Well, when you digest the food, then it heats up inside your body. So, getting seriously ill is inevitable if you digest aspartame regularly. Methanol can also damage the retinas and the optic nerves. Aspartame consumption has been connected to eye pain, blurred vision and, in some cases, blindness. Aspartame is an excitotoxin or a substance that has the potential to damage or kill cells in the nervous system. The blood-brain barrier is a structure that stops harmful substances from penetrating the brain. Aspartame can change the chemistry of the brain. Formaldehyde, a product of methanol, gathers in certain areas of the brain causing degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and ALS. Aspartame consumption can also trigger seizures in both epileptics and other individuals without a history of epilepsy.
The barrier doesn't completely form until a child is one year old, therefore, before a child is born, its nervous system is vulnerable to any dangerous excitotoxins that the mother may consume. Too much exposure to phenylalanine or aspartic acid may cause irreversible brain damage and other serious birth defects. Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, recently published a book thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame. One of the huge topics of the book was the physiological damage that the substance caused. Emotional and mood disorders have been linked to aspartame. Studies suggest that people with certain emotional problems are more sensitive to aspartame. High levels of aspartame cause changes in the serotonin levels which can lead to behavioral problems, depression and other emotional disorders. In some cases, the side effects were so dangerous that doctors were forced to put an end to the studies.
Aspartame may contain fewer calories than sugar;