This sweetener gained FDA approval in 1981, despite appalling evidence linking it to cancer, particularly, brain cancer
Aspartame, first sold under the brand name NutraSweet; is also sold under the brand name AminoSweet, was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist for G.D. Searle & Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug. It is the most common sweetening additive being used in over 6,000 consumer foods, beverages, multivitamins, frozen desserts, cereals, pharmaceutical products, and artificial sweeteners sold worldwide. Aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal) is believed to be carcinogenic.
Donald Rumsfeld the chief executive officer of worldwide pharmaceutical giant G.D. Searle & Company (later bought out by Monsanto) played a key role in pushing the approval of Aspartame through the FDA.
In 1981, after over 15 years of continual FDA disapproval of Aspartame, Rumsfeld stated in a Searle sales meeting that he would use "political rather than scientific means" to get the FDA to approval of the sweetener. Aspartame was finally approved shortly after the beginning of the Reagan administration despite the huge objections of some in the scientific community.
Aspartame is much worse for you than sugar. Out of 90 independently-funded studies on Aspartame, 83 of them found that the artificial sweetener causes one or more serious health problems.
The above information is from http://organichealthadviser.com/archives/aspartame-dangers
Chemical Composition of Aspartame:
Aspartame consists of two amino acids, Aspartic Acid (approximately 40% by weight) and Phenylalanine (approximately 50%) combined with a methyl ester (approximately 10%)1, it's chemical formula is C14H18N2O5 , it's chemical name is aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester. The amino acids in Aspartame consist of "L" isomers, that is, the "L" isomer of phenylalanine and the "L" isomer of aspartic acid, when these "L" isomers are combined they create a sweet taste (isomers are molecules that have the same molecular formula but differing formula, the "L" denominates the particular formula).
When ingested, Aspartame breaks back down into these component amino acids and Methanol (commonly known as wood alcohol). Methanol then breaks down further into first Formaldehyde (an embalming agent) and then Formic Acid (commonly found in the Venom of Bees and Ants). A further residual by product, Aspartylphenylalanine Diketopiperazine (DKP), is also produced. Each of these components has its own controversies. The above information is from http://supersweetblog.wordpress.com/aspartame/
Diet soda isn't the only source of Aspartame, the sweetener is in thousands of products, ranging from yogurt to over-the-counter medicines. List of these products are updated at http://supersweetblog.wordpress.com/list-of-products-containing-aspartame/
Buyer Beware - Read the Labels
Filmmaker's Cori Brackett and J.T. Waldron explore the issue of Aspartame toxicity in this documentary posted on YouTube.
Sweet Misery A Poisoned World is a close examination into what many in the medical community have voiced over the last few decades on the safety of Aspartame sweetener. Is there a connection with Aspartame and illnesses? Did the government (including Donald Rumsfeld) push the approval of the sweetener and suppress key data? This film delves into the FDA's process and the various reports of health risks associated with the widely used sweetener.
How Aspartame Became LegalFrom Norfolk Genetic Information Network (Taken from Welcome to the Spin Machine by Michael Manville http://www.freezerbox.com/archive/2001/04/biotech/ http://www.freezerbox.com/ )
In 1985 Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to Aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame's clouded past, including a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it "might induce brain tumors."
The FDA had actually banned Aspartame based on this finding, only to have Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld (currently the Secretary of Defense) vow to "call in his markers," to get it approved.
On January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan's inauguration, Searle re-applied to the FDA for approval to use Aspartame in food sweetener, and Reagan's new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry's decision.
It soon became clear that the panel would uphold the ban by a 3-2 decision, but Hull then installed a sixth member on the commission, and the vote became deadlocked. He then personally broke the tie in aspartame's favor. Hull later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, served briefly as Provost at New York Medical College, and then took a position with Burston-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and GD Searle. Since that time he has never spoken publicly about Aspartame.
The above taken from the Website http://www.rense.com/general33/legal.htm