The Aspartame Train - All Aboard?

There's a run-a-way train barreling down the track, and it's been heading in the wrong direction for over 20 years. It's the Aspartame Train, and if you have a ticket, I suggest that you get off at the next stop!

This train runs on money, and there is no fuel shortage here. As a matter of fact, there is so much fuel to drive this train, it is picking up speed and racing faster down the track. Every year or so, more train cars are added, and each car has its own name, a different color, and is "super-sized" for larger and heavier passengers. It's the same train only with fancy bells and whistles added. The Neotame Car and the AminoSweet Car were recently hooked up to the back of this train.

The Aspartame Train carries many passengers, and most of them are overweight, depressed, and apathetic. Many passengers have a lot of baggage, too, and carry onboard a lifetime supply of medications for headaches, mood swings, vertigo, MS, seizures, or diabetes.

Sadly, there's no engineer safely driving this train - he bailed out years ago when the engine started getting too hot.

There are no tickets for the Aspartame Train sold for natural, raw, or unprocessed sugar transport; there are no seats available for stevia, Agave nectar, or any natural sweeteners. There are no tickets sold for the sugar alcohols, Sucanat®, Brown Rice Syrup, Turbinado®, barley malt, date sugar, honey, maple syrup, or molasses.

How do we stop this run-a-way train? Well, the passengers can't stop it, but they can surely find a way to get off before the train flies off the tracks, harming everyone on board.

The thing about this train is that ANYONE can buy a ticket: young and old, the sick and the healthy, male and female, babies and the elderly. And once you step on the train, it can be very hard to get off because this swift train doesn't stop on its own; you have to make it slow down at the closest depot to jump off. Sometimes you can get hurt scrambling off this run-a-way train, but once you are off, you restore good health fairly quickly.

Before going down any road in life's journey, I strongly suggest you carefully select the route you take and the mode of transportation; especially when choosing to allow someone else to drive you there. If you are riding on the Aspartame Train, I advise you to get off ASAP. Avoid ever getting on board with these sweeteners:

  • Sucralose (Splenda®)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal®)
  • Acesulfame-K (Sunett®)
  • Neotame®
  • Alitame®
  • Cyclamate

If you are buying a ticket for the newest Neotame Car, Alitame or AminoSweet Cars, ask for an immediate refund.

The two newest sweeteners that have recently undergone current and pending FDA approval for public transport are neotame and alitame. Cyclamate was pulled off the tracks when it lost its FDA approval in 1970, but is currently up for re-approval. It has been proven to cause cancer, so the Cyclamate Car has not yet been approved for current public access.

A modified version of aspartame, alitame is a white crystalline powder, soluble in water, with a faint odor characteristic of alcohol.

Alitame is a chemical compound that has a manufactured sweetness 2,000 times that of sugar (sucrose). The manufacturer (Pfizer, Inc., one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and the manufacturer of Viagra) claims alitame is very heat stable, so they project it will be used as a high-intensity sweetener in many applications, either alone or in combination with other sweeteners.

Alitame is a concentrated form of sweetener wholly developed in the laboratory. Discovered by Pfizer, alitame (brand name Aclame) is a chemical sweetener formed from the amino acids L-aspartic acid and D-alanine, plus a new substance amine.

What's this new substance amine? Amines are volatile substances. Ammonia is the simplest possible amine. The ammonia molecule has a low boiling point (-33 degrees C), so it forms a common gas at room temperature. Although ammonia is weak, it is corrosive and can cause severe lung damage or death when inhaled in large concentrations.

Solutions of ammonia in water are called aqueous ammonia. (Ten percent solutions of ammonia in water are used as "smelling salts.") Mixing household ammonia and chlorine bleach is exceedingly dangerous and produces a toxic and carcinogenic mixture of chloramines. If you mix the amine in alitame with the chlorine in sucralose, you get a highly toxic compound in a sweetener blend.

If I were on the Federal Railroad Administration, I would consider this train unsafe for public transportation due to toxicity, and I would slap a HAZMAT sticker on the caboose!

Alitame is projected to be used in all products in which chemical sweeteners are presently used:

  • Baked goods
  • Baking mixes
  • Hot and cold beverages
  • Dry beverage mixes
  • Milk products
  • Frozen desserts and mixes
  • Fruit preparations
  • Chewing gums
  • Candies
  • Tabletop sweeteners
  • Toiletries
  • Pharmaceuticals

At 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar, neotame is the most potent sweetener marketed today. Neotame has changed hands from its original patent holder, Monsanto Chemical Company, to The NutraSweet Co., to J. W. Childs Partnership, and now to Pharmacia. Neotame, another modified version of aspartame, contains all the same elements found in aspartame and more: the amino acids L-aspartic acid and L-phenylalanine, plus two organic groups, one known as a methyl ester group and the other as a neohexyl group. Joined together, these components equal 8,000 teaspoons of sugar.

Like aspartame, neotame is a very potent and questionable compound, but it does not have to carry the PKU warning, as aspartame is required by law to do, so its addition to all products goes without warning. I see this as a serious problem for those with PKU, who carry the PKU gene, and are PKU recessive.

The FDA was petitioned in 1997 to approve neotame for use as a tabletop sweetener, and neotame was FDA approved for commercial marketing on July 9, 2002 as a general-use sweetener and flavor enhancer in foods and beverages. In October 2002, neotame was approved for public use in:

  • Chewing gum
  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Refrigerated and non-refrigerated ready-to-drink beverages
  • Frozen desserts and novelties
  • Puddings and fillings
  • Yogurt-type products
  • Baked goods
  • Candies

A number of beverages using neotame have recently been introduced in Australia and New Zealand where neotame received its first approval in August 2001. It is also approved in the People's Republic of China, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico and Costa Rica.

As with aspartame, neotame is also a flavor enhancer. Glenn Corliss, senior food scientist for The NutraSweet Company, stated, "Studies have shown that neotame modifies flavors at nonsweetening levels and that it works well to modify the taste of soy. In addition, it works well in combination with other sweeteners. There are a number of product applications for neotame--liquids, chewing gum--where it extends sweetness and flavor."

Tickets, please?

With ticket sales down and more and more people jumping off this train, yet another sweetener is being added to the Aspartame Train to help boost revenue - AminoSweet.

This caboose is actually the same as the Aspartame Car, just renamed. The schematics on this newest chemical sweetener are not available yet, so a more detailed explanation of how this chemical compound "changes the requirements" for being labeled with the aspartame warning for PKU is not known. Believe me, if the manufacturers of this newest "sweetener" can avoid adding any negative warning labels, they will leave it off the packaging. They can sell many more tickets if people do not know the danger on the tracks ahead.

Aspartame, by law, has to be identified as dangerous for those with PKU or PKU recessive. If the formula for AminoSweet is the same, it is still the generic drug, aspartame. To secure the ultimate safety of all its passengers aboard the Aspartame Train, it seems that the legal labeling requirements for AminoSweet (and neotame, for that matter) should go with the name, whatever it is changed to. If any of these aspartame duplicates maintain the same toxicity to those with PKU, nothing has changed.

It's the same train with the same ole' toxic cars. All aboard?

No thanks, I think I'll walk!

Copyright 2010 Janet Starr Hull All Rights Reserved

Cartoon created by Mimi's Memos. Copyright 2010 Mimi's Memos All Rights Reserved

Posted March 2010 | Permanent Link

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