Tuesday 1 March 2011

Aspartame is legal because... ?


Please read and please vote with your feet...

I had to make the heading of this blog post "aspartame", as the 2 posts that have made me want to write this, have both been about Fruit Shoots: this one by Slummy Mummy which lead to this post at one of my favourite blogs: Inside the Wendy House.  People seem to be happy to be flippant, when they think it's all about a fruit juice.

Ladies it is so much more than that!

Not liking Fruit Shoots isn't the equivalent of Gwyneth Paltrow's famous macrobiotic diets.

Maybe, if you have a read of some or any of what I am about to say, you'll look at aspartame, and fruit "no sugar" / diet drinks a little more closely.

Aspartame in my opinion is not a safe ingredient, and there is plenty of evidence that agrees with me.

If you want a relatively light-hearted read, click here

Because of how thorough that post is, I thought I was going to keep this brief, but I can't help but continue...
I do want to act as both an alarm bell, and a sign-post to the relevant information. Also, I want Mums to realise that those of us who are anti-aspartame are NOT NEUROTIC... thank you!  We do have the occasional take-away, and do consume sugar and fat!

Have a read of this:

After reading the contents of the above link, see that even Wikipedia admits:
"because its breakdown products include phenylalanine, aspartame must be avoided by people with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU)".  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame

Although Wikipedia mentions the word "safe" quite a few times, please note that there is a disclaimer built in: "safe at current levels of consumption".... they know it is not just safe full stop. And there is too much evidence in my opinion to believe that it is safe at all.

Wikipedia does admit: "Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into natural residual components, including aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol,[21] and further breakdown products including formaldehyde[22] and formic acid, accumulation of the latter being suspected as the major cause of injury in methanol poisoning".  

Formaldehyde, delicious!  Sorry, but does not sound tasty to me...

This link: http://www.rense.com/general88/hid.htm says: "In England a business proposition was used to approve it. Parliament had a blowout and the story was published in the Guardian".

As it mentions the Guardian I took a look and found this:

This is particularly interesting:

If you only read one of the Guardian links make sure you read the second one, which talks about an Italian study on rats.

Years ago I received an email, which is what got me anti-aspartame in the first place. That email must have done the rounds as it is copied and pasted here, in a Netmums thread, by a lady called Emma:
http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/products-reviews-505/other-products-468/42830-fruit-shoot-flavoured-water.html  I know it is quite anecdotal by nature, BUT quite often when the big boys won't let research tell the facts, you rely on tales like this...

People pro-aspartame say some of the research against aspartame is not peer-reviewed... then in cases where it IS, they say it is not conclusive (like the Italian study) ... there's always an excuse to pick holes in the research.

My own experience of the headaches aspartame gives me tells me enough, and my Fertility Book told me to give it up when I was trying to conceive, so I did!

Most things in nature look very pretty when magnified... God's creations 'n all that. Not so with Aspartame... have a look at what it looks like!

Europe has banned the use of Aspartame for pregnant and nursing women as well as children. The countries where Aspartame has been banned or never accepted, their Autism rate is only a small fraction of the U.S. rate. Since Aspartame has been approved in 1981, and placed in soft drinks in 1986, the Autism rate has skyrocketed. The Aspartame notes page explains just a few studies on how Aspartame has been linked with brain disorders. ...
.... Supporting this view, Dr. Louis Elsas, Emory Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics, testified in a congressional hearing that aspartame is a teratogen (causes birth defects) and a neurotoxin.

Even though a lot of the threads on netmums are quite old, this story obviously rages on, because as recently as  Wednesday 6th October 2010 Channel 4's ‘Food’ programme looked at lunchboxes and picked Fruit Shoot as being a lunch box baddy.  I'd be inclined to agree.  Britvic has their very own blog and the programme was discussed (and commented on) here.  Please note the interesting typo in the 2nd paragraph which did make me laugh.  And... actually at the beginning of the 3rd paragraph...  There are 2 points to note from this Britvic blog post.  (1) The harmful part of the range (in my opinion) accounts for 88% of sales, so despite the threads on Netmums and Mumsnet, Mums in general are clearly not getting it and are NOT voting with their feets.  Also, the brand themselves admit there that it is only the Fruit Shoot My-5 that complies fully with the Schools Food Regulations – and is the only variant within the range that THEY themselves recommend for school lunchboxes.  What does THAT say about the rest of the range????

It's a sad state of affairs when we want aspartame removed but it still accounts for 88% of their sales.  Basic economics is not working to incentivise them to change the range.
This is where information and the circulation of it is needed...... Get reading and get thinking...

When we were younger and in the garden, Granny would make lemonade and the only ingredients would be freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar and water.  I am NOT scared of sugar.  I am however scared of aspartame, and I don't see the need for it.

I am not a veggie, and I am not particularly slim.  I am not a campaigner or revolutionist, but I do not understand why we are allowing our children to consume this chemical.

Vote with your feet ladies!
I'm back with a post-post edit to add this link which is particularly informative:


  1. Great to see you writing so passionately about this. I try to avoid aspartame but sometimes it slips through the net.

  2. Thankyou for sharing this, I've avoided chemical sweeteners since pregnancy and it scares me that there are so many people who actually think diet versions of drinks that contain these are healthier!

  3. The hubby and I avoid all artificial sweeteners. They taste awful and they make us sick. I'm not afraid of sugar. I used it in moderation and will continue to do so. I was in a store several years back and watched a normal looking lady put 10 (ten) packs of sweetener in a large, large to-go cup of iced tea. She then tasted and added 4 (four) more packets. I have a feeling this wasn't an isolated incident. I shudder to think of what the rest of her diet consisted of.

  4. Qwerty, thanks. I never thought I would write like that on what I feel is "Aaron's" blog, but those fruit shoot blogs really made me want to blog about aspartame. Things wouldn't slip through the net if manufacturers stopped putting it in. It should never have been approved as safe :-(

    Elle & Belle, I am glad you avoid them. Thanks for visiting.

    Susan, thanks for stopping by. Haven't heard from you in ages. Must read your blog more often.

    Liska xx

  5. Wow, a totally different kind of post from you! A really interesting read. I wish I didn't love Diet Coke so much.

  6. I'm a passionate anti-aspartame person as well. It's led to massive fights with my in-laws who just can't accept that such trusted household names like Robinsons would actively promote something known to be harmful.

    In North America giving a child something containing aspartame is looked upon with the same shock as though they have been fed rat poison, so companies like Tropicana and Disney-branded drinks have been among the first in the UK to offer diluted fruit juice drinks free from aspartame.

    Aside from the fact that they actually market the drinks with children in mind, Robinsons packaging is extremely misleading which I find unethical and hugely irresponsible - there is a big green tick against "artificial sweeteners". Ridiculous.

    The reason it's not actually illegal is that while aspartame has been shown to significantly increase the incidence of leukemia and tumours in rats, it has never been SHOWN to cause cancer in humans. Obviously there are too many other environmental and genetic factors affecting human cancers, so we'll probably never see any conclusive research either way.

    The other issue is that the cancer seen in rats was after some fairly large amounts were consumed, and the reality is that most humans would never consume anything near that quantity of aspartame.

    In the end, it's a bit like alcohol. Sure, it's bad, and you REALLY don't want your kids drinking it, and you certainly don't want trusted household names trying to trick you into thinking it's good for you.... but the occasional rum truffle isn't going to do them much harm.

  7. I missed this post Liska...excellent research and passionately written. You know you've turned me don't you! No more Fruit Shoots for us! We still have diet fizzy drinks occasionally but the fact is Fruit Shoot is being unethically promoted and a brand like Robinsons should behave better!xxx

  8. Here here Wendy. Here here!
    Liska xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  9. absolutely fascinating and actually I was totally unaware of this - so thank you so much for enlightening me. Fruit Shoots are sold absolutely everywhere, we had recently started buying them when out for our 3 year old, purely for convenience. He loved them. We tasted them. We changed our mind. We don't but it anymore.

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