CFIDS and FMS Support Group of DFW

The Truth About Sugar, Aspartame, and Stevia

Sweet Poison: Sugar

We Americans love sugar, but it does not love us. Though a quick source of energy, it negatively affects our health, particularly when not consumed with the cofactors in whole, fresh foods. 

Consuming refined sugar puts strain on body systems, especially the immune system and the pancreas (through increased insulin production). Immune function declines significantly for several hours after just one teaspoon of refined sugar. White blood cells can lose half their ability to destroy foreign particles and microorganisms in the hours after sugar is eaten. 

On average, Americans consume about 150 pounds of refined sugar a year. Given this intake, most Americans have chronically depressed immune systems. Even the consumption of fruit juice impairs immune function. It is important to stay away from sugar, particularly when fighting an illness or infection. 

Dr. Paul Cheney warns that sugar poses additional hazards for those with CFS. Due to defects in the way our bodies utilize sugar, it can produce toxins that cause pain, headaches, and even neuropsychiatric problems. He also warns that it can stimulate the growth of abnormal gut microflora and generate tremendous amounts of harmful free radicals. He strongly recommends avoiding all refined sugars, but if you must eat some, take it with meals - never alone. Consuming regular soft drinks on an empty stomach is particularly harmful.

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Real Poison: Aspartame

Unfortunately, the sugar substitute of choice is aspartame (known as NutraSweetTM or EqualTM). There is increasing evidence that aspartame poses a serious health risk. Eighty-five percent of all complaints to the FDA concern aspartame. Adverse reactions include dizziness, memory loss, headaches, blurred vision, insommia, fatigue, heart palpitations, sugar cravings, and muscle and joint pain. 

Aspartame consists of phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. The first ingredient is an amino acid, but without any balancing neutral amino acids, it can be deadly. In the brain it competes for receptor sites with tryptophan, a serotonin precursor. This leads to reduced serotonin levels in the brains, which can trigger sugar cravings and panic attacks - even rage and violence. 

In high concentrations the second ingredient, aspartic acid, negatively affects the central nervous system. Aspartame penetrates the blood brain barrier, deteriorating the neurons of the brain. It has also been know to cause seizures. 

The third ingredient, methanol, is wood alcohol. It is toxic to the optic nerve and can cause blindness. It may be no accident that retinopathy is so common in diabetic patients. In the presence of heat (such as 98.6 degrees of the body) it can metabolize into formaldehyde and formic acid, both known carcinogens (causes cancer). 

Aspartame toxicity can be misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's, CFS, depression, and other ailments. H.J. Roberts, a world expert on aspartame poisoning authored the book "Defense Against Alzheimer's Disease." 

Sharon Price, a clinical nutitrionist in Bedford working toward her Ph.D. in nutrition, is the source of virtually all of this information on sugar and aspartame. She strongly advises that any products containing EqualTM or NutraSweetTM be thrown away, or better yet returned to the store for a refund and a demand that they carry products without it. 

Japan prohibited the use of chemical sweetners in the 1960's. A grassroots movement here could do the same, because there is a marvelous alternative: a natural herb called stevia.

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Sweet Solution

Stevia has been the sugar substitute of choice in Japan for forty years. It has no calories or chemicals. The leaf is 15 times sweeter than sugar and pure extract is about 300 times sweeter. It will not promote fungal growth or affect blood sugar levels. 

Why isn't stevia used a commercial sweetener? Greed, corruption and politics. The sugar and artificial sweetener industries have fought successfully to keep the FDA from approving it as a food additive. (It is available in health stores or online as a "supplement".) In the spring of 1997, a report aired on "60 minutes" outlining how the manufacturers of aspartame bought influence with the FDA to get their product approved. 

One university analyzed 164 aspartame studies. Of the 90 studies not funded by the aspartame industry, 83 of them (92%) found problems. Of the seven studies that found it to be safe, six were conducted by the FDA. Interestingly, several FDA officials involved in the studies went to work in the aspartame industry soon after it was approved as a sweetener. 

Stevia information, products, cookbooks and even a petition are available online. Websites include but are not limited to:
http://www.stevia.net/ ; mothernature.com, 1-800-517-9020; wisdomherbs.com 1-800-899-9908, and cookingwithstevia.com

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