What is Stevia?
What is Aspartame?
Freedom of choice and the decision of the European Community
Introduction to Stevia Rebaudiana
Stevia is a small perennial bush like plant in the chrysanthemum family and is native to Paraguay.
This plant has an extraordinary sweetness. In it's natural form of dried leaves, it is about 10 to 15 times more sweet than white sugar. In the more common form of a white powder extract from the leaves, it reaches a sweetening power of 70 to 400 times that of sugar.
That means it is the most potent natural sweetener known to exist. Personally until recently I did not even know of it's existence and in any case I never saw this plant used as an ingredient in any product on the market today. Why would that be?
The following are the main characteristics of this plant:
Stevia is also known for it's medicinal proprieties and has been used by the Indians for curative purposes for hundreds of years.
The following are the possible medicinal uses: diabetes, obesity, hyperactivity, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, indigestion, candida. It may also be used as a healthy tonic for the skin, it inhibits craving for carbohydrates and lessens the need for tabacco and alcohol.
Introduction to Aspartame
Aspartame sugar substitutes cause worrying symptoms from memory loss to brain tumours. Despite US FDA approval as a "safe" food additive, aspartame is one of the most dangerous substances ever to be foisted upon an unsuspecting public.
Aspartame was discovered by accident in 1965, when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company was testing an anti ulcer drug. Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries.
Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods. Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of adverse reactions reported. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death as disclosed in a February 1994 Department of Health and Human Services report. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include:
Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: Aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James and Phyllis Balch, lists aspartame under the category of "chemical poison." As you shall see, that is exactly what it is.
ASPARTIC ACID (40% OF ASPARTAME)
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 (with almost 500 scientific references to show how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms). Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmittion of information from neuron to neuron. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as "excitotoxins." They "excite" or stimulate the neural cells to death.
The risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and persons with certain chronic health problems from excitotoxins are great.
The exact mechanism of acute reactions to excess free glutamate and aspartate is currently being debated. As reported to the FDA, those reactions include:
Headaches/migraines, nausea, abdominal pains, fatigue (blocks sufficient glucose entry into brain), sleep problems, vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, and asthma/chest tightness.
PHENYLALANINE (50% OF ASPARTAME)
Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Persons with the genetic disorder, phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine. This leads to dangerously high levels of phenylalanine in the brain (sometimes lethal). It has been shown that ingesting aspartame, especially along with carbohydrates, can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the brain even in persons who do not have PKU.
It was shown that high blood phenylalanine can be concentrated in parts of the brain, and is especially dangerous for infants and fetuses.
Symptoms start out as memory loss and frequent headaches and needing more aspartame-sweetened drinks.
METHANOL (AKA WOOD ALCOHOL/POISON) (10% OF ASPARTAME)
Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. Some people may remember methanol as the poison that has caused some "skid row" alcoholics to end up blind or dead.
Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin.
Symptoms from methanol poisoning include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis. The most well known problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage, and blindness.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is actually recommending this chemical poison to persons with diabetes! According to research conducted by H.J. Roberts, a diabetes specialist, a member of the ADA, and an authority on artificial sweetners, aspartame:
1) leads to the precipitation of clinical diabetes,
2) causes poorer diabetic control in diabetics on insulin or oral drugs,
3) leads to the aggravation of diabetic complications such as retinopathy, cataracts, neuropathy and gastroparesis,
4) causes convulsions.
Freedom of Choice violated again
On 22 February 2000, the European Commission, in accordance with an opinion of the "Scientific Committee for Foods" (SCF), has published a decision stating that Stevia Rebaudiana (the plant and a dry extract) may not be introduced into the common market as a sweetener or as a food ingredient.
We are asking ourselves if those who take decisions of this kind realize that they are invading the field of freedom of choice of the consumer when they prohibit the sale and the use of this or that substance, favouring at the same time a choice that has already been shown to be dangerous to our health. If we add to this consideration the studies and the research of medical doctors and scientists which put in evidence the malfeasance of some organizations, the picture becomes complete.
Maybe Stevia has been banned because it is a plant which grows spontaneously, it is not patentable and therefore one can not make big business with it? Aspartame must seem like a good alternative to some, seeing the patent and all the side effects. Maybe the sales of Prozac, the medication of choice for depression and schizophrenia (see the above paragraph on phenilalanine causing a lowering of serotonin levels!) and of heart medicines are so profitable that it would be a shame to lessen demand for them?
Maybe we don't have enough sufferers of cancer and other illnesses?
Well, the sick seem to be an excellent business and anyway, they say, we're already too many on this poor planet!