carol schneiderMOTHER Nature's Remedies

By Carol Schneider

Mainstream America has known for ages that too much sugar causes obesity, diabetes and dental caries—and has more recently connected sugar with metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer’s. Fewer of us are aware of the spectrum of chronic conditions caused by dietary sugar’s highly acidic nature.

As the dangers of sugar use unfold, there has been an increase in the production and consumption of artificial sugar substitutes, four of which, though currently FDA-approved, are not safe to consume: Saccharin (pink packet) aka Sweet ‘n Low; Sucralose (yellow packet) aka Splenda; Aspartame (blue packet) aka Equal or Nutrasweet; and AcesulfameK aka Sweet One. Research scientist, Dr. Betty Martini, calls these “the little packets of rat poison that nestle in neat containers on every restaurant table.”

There has been an ongoing massive cover-up of the dangers of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to pub- lic health, lasting over thirty years—involving the FDA, CDC, Searle, Monsanto, Coca Cola, Ronald Reagan, countless scientists, doctors, researchers and investigators. It has continued, generally kept under the radar, into the present, regardless of the suffering these products have caused. (The entire story can be found by googling The Aspartame Epidemic.)

In September, 2014, a study published in the journal, Nature, shed some light on how these artificial sweeteners wreak havoc in the body, and presents evidence that artificial sweeteners can cause the very same conditions as sugar, doing so by breaking down into toxic chemicals that disrupt the balance of microbes living in the intestinal tract.

“Aspartame is by far the most dangerous substance add- ed to food today,” says osteopathic physician and nutritionist, Dr. Joseph Mercola. It can be found in products consumed by 70% of the population.

Aspartame is neurotoxic, composed of phenylalanine (an amino acid, which ordinarily assists in the natural creation of neurotransmitters) aspartic acid and methanol. All are components of the foods we eat. In Aspartame, however, when the food or soda reaches 83 degrees F, the methanol, usually bound by pectin which allows it to travel through the body harmlessly, breaks down into carcinogenic components, including formaldehyde, which travel through the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in brain cells.

This isn’t the first study implicating artificial sugar substitutes with metabolic issues. Research at Purdue University found saccharin consumption led to weight gain in mice by interfering with their ability to control their appetites, and other effects which disrupted the endocrine system, leading to insulin resistance and worse.

In 1992, the US Air Force warned pilots to avoid products containing aspartame, as it caused seizures, vertigo, dizziness, sudden memory loss and gradual loss of vision. Among Dr. H.J. Roberts’ patients, 1,300 presented with aspartame-related illness: diagnosed as hyperthyroidism, dyspnea, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, memory loss, multiple sclerosis and grand mal seizures. When they stopped using aspartame products, their conditions reversed. Unfortunately doctors (and patients) are not aware of the existence of this “aspartame disease.” If physicians obtained food diaries from their patients, it might offer some direction.

There were ninety-two FDA documented symptoms originally reported in early studies, resulting from aspartame poisoning. Some are: headaches/migraines, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, loss of taste, tinnitus, joint pain, breathing difficulties, tachycardia, heart palpitations, hearing loss and slurred speech. Chronic illnesses from ingesting aspartame include brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and epilepsy.

Finally, research has begun working in earnest on the connection between artificial sweeteners and diabetes (and hopefully other diseases) as well as possible connections to intestinal ecology. New information coming from the Nature study demonstrates that several artificial sweeteners alter our gut bacteria, and this disruption may be directly responsible for glucose intolerance. The NIH is presently doing long term studies as well. Hippocrates said, "All disease begins in the gut." Indeed, eighty percent of the immune system is located there. Edgar Cayce, the Father of Holistic Healing, also stressed the importance of colon care for general health.

We can strengthen our immune systems by using probiotic supplements and eating foods that provide the right intestinal flora, like sauerkraut, yogurt, miso, tempeh and other fermented foods. These can help prevent dysbiosis in our own bodies. Cayce recommended colonics several times a year for continuing good health.

Are there better sweetening options? We must try to eat only real, unprocessed foods...and always read labels. If you choose sweeteners like beneficial stevia (no calories), make certain it is pure and organic. It must be called “stevia,” as some so-called stevia products like Truvia, contain glucose which may come from GMO corn.

Purevia (like Truvia, made by Coca Cola) is an extract with limited studies.
Be aware that fructose or “high fructose corn syrup” (HFSC), found in 80% of processed foods, is usually GMO if not labeled. Do not use this. It causes metabolic syndrome, diabetes and fatty liver disease.

Xylitol, a low calorie, natural sugar alcohol, was originally derived from natural birch bark. If you use it, be sure it is organic/non-GMO. Xylitol blocks harmful bacteria by alkalizing mouth and respiratory membranes, reducing upper and lower respiratory infections, ear infections and dental caries.

Honey sold in the plastic bear container is highly processed and often the bees are fed sugar. However, Raw,unprocessed organic honey used in moderation can have enormous health benefits. Mānuka honey (made by bees that feed from flowers of the Mānuka bush, native to New Zealand) is particularly antibacterial and considered a natural remedy against upper respiratory conditions when used in tea with lemon.

Information from “Take Charge of Your Health,” program on WBAI-Radio 99.5fm, Mercola.com, Life Extension Magazine and Alternet

Honey image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Published in The Open Door, January-March 2015 issue

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