By Dr. Mercola
Two hundred times sweeter than sugar, aspartame allows food manufacturers to produce sweet foods they can market as “low calorie,” “diet,” or sugar-free,” appealing to hundreds of millions of consumers looking to cut sugar from their diets.
No doubt about it, the less sugar you include in your diet, the better. But replacing sugar with aspartame is not the solution, and in fact is likely to be even worse for your health.
Despite assurances from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other public health agencies that aspartame is safe, the research says otherwise…
So What the Heck is Aspartame Made Of?
Virtually all of the marketing material emphasizes the fact that aspartame is natural and made of two amino acids, the building blocks of protein. But, like many deceptions, this is only partially true. While there are two amino acids that comprise 90% of aspartame, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, they are held together in a methyl ester bond that comprises 10% of the molecule.
The methanol is released from the aspartame within hours of consumption after hydrolysis of the methyl group of the dipeptide by chymotrypsin in the small intestine. Once this methyl ester bond is broken it liberates free methyl alcohol or methanol, which is commonly called wood alcohol. The problem with methanol is that it passes into your blood-brain barrier and is converted into formaldehyde, which causes the damage. You may recognize formaldehyde as embalming fluid.