Do you know the history of artificial sweeteners and their use being approved by the FDA? If not, enjoy taking in some fabulous facts that can change your life.
The first artificial sweetener to the market was Saccharine in 1957. It came to the market as Sweet’N Low. After 50 years of studies, the FDA approved it for oral use with a warning on the label that it may cause cancer. A chemist, Constantin Fahlberg, discovered Saccharine in 1879 at Johns Hopkins University by noticing its sweet taste by accident.
Aspartame in Equal and NutriSweet came to the market in 1981 and was discovered by a chemist, Jim Schlatter, in 1965, while working in the lab on a new drug, and he similarly tasted the sweetness of the chemical. The name aspartame comes from “aspartyl-phenylalanine methyl ester." The reason it took the FDA so long to approve aspartame for oral use was due to the many studies pointing to its risk, particularly the ones related to migraines and autoimmune diseases.
There is a known component of aspartame that converts to formaldehyde at body temperature (anything 90 degrees or higher). It wasn’t until Arthur Hull, a new commissioner to the FDA, overruled the scientific review panel’s concern about safety and approved it for oral use after eight years of denying its approval due to health risks. It wasn’t too much later when Arthur Hull went to work for the owner of aspartame, G.D. Searle, for $1,000 a day. Although the FDA urged Congress to prosecute against Searle, it ended up with both lawyers hired by the FDA convincing the FDA not to prosecute. Both lawyers ended up joining Mr. Searle’s law firm. This is but one of the many “Money, politics and the FDA” untold stories.
Then came along the wonderful pesticide, sucralose, which was discovered in 1976 by Shashikant Phadnis. He was a student working for the British sugar company and confused the word “testing” for “tasting.” While at King’s College, he tasted a rather sweet compound and hence comes along another new artificial sweetener. Sucralose as Splenda was first approved for oral use by the FDA in 1998. Many research articles liken Splenda to DDT more than to food as it is made from sugarcane; however, three of the hydroxyl (OH) groups have been replaced with chlorine. This takes out the calories and puts in the poison.
Since research supports the abnormal cellular response to artificial ingredients in the human body (autoimmune diseases like MS and Lupus, cancer, migraines, fatigue, impaired hearing and sight, thyroid issues, enhanced alzheimer’s disease, seizures, fibromyalgia, ADD, menstrual difficulties, weight loss and gain, hypoglycemia, hives, lip and mouth reactions, aggravated allergies, abdominal pain, tachycardia, shortness of breath, anxiety, dizziness with standing, memory loss, restless legs, to name a few), it just doesn’t seem like a good idea to feed your cells something they cannot use as fuel. They only create free radicals or toxins that stress out every cell. Some studies even say that irreversible cell damage occurs with exposure to these artificial ingredients.
Since there are no calorie sweeteners on the market that are natural, not artificial, like stevia and sugar alcohols (Xylitol being my favorite due to its immune system stimulation), I don’t see the need to even have artificial sweeteners on the market. I understand that not everyone likes stevia. To be honest, it took me two years to fall in love with it. I tried the powders first and found them to be bitter, then the drops which were also bitter.
Now I use the liquid stevia that is clear, made by ‘SweetLeaf,’ and it works perfectly for my needs to sweeten a tea or coffee or soften a spicy meal. It is also a nice treat for children to put into club soda to enjoy a “sweet soda” without any chemicals, dyes etc. ‘SweetLeaf’ stevia comes in many flavors, which gives variety to experimentation for children a lot of fun. The sweet taste of stevia comes from the rebaudiosides, which is the glycoside of the plant, originally discovered in 1931 by a French chemist, years after the plant had been used as a sweetener without understanding what made it so. For baking I use xylitoal, the best sugar alcohol.
Truvia is a blend of stevia plus natural sweeteners and eriythritol, a sugar alcohol. It is patented by Cargill, the leading manufacturer of corn syrups. Coca-Cola will be using this as their sweetener instead of corn syrup by 2009.
Pure Via, another blend with stevia as its primary ingredient, is being patented by Whole Earth Sweetener, the makers of Equal. Pepsi is looking to use this ingredient to sweeten their sodas.
The warning about zero calorie sweeteners, including stevia and xylitol, revolves around its ability to short-circuit the insulin spike. What this means is that as soon as your mouth tastes something sweet, a cascade of events occurs in the body to prepare for sugar metabolism. This occurs when you eat anything with a sweet taste.
So when you take in sweet flavors that have no calories, the end result is no insulin needed, although primed. The cellular communication takes an abut and your brain chemicals shift to adjust to the non-boost that it was waiting for. When this end result doesn’t happen, your brain continues to look for that “pick me up,” which is exactly why no-calorie sodas are typically loaded with caffeine – to get that spark.
If you use stevia or xylitol in small quantities, and eat well, this is a nonissue. The other aspect of stevia that has some negative press is that there haven’t been long-term human clinical trials using stevia, although it has been around as a native food for centuries in Brazil and China to treat obesity, heartburn, high blood pressure and lethargy.