European Research Shows
Sweetener in Diet Soda & Beverages is Toxic

Back to the Aspartame (NutraSweet) Toxicity Information Center

Recent research from Spain has shown that the sweetener, aspartame/NutraSweet, sometimes found in diet soda brands, Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi One, Crystal Light, and other diet products metabolizes into a highly toxic chemical, formaldehyde. Researchers fed animals relatively low doses of aspartame. The aspartame ingestion caused formaldehyde to accumulate in key organs and tissues of the animals. This research adds to the already substantial body of independent research demonstrating the toxicity of aspartame including:

  1. Formaldehyde Exposure. The formaldehyde exposure from aspartame is significant. Aspartame breaks down into methanol, amino acids and several other chemicals. The methanol is quickly absorbed and converted into formaldehyde. The methanol found in foods and alcoholic beverages is also absorbed, but there are "protective chemicals in these traditionally-ingested foods and beverages that prevent the conversion of methanol to formaldehyde.

    Formaldehyde is known to cause gradual damage to the nervous system, the immune system and has recently been shown to cause irreversible genetic damage at long-term, low-level exposure.

    The most recent, independent research shows that the situation related to aspartame may be more serious than simply regular formaldehyde exposure. This research on animals demonstrates that the formaldehyde appears to accumulate as adducts (bound to protein molecules) in the organs and tissues of the animals (when aspartame is ingested at relatively low doses):

      "These are indeed extremely high levels for adducts of formaldehyde, a substance responsible for chronic deleterious effects that has also been considered carcinogenic.
      "It is concluded that aspartame consumption may constitute a hazard because of its contribution to the formation of formaldehyde adducts."
      [Life Sciences (scientific journal), Vol. 63, No. 5, pp. 337+, 1998]

      "It was a very interesting paper, that demonstrates that formaldehyde formation from aspartame ingestion is very common and does indeed accumulate within the cell, reacting with cellular proteins (mostly enzymes) and DNA (both mitochondrial and nuclear). The fact that it accumulates with each dose, indicates grave consequences among those who consume diet drinks and foodstuffs on a daily basis." Russell Blaylock, MD [Neurosurgeon and Neuroscientist]

      "...following aspartame ingestion, methanol or formaldehyde is distributed all over the place. Even more striking is the fact that formaldehyde accumulates. That's scary." [Neuroscience Researcher]

    The damage caused by formaldehyde from aspartame may be worsened by other aspartame breakdown chemicals, especially the aspartic acid. In animal research where formaldehyde is given to the animals to cause damage and pain, amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid are given at the same time to worsen the reaction. The amino acids from aspartame are absorbed suddenly unlike the protein-bound amino acids found in food.

  2. Independent research finds problems with aspartame. An analysis of peer reviewed medical literature using MEDLINE and other databases was conducted by Ralph G. Walton, MD, Chairman, The Center for Behavioral Medicine, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Dr. Walton analyzed 164 studies which were felt to have relevance to human safety questions. Of the 90 non-industry-sponsored (independent) studies, 83 (92%) identified one or more problems with aspartame. Of the 74 aspartame industry-sponsored studies, all 74 (100%) claimed that no problems were found with aspartame.

  3. Extremely large number of reported toxicity reactions to aspartame. As of 1995 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was quoted as saying they stopped accepting adverse reaction reports on aspartame, over 75% of the adverse reactions reported to the FDA Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) were due to aspartame. Afte considering the fact that an extremely low percentage of adverse reactions are reported to the FDA, it becomes clear that there are millions of known cases of aspartame toxicity reactions and possibly many other cases where the person ingesting aspartame is either 1) unaware that their symptoms are caused or contributed to by aspartame; or 2) not yet experiencing clinically-obvious symptoms from the breakdown products of aspartame, but may eventually experience chronic health problems from the regular exposure to significant doses of formaldehyde.

    Some of the many aspartame toxicity symptoms reported include seizures, headaches, memory loss, tremors, convulsions, vision loss, nausea, dizziness, conufsion, depression, irritability, anxiety attacks, personality changes, heart palpitationns, chest pains, skin diseases, loss of blood sugar control, arthritic symptoms, weight gain (in some cases), fluid retention, excessive thirst or urination. The most significant internal damage appears to be cause by diet brands with larger amounts of aspartame (e.g., Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Crystal Light, Pepsi One). Clearly, regular exposure to a toxic substance such as formaldehyde may worsen, or in some cases contribute to the development of chronic diseases.
    A very large number of physicians and other healthcare practitioners are reading the heavily-referenced scientific information available on the Internet such as the Scientific FAQs, the Online Case Histories, the Detox Document and are warning their patients to avoid this sweetener at all costs. Manufacturer public relations and statements from organizations funded by the manufacturer (Monsanto) is doing little to stop people from switching to natural and time-tested sweeteners like stevia, evaporate cane juice, etc..

    Keywords: aspartame, nutrasweet, diet drinks, crystal light, diet coke, diet pepsi, pepsi one, diet soda