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Is Aspartame bad for me?

  1. May 27, 2006 #1
    I've been reading about High Fructose Corn Syrup in fruit drinks and some people are saying that it can be really bad, like exciting neurons to the point of frying and such.

    Is HFCS really bad for me and if so, how bad?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2006 #2
    I've never heard about the "neuron frying" and it does sound just a tad exaggerated, close to crackpot science for me in my opinion, but I would gladly see the source of this.

    Speaking from a general health point of view, the answer is both yes and no. It all depend on your lifestyle. Fructose is a "simple sugar" or monosaccharide that almost goes directly into your blood stream after you have eaten it. You will reach a peak and your blood sugar levels will drop. You will start to experience symptoms of blood sugar crash. That is the short-term effects.

    The long-term effects from a high sugar diet and little or no exercise includes obesity, diabetes, osteoporos (your bones will easily be damaged) and ultimately, death. That is bad for you.

    If you are healthy and do exercise regularly, I see no objections to not eat it. Of course one shouln't overindulge, but there shouldn't be any harm if you eat it once in a while.

    If there are any bad effects (like the one you are describing) arising from the corn Syrup it is not because of the fructose I would say.
  4. May 28, 2006 #3
    not quite right...fructose is a sugar which actually doesn't cause a very large insulin jump (compared to eg dextrose). you can check it against the GI tables, which seem to be in fashion lately :uhh:

    From what little I know, it's converted to liver glycogen only....so if this has something to do with the insulin response...maybe...ask in the bio forums.

    the point is, is that it is a source of calories with very little actual nutrition...(vitamins/mineral/antioxidants...take your pick)

    I think it binds to certain minerals in the GI tract as well...don't ask me which ones. Leading to deficiency?

    Summary: eat fruit, don't drink packaged juice.
  5. May 28, 2006 #4
    Sorry, I got HFCS confused with aspartame - nutrasweet - which is in diet cokes.

    How bad then is nutrasweet for me??

    Here's link and "neuron excitation" article...


    How Aspartate (and Glutamate) Cause Damage

    Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. 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.

    Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form (unbound to proteins) it significantly raises the blood plasma level of aspartate and glutamate. The excess aspartate and glutamate in the blood plasma shortly after ingesting aspartame or products with free glutamic acid (glutamate precursor) leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain.

    The blood brain barrier (BBB), which normally protects the brain from excess glutamate and aspartate as well as toxins, 1) is not fully developed during childhood, 2) does not fully protect all areas of the brain, 3) is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions, and 4) allows seepage of excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain even when intact.

    The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons. The large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. A few of the many chronic illnesses that have been shown to be contributed to by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include:

    Multiple sclerosis (MS)
    Memory loss
    Hormonal problems
    Hearing loss
    Alzheimer's disease
    Parkinson's disease
    Brain lesions
    Neuroendocrine disorders"
  6. May 29, 2006 #5


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    I have to be skeptical of a guy who appears to be hawking his own version of a diet, and also a guy who seems to list references after his broad statements, but then doesn't appear to list the actual references.

    By the way, the part on that page about methanol is crap. Yes, a small amount of methanol is produced in the metabolism of aspartame, but you ingest far more methanol by eating an orange than you do by eating a serving of aspartame. You don't die from eating an orange.

    I am almost certain that the amount of phenylalanine and aspartic acid you get from a serving of aspartame is nowhere near enough to cause any of these effects he is referring to; they probably only occur when you have a massive excess of these amino acids.

    Oh, and there is no way that AIDS is caused by either of these additives. I call shenanigans.
  7. May 29, 2006 #6


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    We've had discussions on aspartame several times before. Use the search feature to look up aspartame for the previous discussions, and please continue discussion there if your questions are not already answered to avoid redundancy.
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