That swirl made an ad agency millions of dollars, and everyone remembers it.

NutraSweet is a trademarked name for aspartame. Aspartame occurs naturally in the body, but in large quantities it has seriously weird neural effects. On your tongue, it tastes sweet; in your hippocampus, it destroys memories.

Good thing the blood-brain barrier prevents most harmful things you swallow from getting to the brain. Unfortunately, aspartame goes right through it....

The evidence for nutrasweet causing damage to the brain is sketchy at best and certainly not of the quality of good medical trials.

As I also said in Michael J. Fox, Aspartame, and Parkinson's disease, the phenylalanine that aspartame is broken down into in the body is also present, in much higher concentrations in quite a lot of naturally occuring substances ...

I wouldn't worry about these scare tactics to try to convince people regarding the dangers of aspartame ... having said that, I'm not a big fan of "diet" anything myself. It's probably safer to avoid Pepsi and Coca Cola altogether ...

The diet industry was hit hard when saccharin was deemed carcinogenic. Aspartame was the next generation artificial sweetener, and it was pushed through the US Food and Drug Administration very quickly, before many scientists were convinced that there were no long-term side effects. I used to drink diet caffeine-free soda (yeah, I know, why bother), and when I quit I had a headache, similar to one that you get from caffeine withdrawal. There are a lot of questions concerning NutraSweet, enough that I do not allow my kids to consume anything with aspartame in it. Possibly paranoid, but the kids are worth being so.

During a discussion prior to an exam for psychopharmacology while I was at U-M, my professor (who does research in that field) related some information on Aspartame... a colleague of his had done research on the substance and his conclusions were that Aspartame causes perceptible memory impairment in the short term; long-term effects were not a part of the study. Hearsay? Oh yes. But nonetheless, here's a professor in the field of neurology (Tim Scherer) who doesn't drink anything with Aspartame in it EVER - and that's good enough for me (especially since I've never really liked the way it tastes in the first place).

The fact that Monsanto owned Nutrasweet for a while is also not exactly reassuring - Monsanto is currently undergoing (as of 07/06) litigation for PCB dumping, and is not altogether well known for its sterling ethical record.

Don't forget, your friendly neighborhood Monsanto was the inventor and manufacturer of NutraSweet, found in everything ranging from diet coke to chewing gum.

NutraSweet's prime ingredient is aspartame, a known carcinogen and the cause of aspartame disease. This disease has over 92 symptoms, including abdominal pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vision loss, and death. It also mimics the symtoms of MS, and can cause weight gain (ironic, since it is the active ingredient in anything labled "diet" or "low-carb"). It is comprised of 10% methanol, which breaks down into formaldehyde and other compounds when heated above 86° F. Methanol is considered a poison by the EPA. Thus when you accidentally leave your can of C2 in the car on a sunny day, or if you accidentally digest the soda, you are poisoning yourself.

How was anything this horrible approved for human consumption? To answer this question, we look to the approvers: the FDA. Back in the 70's, the FDA repeatedly denied Monsanto's requests to release aspartame to the market because of cancer and siezures showing in lab animals. This went on for eight years until President Ronald Reagan appointed a new FDA commissioner by the name of Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes. Dr. Hayes quickly approved aspartame in 1981, against the decision of his own board of inquiry! Later, he left the FDA for a position at G.D. Searle (a company owned by Monsanto).

Today, Monsanto no longer owns NutraSweet. They auctioned off the company back in 1999, shortly after a mass email from someone named Nancy Markle spread the news of aspartame poisoning. That same year, the FDA commissioner at the time, Dr. Michael Friedman, left and became senior vice president of G.D. Searle for $500,000 a year. Now if that alone doesn't make you sick, go eat some sugarless candy for some aspartame-induced nausea.


Note: I have received a lot of rebuttals to this node, so let me clarify: I am not saying you should stop drinking your diet coke and start a strict regimen of broccoli and water. There are plenty of other things out there that are bad for you and people do them just the same. I smoke cigarettes occasionally, but I appriciate the warning label on the side, reminding me that they are indeed hazardous to your health. I am simply trying to give additional information about the product, since knowing is half the battle, and if you only know one side of the issue, you're fighting a quarter of the battle... or something. I was never good at math.

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