Aspartame: AKA Fake Food or Poison

Years ago, I remember talking to my friend about healthy eating and how he managed to lose a lot of weight. He said that avoiding junk foods became easier when he stopped seeing junk food as real food. He realized that most junk food is not real food—most of it has been processed so much that it contains little to no nutritional value. Unfortunately, a lot of this “food” contains dangerous chemicals or poison. I would categorize aspartame as poison.

What is aspartame?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener (fake food) with many names.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, also referred to as Acesulfame potassium (K), AminoSweet®, Neotame®, Equal®, NutraSweet®, Blue Zero Calorie Sweetener Packets™, Advantame®, NutraSweet New Pink, Canderel®, Pal Sweet Diet® and AminoSweet®. It’s used in a variety of food and wellness products like diet soda, gum, candy and vitamins.

-Draxe.com

What are some of the possible dangers of aspartame?

Systemic Inflammation

Inflammation is the cause of many diseases. A study suggested that aspartame causes systemic inflammation—even when dosages did not exceed the recommended safety dosages.

Cancer

One study showed that aspartame produced carcinogenic effects in rats and mice.

“Metabolic Derangements”

Evidence suggests that people that consume artificial sweeteners regularly may have an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome. Another study with animals showed that animals were more prone to develop obesity and metabolic syndrome if they had long-term exposure to aspartame in the womb.

Neurobehavioral Effects

In one study, a high-aspartame diet resulted in irritable mood, depression, and a worsened performance on spatial orientation tests. What is disturbing to me is that the dosage of aspartame given to the subjects was well below the maximum recommended daily level. I wonder what would have happened if the subjects were given the maximum recommended daily level.

Early Puberty

In a study done with nine and ten-year old girls, it was found that consumption of aspartame (from artificially sweetened soft drinks) was positively associated with a risk of early puberty. According to draxe.com, “long-term risks of early puberty include breast cancer, HPV, heart disease, diabetes and all-cause mortality.”

Almost Every Health Issue Known to Man

Aspartame interference in these functions may directly or indirectly evoke the development of many adverse symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, tinnitus, memory loss, learning disabilities and joint pain.

-Folia Neuropathologica

What are some natural sweet alternatives to aspartame?

Stevia, honey, coconut sugar, and dates are delicious and healthy in moderation.

I used to be an avid junk food eater that hated cooking and baking. When I started to have health issues, I cut sweet foods and other unhealthy foods out of my diet. Once my health began to improve, I started baking desserts with natural sweeteners. They taste incredible! I know that it is hard to avoid aspartame and other fake foods, but if I can do it, anyone can do it!

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References

Araujo JR, Martel F, Keating E. Exposure to non-nutritive sweeteners during pregnancy and lactation: impact in programming of metabolic diseases in the progeny later in life. Reprod Toxicol. 2014; 49, 196-201. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25263228/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Choudhary AK, Pretorius E. Revisiting the safety of aspartame. Nutr Rev. 2017; 75 (9), 718-730. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28938797/?from_term=aspartame&from_pos=1. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Edwards, Rebekah. Aspartame: 11 Dangers of This All-Too-Common Food Additive. Draxe.com. https://draxe.com/nutrition/aspartame/. Published May 13, 2019. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Lindseth GN, Coolahan SE, Petros TV, et al. Neurobehavioral effects of aspartame consumption. Res Nurs Health. 2014; 37(3): 185-193. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24700203/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Mueller NT, Jacobs DR, MacLehose, RF, et al. Consumption of caffeinated and artificially sweetened soft drinks is associated with risk of early menarche. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015; 102 (3): 648-654. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26178725/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Rycerz K, Jaworska-Adamu JE. Review paper effects of aspartame metabolites on astrocytes and neurons. Folia Neuropathologica. 2013; 51(1): 10-17. https://www.termedia.pl/Review-paper-Effects-of-aspartame-metabolites-on-astrocytes-and-neurons,20,20489,1,1.html. Published March 28, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Soffritti M, Belpoggi F, Manservigi M, et al. Aspartame administered in feed, beginning prenatally through life span, induces cancers of the liver and lung in male Swiss mice. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2010; 53 (12). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajim.20896. Published September 30, 2010. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Swithers, SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013;24(9):431-441. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23850261/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Tasty Superfood Smoothie

I used to make super healthy smoothies for my skin and gut. Unfortunately, these smoothies required a lot of time to prepare and the taste made my kids want to gag. I started making this smoothie a couple of weeks ago. It’s basically a superfood smoothie that tastes delicious—all three of my kids love it!

Tasty Superfood Smoothie

(approximately 2 servings)

1 and 1/4 cup raw yogurt, raw milk, coconut milk, or almond milk

1 cup blueberries

1 teaspoon raw almond butter

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 scoop vegetable supplement mix or 1-2 cups spinach

1 scoop multi-collagen protein (optional)

1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon cacao powder (optional)

Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend for two minutes. Savor the taste and enjoy a pleasant boost in mood and energy!

Raw Yogurt, Raw Milk, Almond Milk, or Coconut Milk

Raw dairy is controversial in the U.S., but did you know that other countries have Raw Milk vending machines? Raw milk—known as the “perfect food”—is packed with nutrients, healthy fat, and probiotics. If you are not a raw dairy fan, coconut milk is helpful for just about everything in your body. Almond milk is a good source of vitamins E, D, and calcium. Almonds provide healthy fat for the heart, brain, and gut. They can also help to regulate blood sugar and can act as a weight loss aid because they make you feel full.

Blueberries

This is another superfood that is beneficial for just about everything in the body, especially the brain, gut, and heart. Blueberries can help fight cancer and they can reduce inflammation.

Chia Seeds

Because chia seeds are high in fiber and omega 3s, the consumption of chia seeds can help regulate bowel movements and can help with inflammation and mood disorders. Chia seeds also contain a lot of protein.

Vegetable Supplement Mix or Spinach

I started making these smoothies because I wanted to find an easy way for my kids to get more vegetables in their diet. Some of the ingredients in my current vegetable supplement mix contain kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, wheat grass, alfalfa, oat grass, barley grass, and goji berries. It’s always best to get nutrients from whole foods, but the vegetable supplement mix helps fill in some of the nutritional gaps in their diet. If you don’t want to use a vegetable supplement, spinach is a good substitute because it has a mild taste that will not make the smoothie taste bitter.

Multi-Collagen Protein

I started using this in 2016 and stopped using it after one container because I didn’t believe that it was helpful for anything. I started using it again this past year. Guess what happened? The dry, hard, thick reptile-like skin on my heels now has a normal appearance and texture! Multi-collagen protein is beneficial for the gut, skin, nails, and joints.

Coconut Sugar

I wish I had known about coconut sugar sooner! Coconut sugar is a good alternative to regular sugar because it is good for the gut. Just keep in mind to consume coconut sugar in moderation. Also, due to the carbohydrate content, coconut sugar is not keto-friendly. If you don’t have coconut sugar but want to add a little more sweetness to your smoothie, you can add a banana, 1-2 dates, or 1 teaspoon of pure, raw honey.

Cacao Powder

Cacao is good for your muscles, gut, heart, and mood. This one is definitely a mood booster for me. The mere smell of cacao powder makes me happy!

What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?

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Apple Cider Vinegar for Amazing Health

Whenever the skin on my hands becomes overly dry and irritated, I can tell that my gut needs a little help. In addition to increasing my water intake, I have started drinking apple cider vinegar again. I drink one tablespoon of Bragg apple cider vinegar—organic, raw, and made with “mother” enzymes”—in one cup of water before breakfast and lunch. Apple Cider Vinegar has many amazing uses—below are three of my favorites!

Bacteria Killer

In the time of Hippocrates and The Old Testament, apple cider vinegar and honey were used to fight infection and to clean skin wounds. According to one clinical study, apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial effects on E-coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans. It can help the body get rid of bad bacteria in the gut. A healthier gut leads to a healthier you!

Diabetes Fighter

Vinegar helps to lower blood glucose in people that have type 2 diabetes or people that are at-risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One study showed that a change in diet and one tablespoon of vinegar twice per day led to a greater decrease in fasting blood glucose than daily rosiglitazone or metformin use.

Weight Loss Helper

In one study, researchers concluded that apple cider vinegar reduced the risk of obesity in rats. In another study that lasted for 12 weeks, obese human subjects that consumed 15 mL or 30 mL of vinegar had significantly lower weight, body mass index, visceral fat, waist circumference, and triglyceride levels than subjects that did not consume vinegar.

Before you decide to consume apple cider vinegar, you might want to consult with your healthcare professional. Also, be sure to dilute it in water and do not overdo it. Over-consumption can lead to stomach upset, erosion of the enamel of your teeth, a decrease in your potassium level, and other unwanted effects.

What do you think of this natural remedy?

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Health Success with Health Supplements

Three pregnancies, almost six years of breastfeeding, and a prolonged lack of self-care contributed to nutritional deficiencies and a decline in my health. I don’t know what I would have done if health supplements didn’t exist. If I did not have them, I would have major fatigue, numbness in my arms, pain in my hands, severe psoriasis all over my skin, major depression, and a very weak immune system. Here are some of my views on health supplements!

The best health supplements come from food-based sources and are from reputable brands.

Why food-based? Unlike synthetic fillers and chemicals, the body knows how to metabolize food. Also, because health supplements are not regulated the way that medications are, it is imperative that you buy from a brand that you can trust. I would rather go without health supplements than buy them from a brand that I know nothing about.

Health supplements are beneficial for optimal health because the conventional food in the U.S. does not provide enough of the vital nutrients that the body needs.

Even if you are a Health Nut that chooses foods packed with nutrients, much of the American soil lacks nutrients that it once had. Much of our food supply has been negatively affected by GMOs, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals. You should try to get all your necessary nutrition from food, but health supplements can help fill your inevitable nutritional gaps.

Health supplements can help prevent health decline and can help your body recover from some serious ailments.

For instance, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with cavities, cancers, autoimmune disorders, neurological disorders, infections, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. This is why I am always asking everyone if they consume enough vitamin D!

I have had so much success with health supplements. Fish oil helped me immensely with my hand pain. B vitamins provide support with my postpartum numbness and psoriasis. My gut is healthier with magnesium, probiotics, and multi-collagen protein.

I recently came across a couple of articles on Pub Med related to certain vitamin deficiencies in people that have epilepsy and Parkinson’s Disease. As time goes on, I believe that there will be even more research that supports that many health issues can be resolved when nutritional deficiencies are corrected.

Reference

Holick, M.F. The vitamin D deficiency pandemic: Approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Rev Endocr Metab Disord 18, 153–165 (2017).

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Does Food Really Matter?

“Maybe if I am more careful about what I put into my body, then my health will improve.” I was having a conversation with a group of people when someone said this to everyone. When she said this, I thought to myself, “Maybe?! Are you kidding me? What you put into your body makes all the difference in the world.”

But then I had to stop myself from thinking too harshly of this mindset. Before 2011, I didn’t really believe that food made much of a difference for my health. I hated cooking and I ate the most convenient, processed Fake Foods.

I have learned a lot since then. I was recently surfing the web and came across the term “Real Food Crusader”— this term was used to describe the Wellness Mama and is now a term that I would use to describe myself.

What is Real Food?

In simple terms, Real Food (as opposed to “Fake Food”) is food that has not been adulterated with manmade chemicals or additives.

Why does Real Food make you healthy?

Your body knows how to use Real Food to build a strong body and it knows how to use Real Food to effectively eliminate toxins from the body.

Your body doesn’t know what to do with Fake Food. If your body can’t efficiently eliminate the Fake Food (which is basically toxic to the body), the Fake Food/toxicity stays in your body, leading to obesity and disease.

What are the benefits of Real Food?

A person with a strong, less toxic body will have a better mood, less weight, glowing skin, and more energy. Real Food can alleviate and eliminate disease.

How do you become a Real Food Crusader?

I know that Real Food can be expensive, so I don’t fault people for buying Fake Food. If it is difficult for you to afford Real Food, start small. Start by swapping one Fake Food for one Real Food. You can also save money by shopping at Thrive Market. Vote smart with your dollars. Hopefully, if more of us support farmers and vendors that provide Real Food, it will become more of an affordable norm!

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