Tuesday’s Q&A – 7/1/14

Tuesday's Q&A in Lafayette LA - 7/1/14

Chiropractic Lafayette LA Chemicals

This week's topic is… ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER. A lot of patients at Modern Chiropractic in Lafayette LA have been assuming that since cutting out sugar and replacing it with Splenda, Equal, Sweet & Low, etc., that they are making a healthier choice. Unfortunately this is because most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States still recommend no- or low-calorie artificial sweeteners as an acceptable alternative to sugar. This is faulty advice.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, MD, states that artificial sweeteners of all kinds have been found to wreak havoc with your health in a number of different ways. Aspartame, which is perhaps the worst of the bunch, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful effects, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery.

Most recently, studies are also starting to confirm lingering suspicions that artificial sweeteners like aspartame may play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease - a serious form of dementia that is now thought to kill over half a million Americans each year. The key mechanism of harm appears to be methanol toxicity-a much-ignored problem associated with aspartame in particular.

Methanol Toxicity - the by-product of Aspartame

The artificial sweetener industry (and makers of artificially sweetened products) has made claims over and over that aspartame is harmless, and that there's "no biological explanation" for the health problems reported by so many after consuming aspartame.

But as explained by Dr. Mercola, there is indeed a biological and scientific explanation for aspartame's pathway of harm, and as the latest research suggests, it's related to the effects of methanol and formaldehyde (produced in the body when you eat aspartame), both of which are extremely toxic.

Were you aware that Processed Foods are also high in Methanol?

As Dr. Mercola discusses on numerous accounts, processed foods should be avoided as a proactive Alzheimer's prevention strategy. In his book, Grain Brain, neurologist Dr. Perlmutter reveals how the toxic activity of sugar and carbohydrates in your diet promote Alzheimer's disease. But we can also add methanol to the list of reasons for avoiding processed foods. Not only do many processed foods contain artificial sweeteners, but when fruits and vegetables are canned, for example, the methanol becomes liberated. At room temperature, it only takes one month for 10 percent of the methanol to be released. After about six months, virtually the entire methanol is liberated. Dr. Perlmutter is convinced that methanol and the subsequent conversion to formaldehyde from certain processed foods (see listing below), as well as all foods containing aspartame, are a major culprit in a variety of diseases, especially multiple sclerosis (MS).

Again, methanol can slip through your blood brain barrier, and your brain is one of the areas where you find alcohol dehydrogenase, which converts methyl alcohol to formaldehyde. This causes the destruction of myelin basic protein, which is one of the triggers for MS. Demyelination also plays a role in the development of Alzheimer's and several other brain-related diseases. According to Dr. Perlmutter:

"We know that methyl alcohol is known to be a demyelinating agent… [T]he symptoms associated with the demyelination… are identical between multiple sclerosis, and methanol poisoning, and people who consume aspartame."

He believes many diseases can be prevented if we start avoiding methanol from all sources, and he even offers a methanol-free diet on his website. Items to avoid include:

  • Cigarettes
  • Tomato sauces, unless first simmered at least 3 hours, no lid on pan
  • Diet foods and drinks with aspartame
  • Smoked food of any kind, particularly fish and meat
  • Fruit and vegetable products and their juices in bottles, cans, or pouches
  • Chewing gum, as most chewing gum in the USA contains aspartame
  • Jellies, jams, and marmalades not made fresh and kept refrigerated
  • Slivovitz and other fruit schnapps
  • Black currant and tomato juice products, fresh or processed
  • Overly ripe or near rotting fruits or vegetables

The Neurotoxic Properties of Splenda

Another popular artificial sweetener is sucralose, sold under the brand name Splenda. Sucralose is a synthetic chemical created in a five-step patented process, in which three chlorine molecules are added to one sucrose (sugar) molecule. Since your body has no enzymes to break down this particular chloride, harm can ensue. Aside from Splenda, other examples of synthetic chloride compounds include DDT, PCBs, and Agent Orange.

Previous research indicates that about 15 percent of sucralose is absorbed into your digestive system, and ultimately stored in your body fat. A 2008 animal study found that Splenda reduced the amount of beneficial intestinal bacteria by 50 percent, having crucial health effects, particularly because 60% of your immune system is in your gut (we need good bacteria!)

More recent research detailing Splenda's neurotoxic properties, assessed the effects of sucralose on water fleas, concluding that: "exposure to sucralose may induce neurological and oxidative mechanisms with potentially important consequences for animal behavior and physiology."

FDA Approval Means Little When It Comes to Ascertaining Safety

As previously noted by Dr. Janet Hull, many tend to excuse the negative health effects of aspartame simply because it has received the stamp of approval by the FDA. But as discussed in her article, "Abusing the FDA Approval Process," the FDA requires that the industry do its own research, and actually places the burden of proof on the company making the product. Rarely is the industry research reviewed by independent researchers.

Should you still be confused on this issue, thinking that the buck somehow stops at the FDA, FDA spokesman Theresa Eisenman recently clarified who is ultimately responsible for making sure a food product is safe, stating that: "Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their food products are safe and lawful…"

When it comes to artificial sweeteners, aspartame in particular, there's no doubt in my mind that the system has protected industry profits at consumers' expense. And we've not seen the last of it. Despite mounting evidence showing that artificial sweeteners as a group have adverse health effects, the FDA has just approved yet another artificial sweetener called Advantame, concocted from a combination of aspartame and vanillin, an artificial vanilla flavor.

Being 20,000 times sweeter than refined sugar, Advantame is the sweetest artificial sweetener so far. To put this into perspective, aspartame, sucralose, and saccharine range from 200 to 700 times sweeter than sugar. Also, as reported by the LA Times:

"Like aspartame, Advantame contains phenylalanine, which is metabolized with difficulty by people with a rare genetic disorder, phenylketonuria. But because of its intense sweetness, Advantame would be used at much lower volumes than is aspartame. As a result, the FDA has declared that it can be safely consumed by those with phenylketonuria."

So, What Do I Put in My Coffee?

Honey or Stevia. If you MUST sweeten your coffee or tea then use something created by nature - not created in a lab somewhere that might give your Alzheimer's.

Just in time for July, this week's recipe is a delicious smoothie - please try it at home!

Almond Butter and Jelly Smoothie

  • 1 cup spinach, fresh
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup frozen red grapes
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter

Blend spinach and almond milk until smooth then add remaining fruits and blend again.
OPTIONAL: Top with sliced almonds for an added crunchy texture.

By Francesca Marino D.C.


8:30am - 5:30pm

8:30am - 5:30pm


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Modern Chiropractic

318 Bertrand Dr #101
Lafayette, LA 70506

(337) 889-5820