Response to some aspartame-related comments – Part I

This is the first in a series of responses to comments that were recently posted on my Aspartame and Formaldahyde entry, the bulk of them by Betty Martini. I am placing the responses here to create a new place for any comments that follow and also to allow the content to be more readily available when the same material comes up again (my blog is certainly  not the only place that these comments have been placed, the bulk of it is material has been submitted to Usenet and any blogs discussing aspartame since the 90s). I am perhaps wasting my time responding to them, but I feel like so many of these claims have been left unchallenged for too many years.

Here goes…

Was the  New Mexico Legislature “misled”?

ASPARTAME FLACK TRIES TO MISLEAD NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE … http://rense.com/general75/flak.htm

This is a document that was essentially intended as a rebuttal to statements that John E. Garst (a frequent commenter here) made regarding aspartame as part of efforts to prevent the New Mexico legislature from banning its use. As best I can tell, the bills never even got out of committee.

Sidebar: NM legislature submitted bills on the banning of aspartame

It seems that one state senator, Gerald Ortiz y Pino, made it a practice to just keep submitting the “rescind aspartame approval” bills, even though they didn’t go anywhere (simply getting submitted and going to “action postponed indefinitely”, API, status. In other words, dying) – SB 250 (2006), SB 654 (2006) . But there were also attempts in the House, by one Irvin Harrison. In the failed API’d HB 202 (2006) and  HB 391 (2007), its clear that whoever wrote these bills bought into the unscientific, and unsubstantiated, claims of the anti-aspartame movement. They seem to have the same text, so here’s the representative portion:

“The legislature finds it is imperative for the public health, safety and welfare to declare that aspartame and its derivative compounds, in all of their trade names, are poisonous and deleterious food additives due to their neurotoxic and carcinogenic metabolites.”

Simply read any of the articles from my “Aspartame” section to see that these claims are simply not credible. If you read the minutes of the sessions, in both cases it is newspaper editor/writer Stephen Fox who is the constituent asking for the ban of aspartame. The minutes said that he presented a document called “Report for Schools, OB-GYN and Pediatricians on Children and Aspartame/MSG”. I won’t leave the reader in suspense about who the authors of that “report” were: Ralph Walton, Russell Blaylock, and HJ Roberts, Joe Mercola, the Feingold Association, and “prepared” by Betty Martini. So the actions of the Ortiz, Harrison and Fox were not exactly chance occurences that our friends from wnho.net stumbled upon.

It’s clear that the attempt by two members of the New Mexico legislature did not introduce anything new to the case, and, even and they succeeded, would not have “proved” anything. One only look at the fact that the US Congress has Creationists as part of its Science and Technology Committee.

And now onto the claims

At the say so level: R G Walton M.D. Chairman, Center for Behavioral Medicine at NE Ohio College of Medicine analyzed 92 peer-reviewed studies not funded by aspartame industry. 92% found PROBLEMS!

In 95 the FDA listed 92 reactions from 10,000 volunteered complaints, including death.

This lists of “92 peer-reviewed studies” by Walton and “92 reactions” from FDA seem to have become a centerpiece of the anti-aspartame movement. I have already covered the Walton list and, long story short, most of the studies either have nothing to do with aspartame or aren’t even a peer-reviewed study at all. There’s also not actually 92 as some are duplicates. Being very generous, 5 of the entries are both peer-reviewed and potentially relate in some “negative” way to aspartame (but you can view the above link andy my spreadsheet to see the details). The FDA list has also been discussed (Extraordinary claims about aspartame and Sweet Misery Fact Check)

H. J. Roberts, M.D., FACP a diabetic specialist has produced 20 books and his first text on medical diagnosis was used by 60,000 doctors to prepare for their Board examinations.

As the name of the book is not mentioned, this claim is difficult to check. The closest thing I can find to a textbook from Roberts is “Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic”. But perhaps it is “Useful insights for diagnosis, treatment, and public health” ? If Betty Martini can clarify this statement, which she made multiple times in my blog comments, I can better track down the truth and/or relevance of this claim.

(from section quoting H.J. Roberts)

*The assertion that methanol concentrations never are very high after aspartame ingestion is erroneous. I devoted an entire chapter to methanol toxicity in my text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic (pp 668-685), and show in Figure XXI-1 the dose-related blood levels of methanollasting 8 or more hours.

This is a common tactic of the anti-aspartame folks, redirecting the reader to the dangers of methanol toxicity, which are well known and not disputed. The issue is that aspartame does not actually lead to a large amount of methanol in the body, so it’s not a relevant comparison.

There is another bullet point that addresses John E. Garst’s comments about folate deficiency, saying that its not as widespread and then saying the problem is really phenylalanine. I don’t really have any notes about folate deficiency, so will let John respond if he wants. However, bringing up phenylalanine as part of the “aspartame disease” is also a bit pointless given the low volumes of phenylalanine compared to other foods (bananas, eggs, milk, meat).

Remember that Dr. Alemanys study proved the formaldehyde converted from the free methyl alcohol embalms living tissue and damages DNA. As we know when you damage DNA you can destroy humanity

Appeal to emotion here… the Trocho study (not “Alemanys”, Alemany is the last name listed) did no such thing and a response to it (well, a citation to the actual response) can be found in the very article that was being commented on.

Even the FDA found many types of tumors and brain cancer on original studies and the Ramazzini Study in 2005 confirmed FDA findings reporting the study showed aspartame to be a multipotential carcinogen.

The Ramazzini study has been decimated by both the FDA and the European EFSA. In fact, in 2009 the EFSA reaffirmed their original 2006 response. Not sure what the “FDA found many types of tumors” is referring to exactly, as there is no citation. But the FDA is certainly ok with the safety of aspartame, so its a bit moot.

Mark Gold of the Aspartame Toxicity Center says this short document answers all of the aspartame industrys claims about aspartame and formaldehyde poisoning: http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/abuse/methanol.html

Believe it or not, the referenced link document is actually the one that kick-started my interest in aspartame and led to the writing of “Aspartame and Formaldehyde”. That article is essentially a direct response to the Mark Gold link.

Does a 1970 “Trade Secret” document from Searle reveal an intent to hide DKP dangers?

Jan 12, 2013 @ 9:06

  1. Yes, that’s FDA stationery in a letter to me.

In reference to the “92 Symptoms” document, which I’ve already covered in two separate articles: Extraordinary claims about aspartame and Sweet Misery Fact Check

  1. Maybe the list would like to see the secret trade information which the manufacturer did give in congressional hearings. Even the hearings are on http://www.mpwhi.com/trade_secret_information_on_aspartame.htm. Notice the last paragraph where they admitted they had to conclude almost complete conversion to DKP, the brain tumor agent. What they are saying if they let the FDA they won’t get it approved.

This is a link to a page that refers to a memo from a “Mr. Helling” with a subject of “Food and Drug Sweetener Strategy” and dated December 28, 1970. Taking for granted that the document is legitimate, it discusses some admittedly shady-sounding ideas for getting “Food & Drug” to say “yes”. Having been around sales people, none of that is new nor, I’d argue, particularly relevant to the safety. More relevant is the section discussing DKP. In it they seem to look to get approval for products which would have the least change of breakdown to DKP, namely dry foods or ones which have an acid ingredient. Quoting the Hellig document itself: “If we select foods that have their storage in dry form particularly if they are formulated so there is an acid ingredient, then we would have confidence that the SC-18362 would not break down measurably during the usual maximum storage periods… [such as] a pre-sweetened cereal product that’s consumed cold.”

They go on to discuss other products in different categories, all with the goal of avoiding the breakdown to DKP, especially until they have more data about DKP.

They also note that they believe that “based on the toxicity data that we have in the feeding studies, we expect to get approvals”

Martini’s statement about the last paragraph is a complete misrepresentation. What the last paragraph actually says is that they should not try go for “spoon-for-spoon” (i.e. in place of sugar by consumers) use because they have no way of estimating maximum usage and therefore would need to assume a maximum conversion to DKP. This is just complementing the rest of the document discussing what they see as the safe usage based on their DKP studies.

  1. I flew to Barcelona to see Dr. Maria Alemany who did the Trocho Study showing the formaldehyde from the free methyl alcohol embalms living tissue. The first thing he said to me was that aspartame will kill 200 million people.

There’s no real reason to address the Trocho, it has been covered here and within the scholarly community.

Is aspartame linked with sudden death?

  1. People are even dropping dead from it. Go to http://www.mpwhi.com and read some of the doctor’s reports on sudden cardiac death. There are buttons at the top of the page.

As to the sudden death, this (appears to be) a reference to http://www.mpwhi.com/aspartame_and_sudden_death.htm, which has 6 links:
Link 1: http://www.wnho.net/heart_disease_links.htm – Despite Martini’s commentary about “why” diet soda is linked to heart disease, the article simply reports that researchers found that red meat and diet soda (Lutsey, 2008) were linked to higher risk of heart disease which they believed was most likely related to other behaviors correlated with drinking diet soda.
Link 2: http://www.wnho.net/aspartame_and_arrhythmias.htm
This is from  H.J. Roberts discussing athlete deaths which they believe are related to aspartame. In the Roberts one is discusses a review of sudden athlete deaths which he believes are really because of aspartame (he notes that the study author makes no mention whatsoever of aspartame). He then links to a bunch of his own articles, not studies, on aspartame risks.

The closest thing to a study to his “Reactions to aspartame containing products: 551 cases”, which I was unable to find the actual content of. However it was responded to by Magnuson et al ((Magnuson, 2007):

No information on the actual amount or duration of aspartame consumption was provided. No details regarding the selection process of reactors were provided. The most common were neurological symptoms including headache,dizziness, confusion and convulsions. Other symptoms were psychiatric (depression, irritability, anxiety) or visual and auditory disturbances. No data were provided regarding whether symptoms were self-diagnosed or were ever confirmed by a medical expert

.. Basically anecdotal data no better than what ends up in AERS (which I’ve discussed elsewhere).
Link 3: http://www.wnho.net/aspartame_msg_scd.htm
The Blaylock one is no better… just his opinion on the “real” cause of sudden athlete deaths. Even better, it’s from PRWeb, which is simply a self-submitted entry into “news” sources.

Link 4: http://rense.com/general82/gcar.htm
Discusses George Carlin’s death from heart attack, and then goes on to discuss the study from above which found a correlation between consumption of diet drinks and cardiovascular disease. It also contains the full body of Link 2.

Link 5:http://www.mpwhi.com/rise_in_number_of_people_with_fatal_allergies.htm
Another article by Betty Martini, not a study of any sort.

Link 6: Limited-Edition Diet Coke Can For The Heart Truth Revealed!
Huffington Post link that actually 404s. The same article is on stylelist.com. In any case, this isn’t even a anti-aspartame article but actually was part of a promo campaign. Betty Martini’s instructions are to go and leave negative comments. Good times.

  1. Also, if you read the United Press International 8 month investigation of aspartame you will see that it took Don Rumsfeld to get it on the market.

This is more of the same of the type of stuff from the Sweet Misery documentary… lots and lots of quotes from various people about how bad aspartame might be, or how it shouldn’t have been approved, and so on. What it does not have is citations for evidence linking aspartame to actual ills. The longer that aspartame is on the market, the more clear it becomes how much it is not leading to some crazy epidemic of… anything.

REFERENCES

Lutsey, Pamela L., Lyn M. Steffen, and June Stevens. “Dietary Intake and the Development of the Metabolic Syndrome The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.” Circulation 117, no. 6 (2008): 754-761.

Magnuson, B. A., et al. “Aspartame: a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations, and toxicological and epidemiological studies.” CRC Critical Reviews in Toxicology 37.8 (2007): 629-727.

About these ads

13 Responses

  1. Good luck Josh for your persistence.

    Martini won’t accept the Magnuson paper-it was sponsored by Ajinomoto, but it was also a double blind analysis by some of the top toxicologists in the country.

    But on the other hand scientists don’t accept her arguments either—and no state nor relevant country has either.

    JEG

  2. I have sent your articles to Drs. Olney, Roberts, and Blaylock. If they can refute it – as the anti-aspartame proponents, they will have made their case. If not, I guess the mainstream will have been truly vindicated.

  3. I have also sent them to Dr. Soffriti.

  4. PS. Regarding Dr. Walton’s research the Rowan study was used in rebuttal to a study. I want you to see how industry does studies. Mark Gold, Aspartame Toxicity Center also has some of the other ones as well relating to abuse in studies on methanol, Parkinson’s, etc. The aspartame industry are scholars in getting around showing true results. In the case of the Rowan study they were so afraid someone would have a seizure they used one capsule for a one day study and put 16 of the 18 on anti-seizure medication without telling anyone.

    Also, you might like to read this last article because its the story of someone who used aspartame. I remember it well. The woman almost lost her sight. http://www.mpwhi.com/namaste_pages_10-12.pdf hadn’t found out about aspartame she might be blind today.

    Scientific Abuse in Seizure Research Related to Aspartame
    Please print and read completely through this document!
    ….

    [Josh: Betty, I've asked repeatedly for you to stop pasting in large swaths of content. Feel free to link to your the various PDFs and documents on your site, but stop simply copy/pasting in entire articles. I will most likely end up reading and responding to it].

  5. “Response to some aspartame-related comments –
    Part I What does the Science say?” was in fact a great
    blog, cannot wait to browse far more of your posts.
    Time to spend some time online hehe. Thank you ,Kristy

  6. I will just point out the following – you note – “Jim Bowen is a former medical doctor who appears to believe in all manner of other conspiracy theories, especially those related to the “Zionist Conspiracy”. You can easily find him searching for “Jim Bowen aspartame” on Google. He also wrote a pleasantly-titled article called “Aspartame Murders Infants”. He also appears as one of the sufferers in the video.”

    I have refuted the wikipedia article “New World Order (conspiracy theory)” here. That I am more familiar with.: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:New_World_Order_%28conspiracy_theory%29&diff=536987839&oldid=536984011#counter_to_this_article

    Items like those I have put forth in the above link though make me skeptical of the entire mainstream, and make these “fringe” theories plausible.

    Betty Martini claims that Mark Gold has the knowledge at hand to refute your website. It is well done, I will admit that, but I have seen inconsistencies (the CDC item mentioned previously), and condemnatory independent studies keep coming in.

    It appears that the response to the Soffriti study was the same to the response to the Seralini study on GMO foods. Seralini has sued for defamation and noted the cronyism rampant in the reaction to his work: http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/52-2013/14580-toxicity-confirmed-for-gmo-and-roundup-seralini-press-conference
    He has responded to critics here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23146697?dopt=Abstract
    And a meta-analysis by Seralini’s associates of 19 studies where rats were given GMO corn and soy established the organ damaging effects of these alterations: http://www.enveurope.com/content/23/1/10

    Soffriti has issued a rebuttal to the EFSA here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1570058/

    When you read the wikipedia item, you will know that accusations of rampant cronyism and entirely reasonable.

    • Here is a good challenge to this website: http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/abuse/

      I applaud this site in debunking scurrilous claims, but I think it goes overboard.

      • Ben – The site you linked to is actually the site that was the impetus for me starting to write about aspartame in the first place :)

        But to your point about “overboard”.. I agree in a sense in that I would prefer not to write about it, but but there is so much misinformation about aspartame out there, that I am only barely scratching the surface. If you consider this overboard, what about the entirety of Betty Martini’s website? I at least write about other things (and I try to write about aspartame as little as possible)

      • I receive, unsolicited, a nearly daily email from Rich Murray linking to studies he believes demonstrate the harm of aspartame. Most of the time, they have nothing to do with aspartame, but methanol.

  7. […] at det må være aspartam som er skylden. Helt uten noen som helst annen dokumentasjon enn at de velger å tro det er slik. Det er altså ingen studier som viser en slik sammenheng. Påstanden er tatt ut av løse luften og […]

  8. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in
    Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Many thanks

  9. Generally I do not learn post on blogs, however I wish to say
    that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so!
    Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, quite great
    article.

  10. Hi Josh, I really find it depressing reading all about these old studies and arguments about aspartame causing or not causing harm; lets get it straight. Aspartame does not enter the bloodstream so is incapable of causing us harm because it has disappeared completely in the GI tract. Any harm must therefore come from one of its constituents – Methanol, DPK, Phenylalanine or Aspartic acid. In my view all studies conducted using the aspartame molecule are designed to mislead and provide a meaningless results. Particularly since science has never established an ADI for methanol, phenylalanine or aspartic acid so have absolutely no idea how toxic any of them are in humans………Methanol is without doubt, the most dangerous component of aspartame because of its 1st metabolite formaldehyde. How does methanol poison us – by metabolising to formaldehyde and no further…..EFSA on the 10th of DEC 2013 declared aspartame safe yet again but the opinion is unsafe: they did not include ALL the evidence. On the same day (10th of DEC) with a member of EFSA I addressed the House of Lords Parliamentary Food and Health Forum commenting on the Opinion – Please see the minutes and slides of the meeting and see what they deliberately left out. Here is a link to the minutes – You can ignore the rubbish from the EFSA Guy…………….
    http://www.fhf.org.uk/meetings.php?meeting_id=27 ………………………
    PS ref Prop 65 you can take a horse to water but cannot make it drink.

    Regards,
    Jim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 272 other followers

%d bloggers like this: