Aspartame and the Brain

In a Harvard study of hundreds of thousands of people, compared to non coffee drinkers, those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day had half the suicide risk.

Another study showed the risk dropped by 80 percent after 6 cups of coffee a day.

But, a study shows after 8 or more, the risk for depression and suicide is higher. Could be because of the sweeteners found in coffee?

A study following hundreds of Americans for years found frequent consumption of sweetened drinks, especially diet, increased risk of depression in older adults, while coffee lowered risk. All artificially sweetened drinks increased risk, including tea and coffee. There was a benefit in coffee drinkers versus non coffee drinkers, but add sugar and that benefit is gone. Add equal or sweet and low and the risk may go up.

It is suspected artificial sweeteners impact neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. But, the effects are controversial. Studies range from ‘safe under all conditions” to “unsafe at any dose.”

Due to the large number of Americans exposed to Aspartame, even if 1 percent of 100,000,000 Americans ate Aspartame, and 1 percent had major adverse reactions,  that number would still be 10,000 Americans who had issues. That is exactly the number of complaints the FDA received before it stopped taking complaints on Aspartame.

A study was designed to test if depressed people were vulnerable to Aspartame. The plan was to recruit 40 depressed patients and 40 controls. Study was cut short because of the overwhelming reactions in depressed group. It was decided to be unethical to continually expose people to Aspartame.

Latest study on Aspartame tested low versus high aspartame diet. Even the high dose was only half the limit set by FDA. FDA set the limit at 50 mg/kg body weight a day. The high dose was 25 mg/kg. After 8 days of half the FDA limit, people showed a more irritable mood, more depression and performed worse on brain tests. Study recommended using caution when eating foods with Aspartame.

Easier said than done since Aspartame is found in 6,000 food items, which millions of American adults and children eat Aspartame daily. It is nearly impossible to stay away from Aspartame, unless you eat whole foods.

Whole foods like apples, bananas, nuts, berries, rice and beans do not need a label. Safest foods are label free.

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