In a previous article, we discussed various artificial sweeteners and some of their pros and cons. In this
article we are going to get a little more in-depth as to what exactly happens within the human body
when the artificial sweetener aspartame is consumed. This article is not meant to try to sway anyone
one way or another on their stance concerning aspartame, but only to give you the facts.
During the digestion process, aspartame is broken down into its components, the amino acids aspartic
acid, phenylalanine, and the chemical methanol. The two amino acids are utilized for their normal
purposes, but with methanol a problem occurs.
Animals and humans have what are known as peroxisomes in each cell, and they are designed to
detoxify a variety of harmful chemicals. Within these peroxisomes is catalase, an enzyme which helps
turn the methanol into formaldehyde, then additional enzymes convert the formaldehyde into harmless
formic acid. The problem here though, is that this conversion of formaldehyde into formic acid does not
happen in humans, only animals.
Now, there is dangerous formaldehyde within the body which can accumulate in certain areas, such
as the brain, causing cellular and degenerative damage. Formaldehyde metabolism can lead to the
production of the waste product formate, which can accumulate and lead to metabolic acidosis, leading
to blindness, kidney damage or death. Now clearly this will only happen if large amounts of aspartame
are consumed, or something happens within the body which fails to prevent metabolic acidosis.
Yes, methanol does occur naturally in some foods, however, it is bonded to a fiber which keeps it out of
the bloodstream, allowing it to safely pass through the body.
I hope this gives you a more clear idea of what goes on in your body when aspartame is consumed.
Again, we are not trying to sway anyone’s opinion of this artificial sweetener, we just want to present
the facts. The choice to continue consuming aspartame or not is up to you.
By: James Van Dyne