What Happens to Aspartame in the Human Body?

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

Stimulant-Free Energy

At Ze/Lin and at, we’re not too fond of having to rely on stimulants for our everyday energy needs. Every day, millions and millions of people rush to the nearest coffee house or brew up some java at home in order to “get ready for the day.” How many times have you heard (or said), “Not until I’ve had my coffee”? With coffee being such a staple, is there a better way to “get your fix” during the day?

The answer of course, is yes.

A great way to start off your day and provide energy that lasts with no crash is with a fresh smoothie or juice. There are dozens of different recipes to choose from, and each offers a wide range of healthy benefits in addition to improving energy levels.

Stimulants may provide quick energy now, but it doesn’t last long and you will undoubtedly feel groggy later, probably wanting more of the stimulant. The human body also adapts very quickly to stimulants, and that means more and more will be required to illicit the same response. Stimulants do not fix the problem, they merely postpone it.

By providing your body with healthy, raw foods in a smoothie or juice, you are giving your body a steady, slow-burning fuel source that will last and last. Raw foods are also jammed with enzymes, which improve digestion and increase nutrient uptake. Enzymes from raw sources give your digestive system a break, and a major cause of sluggishness and low energy is an overworked digestive system.

If you’re in the neighborhood, stop in to Ze/Lin for a fresh smoothie or juice to start your day off right. Or you can always start juicing right in the comfort of your own home. Either way, adding a healthy smoothie or juice to your day will give you energy that lasts, without the negatives of a stimulant.

By: James Van Dyne

Benefits Of The Coconut

The coconut has been a staple in the diets of many islanders and has been steadily gaining popularity in our culture today. Once you get past the hard, hairy shell of this giant nut, you will find a nutritious core which provides healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The coconut is so highly valued in some cultures that it has been given the name, “Tree of Life.”

Just a few of the many benefits of the coconut are as follows:

• Provides a quick energy source

• Boosts endurance for improved physical performance

• Improves digestion

• Heart healthy and helps to reduce cholesterol

• Completely non-toxic to humans

This list can keep going on and on. Other than the entire nut, you will generally find coconut products such as oil or water.

The fats in coconut used to be considered unhealthy, but research has proven this to be incorrect.

Coconut oil is actually made up of medium chain fatty acids, which unlike long chain fatty acids, actually aid the metabolism because they are burned for energy instead of being stored as body fat. Medium chain fatty acids (also known as medium chain triglycerides) are also beneficial for lowering the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries) and do not have a negative impact on cholesterol.

Coconut water also offers some great benefits. It contains easily digested carbohydrates and electrolytes, making it a better option for hydration than typical sports drinks. The next time you go out for a run or need a refreshing drink on a hot day, reach for a coconut water. Because of it’s high potassium content it’s been dubbed “nature’s sports drink.”

While we don’t often find the coconut at the typical grocery store, it offers so many healthy and nutritional benefits it’s worth tracking down. Enjoy a little coconut oil, water or do like they do at Ze/Lin and incorporate it into your daily smoothie for a nutritional pick-me-up.

By: James Van Dyne

Why Go Gluten Free?

At Ze/Lin, one of the major aspects of the business is that they sell gluten free pastries and other baked goods. You may still be on the fence about gluten, or you may not care one way or the other, but here are a few reasons why the Ze/Lin crew promotes the gluten free lifestyle.
It is essential to avoid gluten if you have celiac disease. Now the vast majority of Americans do not have celiac disease, but if you are one of those unfortunate individuals who lives with it, you know that it is absolutely necessary to avoid gluten. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, their immune system will attack the lining of the small intestine. This leads from side effects such as gas and bloating, to more severe damage like malnutrition and unwanted weight loss. Ze/Lin wants to offer delicious baked goods that those individuals with celiac disease can enjoy too.

Even if you don’t suffer from celiac disease, you too can benefit from eliminating gluten from your nutrition plan. If you have digestive problems, avoiding gluten may actually help to improve digestion, as this could be the result of a mild gluten intolerance.

Eliminating gluten may actually improve your mental health. In those with celiac disease, headaches and brain fog are often reported as side effects. When a sensitive person eats gluten, inflammatory molecules called cytokines are released, and they are detrimental to brain function. High amounts of these molecules are linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Autism.

If you are sensitive to gluten, you may not be absorbing your nutrients the way you’re supposed to be. This can lead to low energy levels and chronic fatigue. Instead of looking to stimulants to improve energy, eliminating gluten may be more beneficial.
If you don’t experience any of these symptoms, it probably isn’t necessary to avoid gluten. Ze/Lin offers the more cautious eater gluten-free goods so they can enjoy a variety of snacks without having to endure pain and discomfort.

What’s The Big Deal With Juicing?

I’m sure you already know that we here at and Ze/Lin are big fans of juicing (Ze/Lin probably wouldn’t even be in business if we weren’t). On the other hand, you may be saying, “Yeah, I know you guys are, but what’s the big deal with juicing?” If you’re one of those people, this article is for you.

We all know that several servings of fruits and vegetables every day are necessary for a healthy life, but there are plenty of people out there that simply do not eat enough of them. Juicing allows you to combine together a rainbow of nutritious produce into one easy to drink juice. You don’t have to worry about eating head after head of broccoli, trying to choke down unappetizing kale or gagging on vegetables that taste like they were just pulled from the dirt.

There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that people will not eat simply because of their taste. This is fairly common, but this practice also keeps people from enjoying the nutritious benefits of those foods they choose to skip out on. By adding a fruit or vegetable you normally wouldn’t eat to your juice blend, you get the benefits of its nutrients without having to worry about the taste. While juicing will probably never take over eating whole fruits and vegetables, very little of the actual nutrients are wasted in the juicing process (depending on the type of juicer you use). This means you get a delicious concoction of produce which retains most of its original vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, all in one blended drink which is easier to consume on a regular basis.

If you are thinking about juicing, there’s no time like the present. If you’re not in the habit of eating fruits and vegetables, juicing is a great way to go to incorporate these foods into your nutrition plan. Juicing is also a great way to try out new fruits and vegetables that you may have been wary of in the past. If an apple a day can keep the doctor away, just imagine what all that produce combined can do!

By: James Van Dyne

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