by Steve Jackson

17 December 1995

from Copi Website


Aspartame is the technical name for Nutrasweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 by James Schlatter from Searle, in the search for anti-ulcer drugs.

Aspartame is composed of aspartic acid (40%), phenylalanine (50%), and methanol (10%).


Documented side-effects include:

  • headaches/migraine

  • dizziness

  • seizures

  • nausea

  • numbness

  • muscle fatigue and spasms

  • weight gain

  • rashes

  • depression

  • fatigue

  • irritability

  • tachycardia

  • insomnia

  • vision problems

  • hearing loss

  • heart-palpitations

  • breathing difficulties

  • anxiety attacks

  • slurred speech

  • loss of taste

  • tinnitus

  • vertigo

  • memory loss

  • joint pain

Aspartame can also trigger or worsen:

  • brain tumors

  • multiple sclerosis

  • epilepsy

  • chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Parkinsonís disease

  • Alzheimerís disease

  • mental retardation

  • lymphoma

  • birth defects

  • fibromyaglia

  • diabetes

Each of the ingredients is potentially harmful.


Aspartic acid as aspartate when present in large quantities in the brain (aspartate readily crosses the blood-brain barrier) causes cell death (necrosis) by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells, causing excessive amounts of free-radicals which kill the cell. Aspartate is referred to as an "excitotoxin" as it "excites" or stimulated the neural cell to death.


Phenylalanine, an amino acid normally found in the brain, can be harmful in high quantities.


A disorder known as phenylketonuria present in those unable to metabolise Phenylalanine, is potentially lethal. Ingestion of Aspartame can lead to excess levels of Phenylalanine, even in those without phenylketonuria. This can cause levels of seratonin in the brain to decrease which can lead to depression.


Excessive Phenylalanine ingestion can also lead to memory loss and headaches, and over long periods can trigger schizophrenia.


Methanol, in humans, is excessively poisonous. Due to the lack of some key enzymes, humans are many time more susceptible to the toxic effects of methanol, thus animal tests of aspartane provide inaccurate results.


Methanol ingestion can cause,

  • headache

  • dizziness

  • nausea

  • vertigo

  • memory lapses

  • ear buzzing (tinnitus)

  • gastrointestinal disorders

Methanol is a cumulative poison, due a slow rate of excretion once absorbed. The EPA recommend no more than 7.8 mg/day, whilst an average soft drink containing Aspartame contains around 56 mg of methanol.

After bottling, Aspartame begins to break down into its constituent ingredients. After 6 months the average can of say Coke will contain 28.62 mg of L-phenylalanine methyl ester, 158.31 mg of L-aspartyl-phenylalanine, and 42.22 mg of L-phenylalanine. These figures rise dramatically after a year, and have quadrupled in 3.

Softdrink companies (we need not mention their names) make huge amounts of money from diet softdrink.


It is not in their interest, or the interests of their supplier, to make this information publicly available. Aspartame is the most dangerous food additive on the market, and is responsible for over 75% of adverse reactions to food additives reported to the US Food and Drug Adminsitration (FDA).

If you would like to know more about this topic, there is an extremely good article in the
October-November (1995) issue of Nexus magazine.