Now comes even more evidence as to why this artificial sweetener is so damaging to our neurological wellbeing and is something that should have been made widely known a long time ago.
Newly released findings from the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend against the use of non-sugar substitutes (NSS) to control body weight or reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Their systematic review concluded that “use of NSS does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children. Results of the review also suggest that there may be potential undesirable effects from long-term use of NSS, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in adults.”
The WHO guidelines on NSS are part of a suite of current and future guidelines regarding healthy diets and the need to establish lifelong healthy eating habits that improve dietary quality, and ideally decrease the risk of NCDs worldwide.
However, we must raise the question that in the face of enormous evidence that has existed for decades about the danger of aspartame and other food additives, why are these guidelines only now being issued? Dr. Russell Blaylock is a neurosurgeon who for years has spoken out about the serious health concerns surrounding aspartame. In his book,Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, Blaylock looks in detail at over 500 studies that clearly identify aspartame as being one of the most dangerous yet widely available substances and has been linked to over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives as reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) such as:
In an article published on “U.S. Right to Know,” author Stacy Malkin writes about aspartame and the decades of science that point to serious health risks. Malkin notes that aspartame is found in over 6,000 products, from diet sodas and reduced-calorie beverages to chewing gum and candies. But, since aspartame was first introduced in 1974, numerous studies have pointed to its link in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, stroke, dementia, intestinal dysbiosis, neurotoxicity and mood disorders, as well as cardiovascular and additional serious conditions.
Harvard University had several years ago advised pregnant women to avoid artificial sweeteners including aspartame, citing a study of 3,000 subjects that indicated the potential for excessive weight gain in the mothers and subsequently in the babies as well. As we know, obesity can bring with it a host of health issues that can affect many of our systems and contribute to developing other disorders. Even when dietary factors were controlled, there was still a correlation between higher consumption of diet beverages and increased fetal weight.
So, why are we still surrounded by product choices replete with aspartame and harmful additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), and other non-nutritional chemicals? And why did it take the WHO so long to put forward their recent guidelines? Unfortunately, the answers point to the nature of our economies in this and other countries, the influence of huge corporations, and the immense power of large pharmaceutical companies…which can often mean that what’s best for our health is far down the list of important concerns.
It’s up to each of us to use the information at hand to make the right decisions for ourselves and our loved ones, choosing fresh over processed foods, limiting sugar and other products that can provoke inflammation, trying to get about 7 hours of quality sleep each night, exercising and getting out in nature. And those are the sweetest things you can do for the sake of your beautiful brain!
In hope and healing,
Dr. Suzanne Gazda
For additional related reading, please visit our blog library for these titles and more:
Gazda, S. Aspartame: a toxin to avoid for your brain’s wellbeing. SuzanneGazdaMD.com. (2022) https://www.suzannegazdamd.com/blog/aspartame-a-toxin-to-avoid-for-your-brains-wellbeing
World Health Organization. WHO advises not to use non-sugar sweeteners for weight control in newly released guideline. WHO International News Release. (May 15, 2023)
Blaylock, R. Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. (2011)
Malkan, S. Aspartame: Decades of science point to serious health risks. U.S. Right to Know. (May 15, 2023). https://usrtk.org/sweeteners/aspartame_health_risks/
McCarthy, C. Why pregnant women should avoid artificially sweetened beverages. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. (2016).
Dr. Suzanne Gazda, Integrative Neurology