Dr. Woody Monte on the Dangers of Aspartame.

By Dr. Mercola

Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. While it’s one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners in the world, it’s also one of, if not THE most dangerous food additive on the market today.

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death.

In this interview, Dr. Woody Monte, professor emeritus at Arizona State University in food and chemistry, sheds light on what makes aspartame so hazardous to human health.

Dr. Monte, who also authored the book While Science Sleeps: A Sweetener Kills, is well-known as a world expert on the toxicities of methanol as it relates to aspartame, having studied it for the last three decades.

“I was asked by the soft drink beverage industry to look at aspartame [in 1983]… Basically, the summer of ’81 is when aspartame first came out, but it first came out in powdered drinks only, and for good reason.

Crystal Light, that kind of thing. They didn’t want to put it into liquid form because they knew in the liquid form it would break down. It breaks down into methyl alcohol and what’s left of the molecule. They didn’t want to start doing that.”

Methyl Alcohol – The Root of the Problem with Aspartame

Aspartame is made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. But the phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group as that provides the majority of the sweetness. That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester and is very weak.

If the methyl alcohol is removed from aspartame as easily happens when drinks sweetened with it are exposed to higher temperatures, it no longer tastes sweet. This is precisely what happened to most of the diet soda sent to the Middle East for US troops. They received non sweet sodas that were loaded with dangerous levels of methanol which is more or less like drinking straight poison when it’s in this already broken down state.

Dr. Monte explains the history of how methanol found its way into our food supply:

“Methyl alcohol is made from wood alcohol. Wood alcohol and methyl alcohol are two different names for the same thing. Methanol is called wood alcohol because If you take wood and heat it in a closed cylinder, the smoke that’s evolved from that contains a large amount of methyl alcohol.

Methanol is the smallest molecule of alcohol there is. It’s one carbon… ethanol has two carbons… They are similar in many ways. So, if you want to make a really, really good tasting vanilla extract, you would use methanol to do it. You could, because you would get more of the flavor essence out of it.

The food industry decided, ‘We’ve got to test the methanol to see how safe it is.’ They went to the laboratory and they tested animals. Back in those days, believe it or not, they did actually better laboratory testing than we did when it comes to toxicology. They would take a whole range of animals. They would take rabbits, dogs, guinea pigs, various kinds of ruminants besides rats and monkeys – different varieties of monkeys – and test them all.

When you test all of these animals to see how dangerous methanol is compared to ethanol, ethanol comes out to be more dangerous by a factor of about 30 percent, depending on the animal. Right away they decided this is important because… methanol is cheap to make. We can make it taste good, and there is no tax on it…”

More Information

You can learn more by reading Dr. Monte’s book While Science Sleeps, or by visiting his website, www.WhileScienceSleeps.com.1 His site contains all the articles referenced in his book, about 600 of them, so that you can read through them and verify the details for yourself.

There, you can also find, free of charge, the Monte Diet,2 which will give you more details about the 10 primary sources of methanol mentioned above.


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