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Aspartame - Is food endangered by additives?

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Is food endangered by additives?
By LIZ KOCH
SPECIAL TO THE SENTINEL
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Ever since the Campbell’s soup people convinced America they could make soup "better" than Grandma, some of us actually believed packaged foods were equivalent to our own home-cooked meals. From there we moved into convenience or "fast food," delivered to our cars in seconds.

But as people less and less prepare food from scratch, relying on packaged food and fast foods as their main sources of nutrition, we are seeing the results in our current health-care crisis.

Ed Bauman, director of the Bauman College nutrition and natural chef training programs, will speak on this topic Thursday at Way of Life in Capitola.

Processed foods are like plastic chairs, he says. They are designed not for supporting a body but how well they stack. Foods that need shelf life cannot be alive. Enzymes, vitamins and life-enhancing bacteria are the living components that nourish and enrich our bodies, breaking down quickly for easy digestion.

When preservatives, sugars and coloring are added to hold the color, shape and smell of food, out goes vulnerable healthy oils found in whole grains, vegetables and legumes, replaced by refined flour and more sugar.

The chemicals found listed on the side of any packaged food reads more like a chemistry experiment for building a dirty bomb than food meant for consumption. For every chemical found dangerous, another is simply put in its place. Often just a name change is enough. MSG (glutamate) is now legally relabeled as "hydrolyzed vegetable protein" or even "natural flavoring." Controversial Nutrasweet is the now-popular "aspartame."

Aspartame, an artificial sweetener used widely in packaged foods, is in almost all diet sodas; many drink mixes, instant breakfasts, cereals, cake mixes, yogurts, puddings, gelatins, chewing gums, breath mints, candies, toothpastes, laxatives, cough syrups, even vitamins and medicines.

Author Bill Strubbe of "Killing Me Sweetly" explained that aspartame was discovered when pharmaceutical chemist G.D. Searle testing an anti-ulcer drug "happened to lick his hand, and the rest is history." Originally approved for use in dry foods in 1974, aspartame was put on hold several months later due to objections filed by neuroscience researchers and consumer attorneys.

But aspartame made it to the market in full force. Even all-American Juicy Fruit gum now includes aspartame for the flavor that keeps on giving.

Dr. Russell Blayloc, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Mississippi’s medical center and author of "Excitotoxins The Taste That Kills," explains aspartame-like glutamate in the chemically related substance MSG are neurotransmitters normally found in the brain and spinal cord, but when aspartame reaches certain levels it causes the death of brain neurons.

The break down of aspartame eventually ends in formaldehyde, a known carcinogen and deadly cumulative poison which at high levels are associated with causing brain tumors.

More than 10,000 reports of side effects and adverse reactions, many of them primary brain tumors, have been collected by the so-called Aspartame Consumer Safety Network.

But why has a known harmful chemical in packaged foods passed FDA requirements? Critics say aspartame violates the Delaney Amendment, which forbids anything being put in food known to cause cancer.

More and more groups are trying to get the word out regarding the food Americans eat.

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research organization in Washington, D.C. believes consumers have a right to know about pesticides in their food.

Eric Schlosser, author of The New York Times bestseller "Fast Food Nation; The Dark Side of the All-American Meal," points out that with the rise in consumerism, there has been a rise in sugar use. With the increasing work demands, partly a result of rising consumerism, there has been a rise in convenience and fast foods. This implies more sugar!.

To find food worth eating, many people are looking outside the box. By returning to simple ideas such as eating fresh, whole, organic foods grown seasonally and locally, it is possible to find a wealth of life-enhancing foods.

Slow cooking is once again valued for the exquisite taste, nutritional richness and social value of sitting down with friends and family to enjoy real food, real conversation, in real time.

Way of Life offers a free lecture series twice a month on natural remedies to health challenges and alternative approaches to health. Liz Koch is the series organizer.

If You Go

WHAT: ‘Nutritional Bandits: Foods that Rob Your Family’s Health,’ with Ed Bauman, Ph.D., director of Bauman College nutrition and natural chef training programs.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday.

WHERE: Way of Life, 1210 41st Ave., Capitola.

ADMISSION: Free.

DETAILS: 464-4113.



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