Alternative Health and Nutrition
Dr. Janet Starr Hull:
October 31, 2006
Can you imagine discovering that your 12-year-old child is using dry, powdered forms of aspartame to get high? I recently received an email from a woman who discovered her daughter had been eating dry aspartame to get "high."
"I learned months ago," she wrote, "that a friend of my 12-year-old daughter had turned her on to ingesting Crystal Lite® (with aspartame) without water to get "hyper." I consulted with our doctors, called Poison Control, and met with school administrators to see if they were aware of this.
"The message I received," she continued, "was 'Crystal Lite is perfectly safe and the problem was most likely in their heads.'"
As a concerned parent, this mother has been researching aspartame ever since. "With the listed symptoms/side affects of aspartame on your website," she continued, "it is apparent to me that the children are getting some type of 'altered' sensation. I know my daughter experiences a rapid heart beat, dizziness, headaches and nausea, to name a few reactions she has described to me."
A typical response from the marketers and manufacturers of aspartame is "there is no scientific evidence or research showing this type of reaction to aspartame is possible." Here's another common corporate reply: "the FDA approved aspartame, so it is safe." And how many times have you heard this one: "our research shows aspartame to be perfectly safe for children and during pregnancy. It is the most researched food additive in American FDA history."
Well, now consumers can add: children are taking Crystal Lite straight out of the can and eating it in powdered form to get "high."
Record numbers of disease syndromes, obesity, depression, and anxiety currently plague our youth - a problem turned epidemic AFTER aspartame and the diet sweetener craze flooded the market and dominated modern foods over 25 years ago. Many research scientists and nutritionists predicted such problems would result.
So Go Ahead and Snoop Around...
After I received this very disturbing email, I decided to snoop around to find out if children in my area had heard of using Crystal Lite to get high. Well, I wouldn't be writing this article if the answer was "no - never." Children, indeed, have discovered eating the raw, powdered forms of aspartame gives them a rush they compare to taking too much Aderol®, an ADHD medication abused by non-ADHD kids to get high. I even spoke to a 13 year old who "knew someone who knew someone" who snorted Crystal Lite.
"The first couple of times he did it," the child disclosed, "his nose burned and he got a nosebleed. But once he got used to it, he said it was a good high, mostly because it was free. He just goes in his mom's pantry and grabs a scoop of her Crystal Lite, puts it in a baggie, and brings it to school. Someone always has some, and after school, we get a buzz."
"Ha," he sniggered, "if we're in class and one of our bros gets a nosebleed, we know he snorted some in the bathroom before class. Been a lot of nosebleeds lately; the teachers don't know a thing. Hey, we get to miss class and go to the nurse's office."
Americans have been more concerned about children using illegal drugs, alcohol, and smoking, while addictive and harmful chemicals in the food supply have gone unnoticed. We campaign against underage drug abuse using school awareness programs and implementing stricter laws for drug possession, but we allow children to have access to pharmaceutical drugs and dangerous food chemicals proven to be harmful to human health. Actually, diet sweeteners can be more dangerous to a child in multiple ways because these chemicals can be when used daily with no limits and easy access.
And, these dangerous chemicals are in the public schools. A child today can abuse ADHD drugs while swallowing them down with a diet cola. And we wonder why children have shorter attention spans, dangerous mood swings, and debilitating apathy!
Okay. Prove It!
Over the years of working with aspartame victims, I have documented many case histories of adverse reactions to the powdered form of aspartame found in Equal® and Crystal Lite. These reactions are more intensified compared to diluted forms of aspartame found in colas, liquid medicines, yogurts, etc. In my book Sweet Poison, I include case histories of seizures and blindness from regularly consuming powdered forms of aspartame.
The Department of Experimental Physiology, Medical School at the University of Athens, Greece, Institute of Child Health, Research Center, concluded in 2005 that high levels and cumulative toxic concentrations of aspartame metabolites decreased the membrane AChE activity, resulting in memory loss. Additionally, neurological symptoms, including learning and memory processes, appeared in the study to be related to the high or toxic concentrations of the sweetener metabolites.
At present, the only known treatments for increasing lack of memory, such as Alzheimer's Disease, are either NMDA receptor antagonists or acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as the pharmaceutical Aricept®. The Greek study shows that overuse of aspartame, as well as the long-term effects of aspartame, impair memory.
Because low doses of aspartame are shown to inhibit acetylchoinesterase, just like pharmaceutical treatments for people with memory loss, when a healthy individual with normal cholinergic functioning, such as a young child for example, starts administering a cholinesterase inhibitor when no memory loss has occurred, aspartame ingestion (according to the study) will eventually lead to down-regulation of post synaptic ACH receptors, and ultimately disrupt memory and learning. In other words, a healthy child that snorts or eats concentrated powdered aspartame can impair their memory.
Yes, indeed, there is a new "high" sourced to the chemicals found in sugar-free foods with aspartame.
"Please help," writes this concerned mother. "What do you suggest I do to inform the doctors and schools, and what studies back up the facts?"
The concept of using aspartame for a high is a shocking and new reality check; a concept many people do not want to admit exists. It has taken decades for underage alcohol consumption and smoking to become a publicized issue, so snorting aspartame may fall in line behind years of very slow progress in this awareness arena. But, at least the cat is out of the bag, creating a new awareness that this type of aspartame abuse is, indeed, a reality. Hopefully through this new awareness, parents can help their children.
My best suggestion: remove ALL diet sweeteners and food chemicals from your home, and return to a natural diet with a history of little to no harm to your child's health and safety. Also, insist that ALL diet soft drinks and flavored waters be removed from the public schools K-12. Talk to your children, and teach them which foods are real and healthy for them, and which foods are manmade, phony replicas of nutrition, resulting in damage to their growth and maturity.
To your health!
© 2005 Dr. Janet Starr Hull