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 Stevia: A Natural Sweetener That's Also Calorie-Free 
 
Julian Whitaker MD ©

Even though many of these reports are anecdotal, they are quite credible, given the chemistry of aspartame. Brain/mood symptoms brought on by aspartame could easily be caused by the changes in brain chemistry triggered by elevated phenylalanine.

There have been numerous studies showing aspartame's safety. My complaint with these is that the studies used aspartame capsules rather than the commonly used form of aspartame mixed and stored in food.

"Wood Alcohol" in Your Food
Even more significant, perhaps, is the role of methanol or methyl alcohol (also called "wood alcohol"), which makes up 10% of aspartame. The methanol is further broken down into formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), formic acid (a poison excreted by ants) and diketopiperazine (DKP, which causes brain tumors). Absorption of methanol is hastened if aspartame has broken down, as it does when it is heated, used in hot drinks or decomposed during prolonged storage. In Israel, people are warned not to consume large quantities of aspartame, and not to store products containing it in the heat. Incredibly, the FDA recently approved aspartame for baked goods!

Methanol is specifically toxic to the optic nerve, and caused blindness in people who drank "bootlegged" whiskey that contained it. The poisoning effects of taking methanol are cumulative.

A pilot, George E. Leighton, experienced such sever blurred vision while flying that he couldn't even read the instrument panel and barely averted a crash landing. This occurred two hours after he inadvertently drank two cups of aspartame-sweetened hot chocolate. He has consumed no aspartame since, nor has he had any blurred vision. Other pilots had seizures which they are convinced were caused by aspartame, and have lost their licenses as a result.

How Stevia Got Stonewalled by the FDA
Stevia, on the other had, is not only non-toxic, but has several traditional medicinal uses. The Indian tribes of South America have used it as a digestive aid, and have also applied it topically for years to help wound-healing. Recent clinical studies have shown it can increase glucose tolerance and decrease blood sugar levels.

Of the two sweeteners, stevia wins hands down for safety. Yet your children guzzle excitatory chemicals laced with methanol.

Stevia gained popularity in this country in the 1980's as a safe sweetener. Celestial Seasonings, one of the world's largest herbal tea companies, used it as a flavoring in many of the teas. In 1986, without warning, the FDA came into their warehouse and seized their stock of stevia. No reason was given for seizure; the company was simply told they could not use it in the teas.

In 1991 the FDA banned stevia, claiming that it was an "unsafe food additive," even though it is available in many other countries. The obvious reason for the seizure and the ban on stevia was to prevent it from competing with aspartame.

Let's Fight for a Safer Non-Calorie Sweetener
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has petitioned the FDA to lift the ban on stevia, based on the fact that stevia is not a food additive, but a food with a long record of safety. The FDA has yet to act on this petition.

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