Category Archives: Toxicology Tuesdays

The Asinine-ness of Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener that is used as a sugar substitute. Here in the United States, aspartame is marketed as an additive that makes foods and drinks “sugar free”… but at what cost?

The FDA says that aspartame is one of the most thoroughly studied food additives the agency has ever approved but a 60 Minutes interview stated that “aspartame’s approval was one of the most contested in FDA history”. New Mexico introduced legislation to ban aspartame and Hawaii asked the FDA to rescind its use. Aspartame is banned in parts of the U.K. and several U.K.-based companies choose not to use it in their products. Retailers in South Africa also ceased use of aspartame and the Philippines and Indonesia have introduced their own legislation to ban the additive. Of the countries investigating the safety concerns of aspartame, the United States has the highest daily recommended intake at 50mg/kg and is still regulated and promoted by the FDA.

Not to get to scientific, but aspartame, when broken down, kills neurons in the brain through excitotoxins that stimulate the cells to death. It also breaks down the Blood Brain Barrier, or BBB, and 75% of cells are dead before any symptoms of chronic illnesses are detected.

Dr. Mercola, a highly respected medical doctor who often challenges mainstream health reports, listed roughly 90 side effects of aspartame including migraines, seizures, nausea, weight gain, memory loss, slurred speech, fatigue and depression, among others. Dr. Mercola also states that medical conditions such as brain rumors, MS, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation and birth defects can all be triggered or worsened by aspartame intake.

Yet, aspartame is found in thousands of foods and marketed under multiple names like Nutrasweet, Equal, Spoonful and Equal-Measure. They’ve even begun to market it as a weight-loss tool! These days, over 6,000 foods contain aspartame. Some include:

  • Anything “sugar-free”

  • instant cocoa mix

  • Powdered soft drinks (lemonade, Crystal Light, etc)

  • Frozen Ice Cream

  • Chewing Gum

  • Flavored Water Products

  • “Diet” Soda’s

  • Flavored syrups for coffee

  • Yogurt

It would behoove people to do some research and reconsider several of the foods they eat on a daily basis. The diseases and illnesses we are suffering from are not sporadically existing. There is a reason why countries are attempting to ban the substance and why companies have found other alternatives. Many additives that are legally regulated into our foods contribute to the poor health we see around us and so much is preventable. It’s now a blessing to find a product that is ‘Made with Real Sugar’.

Below is a picture from New Zealand…

Hope You Like That Candy, Cause It’s Bug Poop.

I recently read an article posted on a friends Facebook wall describing all the nasty ingredients that are included in foods without our knowledge. It reminded me of all the foods that I’ve given up over the last year because of the true ingredients or effects of those foods on the body. The things that are adding to our food are truly disturbing (in addition to being disgusting) which is why Tuesday’s will now be ‘Toxicology Tuesdays’. (But we’re kicking off on a Thursday!)

This week…foods with ingredients that you’d never eat alone but are considered “acceptable” by the FDA because it’s a ‘low ratio’. They claim that these ingredients are not hazardous to health and are perfectly acceptable for human consumption. It’s certainly not for those who have a weak stomach, but eye-opening information nonetheless.

Ingredient Name

What it actually is…

Found in…

Confectioners glazeResinous glaze Bug poo Shiny candy, chocolate, jelly beans, shiny apples, mascara, lipstick
Natural Red # 4
‘natural color’
Ground up bugs Cherry icecreamStrawberry/cherry yogurt
Ammonium sulfate Fertilizer Breads & Subway products
‘natural flavor’
Beaver anal glands Raspberry candies
vanilla flavored icecream
Human hair
duck feathers
Bread, dough conditioner
Allura Red AC Coal Tar Red candies, soda
Cellulose Wood pulp Foods with “dietary fiber”
bottled milkshakes, flour
shredded cheese
Lanolin, gum base Sheep secretions Bubble gum, shampoo/condit/soap
Silicon Dioxide Sand Wendy’s Chili, condensed milk, pudding, mustard, vinegar, American cheese
Rennet Calf stomach Cheeses
Shellac Beetle juice Cupcakes, shiny candies, sprinkles
Boiled bones, skin & connective tissues of cows, pigs & horses Jell-o
Barbacoa Cow face Tacos
Menudo ‘tripe’ or skin peeled off the cows stomach Mexican food
Worcestershire sauce Liquefied anchovies melted down in vinegar (bones & all)

Are you grossed out yet? Take a look at items listed in the FDA Defect Handbook. This is a list of food items that are permitted to have mold or insect parts based on their non-defect ratio. This is PUBLIC INFORMATION. Parts per million or not, I don’t want these things in my food.


Amount of ‘additive’ allowed per packaging serving

Apple Butter Rodent hairs, 5+ whole/equivalent insect parts per 100g (excludes mites, aphids, thrips, scale insects)
Apricots (Canned) 2% damaged/infected with insects
Berries (frozen, black & raspberry) 4+ larvae per 100 grams
Asparagus (Canned, frozen) 10% damaged/infested with insects
Broccoli (Frozen) 60+ aphids/thrips/mites per 100 grams
Brussel sprouts (frozen) 30+ aphids/thrips/mites per 100 grams
Ground capsicum Average 50+ insect parts per 25 grams
6+ rodent hairs per 25 grams
Group paprika Average 95+ insect fragments per 25 grams
11+ rodent hairs per 25 grams
Ground cinnamon 400+ insect fragments per 50 grams
11+ rodent hairs per 50 grams
Cocoa Beans Avg 10+ mg of mammalian excreta per pound
4% damaged by insects
Canned Sweet corn 2 or more 3mm insect larvae
Cornmeal 1+ whole insects per 50 grams
1+ rodent hair per 25 grams
Cumin seed 9.5% allowed to be ash
Curry powder Avg 100+ insect fragments per 25 grams
Dates (sliced, chopped) 10+ dead insects
Figs 10% infested with insects
Macaroni/noodle products 225 insect fragments per 225 grams
(AKA 1 insect fragment per gram!)
Nutmeg (Whole) 10% infested by insects
Nutmeg (ground) 100+ insects per 10 grams
Black olives 10% infested by fruit flies
Oregano 1250 parts per 10 grams
Peanut Butter 30+ insect parts per 10 grams
Peas (black eyed) 10% infested by insects
Pepper (ground) Avg 475+ insect parts per 50grams
Raisins (gold) 35 Drosophilia eggs per 8 ounces
Sage (ground) 200+ insect fragments per 110 grams
Sauerkraut 50+ thrips per 100 grams
Thyme (ground) 925 insect fragments per 25 grams
Tomatoes (canned) 10+ fly eggs, 2+ maggots per 500 grams
Tomato puree 20+ fly eggs per 100 grams

Maybe you’ll think twice before you head to the grocery store, no? I can’t think of a better argument for local foods and homegrown products–Anything without a bar code. You can find a local market close to you here.