Invloed aspartaamindustrie op het Wetenschappelijk Comité voor de Voeding (SCF) van de Europese Commissie
* Door: Mark D. Gold *Aspartame Toxicity Information Center*
12 East Side Dr., Suite 2-18
Concord, New Hampshire, 02139 USA
Vertaling: Ed Gunneweg
Onafhankelijke analyse van het "Oordeel van de Europese Commissie, wetenschappelijk comité voor de voeding: Update over de veiligheid van aspartaam / E951" (SCF 2002)
* "Aspartame Toxicity Information Center" werd opgericht door Mark D. Gold. Er werd geen subsidie ontvangen van de voedingsindustrie voor enig werk verricht door de auteur of door het 'Aspartame Toxicity Information Center'.
B. ADD/ADHD and Behavior Research: Aspartaam and Children
The Committee cited numerous Aspartaam industry-sponsored studies on Aspartaam and behavior, mood, and learning in children (Shaywitz 1994, Saravis 1990, Wolraich 1994). The first questions the Committee should have asked are: "What is being seen clinically in relation to food and behavior/learning issues in children"? What is working in research and in clinical settings related to food and behavior/learning issues"? Without knowledge of independent studies and clinical aspects related to food and behavior, the Committee is susceptible to accepting any Aspartaam industry- sponsored study, no matter how irrelevant or poorly designed.
Summarizing the independent research related to food and behavior in children:
Kaplan (1989) reported a > 50% improvement in behavioral measurement and some non-behavioral measurements in a 10-week, blinded crossover study in preschool-age, hyperactive boys. The experimental diet removed monosodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, caffeine, substances reported by the family to cause reactions. The diet was low in simple sugars and eliminated dairy if the family reported a history of problems with cow’s milk.
Boris (1994) conducted a study where reactive foods, dyes, and artificial colors were removed from the diets of children with ADHD. In addition, a double-blind, placebo-controlled challenge was conducted. 73% of the children responded favorably to the diet change.
Carter (1993) designed an elimination diet (removing reactive foods/substances) for 78 children with hyperactive behavior. 59 children improved during the trial period. For 19 of the children, it was possible to disguise certain foods or additives and reliably provoke behavioral problems in a placebo-controlled, double-blind challenge.
Egger (1985, 1992) found that an elimination diet significantly improved behavior and reduced or eliminated bed-wetting in hyperactive children. Artificial colorants and preservatives were the most common provoking substance, but all of the children reacted to more than just colorants and preservatives.
Dengate (2002) treated 27 children with a diet that excludes food additives, natural salicylates, amines and glutamates. Their behavior improved significantly. The subjects were then tested by introducing one food additive. A significantly higher percentage of the subjects who took the additive had worsening behavior as compared to when they were ingesting the placebo.
Schmidt (1997) tested an "oligoantigenic diet" (a non-allergenic, simple foods diet) on 49 hyperactive children in a placebo-controlled, double- blind study. In this experiment, only 24% of the children had significant behavioral improvement (relative to the control diet conditions), but the amount of positive changes in behavior was about the same as those who received Ritalin.
Swanson (1980) gave 20 hyperactive and 20 non-hyperactive children a diet free of artificial food dyes and other additives for 5 days. Large oral doses of food dyes and placebo were then given to the children. The hyperactive children had impaired learning tests compared to the placebo group.
Conners (1976) conducted a double-blind crossover trial eliminating artificial flavors, colors, and natural salicylates as recommended by the Feingold Association. Fifteen hyperactive children were tested. The teachers noted a highly significant reduction of symptoms on the Feingold diet. Both parents and teachers reported fewer symptoms on the Feingold diet.
Brenner (1977) tested 59 children diagnosed with hyperactivity and minimal brain dysfunction syndrome. 32 children stayed on the diet. Of those 32 children, 11 improved markedly. While there was no control group or placebo in this study, the researchers stated that "startling changes seen in patients who had been followed for years with other forms of therapy suggest strongly that this improvement was genuine."
Salzman (1976) tested 15 hyperactive children with the Feingold K-P diet. "93% responded with improved behavior in areas of overactivity, distractability, impulsiveness and excitability. Sleep and enuresis problems were resolved partially or completely."
Rose (1978) tested artificial food colors on two girls who had been on the Feingold K-P diet for 11 months. There was an significant increase in hyperactive behaviors with ingestion of artificial food colors as compared to the placebo.
In a study conducted by the David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre in the UK, 277 children were given a mixture of artificial food colorings or placebo (Foodcomm 2002). While the stenardized behavioral tests showed no differences, the parents of the children noticed significant behavioral differences while the children were in their natural environment.
Well-known Pediatrician and ADD Expert, Dr. Doris Rapp reports that customized changes to diet, including the removal of various reactions foods and chemicals improves approximately 80% of her patients (Rapp 2002).
Central Alternative High School in Appleton, Wisconsin reported a large improvement in behavioral problems after removing vending machines (that contain junk food, Aspartaam- and sugar-containing beverages, etc.) (Appleton 2002).
It is obvious from independent research and clinical experience that it is the removal multiple offending items (additives, preservatives, colorings, certain sweeteners, monosodium glutamate, foods that cause allergic or intolerance reactions, etc.) that successfully and significantly reduces behavioral problems and even some non-behavioral problems in children.
The Aspartaam industry designs research on a relatively small number of children who may have behavioral, learning, and mood reactions to a variety of additives, foods, sweeteners (including Aspartaam) and rather than eliminating all of the offending substances (as seen to work in the independent research and clinical settings), they just manipulate one ingredient (Aspartaam or sugar). For behavioral issues in children, the manipulation of one ingredient (that the child may or may not have behavioral reactions to after short-term use) will only prove successful in a very small percentage of cases. For the Aspartaam industry, the small number of children in their tests, the fact that they split adverse effects into multiple categories and use average values on the behavioral and cognitive tests makes it nearly impossible to find any "statistically significant" link between Aspartaam and behavioral problems.
Aspartaam and Other Effects
At least half a dozen of my patients have reported back with positive feedback after discontinuing Aspartaam. To give a few examples-
1.) A 60 year old, non-diabetic, obese lady was on Equal (regularly in her tea & coffee) for the last 1-2 years to loose weight. She had c/o breathlessness and chronic fatigue. Within 2 weeks of discontinuing Equal, above symptoms disappeared and in her own words, she feels quite fit now.
2.) A 54 year old diabetic male with cataracts & severe proliferative diabetic retinopathy was on daily Equal for about a year. He had c/o of severe fatigue, mood swings with irritability & short temper (according to his wife). His retinopathy has been worsening fairly rapidly. I just saw him again 5 days back after he had discontinued Equal for about a month. Except for his visual problems he feels well. His fatigue has gone & he has become 'calm like before' according to his wife.
3.) A 34 year old lady was on Equal for the last 3-4 years to keep slim. Her daily consumption was limited to about 2 pills with 2 cups of tea. Since 2 months, as she was preparing for some exams, her consumption of tea had gone up to 5-6 cups per day with corresponding rise in Equal intake. She is related to me & I immediately got her off it about 10 days ago. She rang me up last Sunday to thank me because she felt well. Moreover she noticed that the hunger she felt in between meals was gone. (Barua 1996)
he Committee neglected to report on relief of fibromyalgia symptoms after elimination of Aspartaam and other dietary excitotoxins (Smith 2001). They did not mention an independent study related to Aspartaam and dizziness in humans (Gulya 1992). They neglected to mention independent research related to Aspartaam and memory loss (Orange 1998, Konen 2000). Brief mention was made of the study by Dr. Ralph Walton showing a significant increase in adverse symptoms from Aspartaam ingestion in patients with depression (Walton 1993). But like all independent studies it was discounted by the Committee for 1) having too few subjects (even though there were more subjects than many of the studies the Committee accepted) and 2) looking at an overall increase in adverse reaction rate rather than splitting the reactions into the 26 separate categories that were recorded.
The Committee also neglected to report on some of the other symptoms reported in the medical literature such as panic attacks (Drake 1986), Lobular Panniculitis (McCauliffe 1991), Granulomatous Panniculitis (Novick 1995), diabetic complications (Roberts 1988b), joint pain (Roberts 1991), vision loss (Roberts 1988a, Raiford 1987), and many other serious adverse symptoms reported from Aspartaam use in documents written by independent clinicians (Dorway 2003, NM 2003)
The Committee reported that two short Aspartaam industry-funded studies related to allergic-like effects of Aspartaam showed no statistically significant effects (Garriga 1991, Geha 1993). The Committee neglected to mention that Kulczycki (1995) declined to take part in the Geha (1993) study due to significant flaws in the study design that "probably tended to discourage the participation of the subjects who were likely to be allergic to Aspartaam." Kulczycki (1995) was able to easily find subjects reporting allergic-like effects from Aspartaam and conducted his own double-blind testing. He found that Aspartaam caused problems in four of the six subjects he tested with double-blind methodology. There were several other flaws in the Geha (1993) study that were discussed by Kulczycki (1995).
Medical problems that you believe are caused from using Aspartaam:
Migraines, memory loss, weight gain, rash all over body.
Why do you believe Aspartaam caused these problems?
Because whenever I would eat or drink something with Nutrasweet in them within 30 minutes I would get a horrible migraine and my skin would turn red. I also felt really "strange", almost like I was drugged.
Did the symptoms go away when you stopped using the products?
Yes! Completely. I have not had anything with Aspartaam in it for 5 years now. I avoid it like the plague. (ATIC 1998)
The Committee report mentioned that there were a number of studies focusing on the effects of Aspartaam on hunger and food intake (e.g., Rolls 1996, Keners 1996). The Committee mentioned Aspartaam industry-sponsored studies that claimed no potential negative hunger or food intake consequences, but they did not mention that Lavin (1997) found that females with eating restraint had a higher Calorie intake subsequent to Aspartaam intake as opposed to sugar or water intake.
Persons ingesting Aspartaam are being exposure to significant amounts of formaldehyde that has been shown by independent research to accumulate throughout the body. Chronic, low-level exposure to formaldehyde (even without accumulation) has been shown in human research to cause irreversible genetic damage, headaches, seizures, neurobehavioral problems, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems, fatigue, chest pains, dizziness, etc. Exposure to a free-form excitotoxic amino acid from Aspartaam would be expected to worsen the adverse effects from chronic formaldehyde poisoning.
Aspartaam manufacturer-sponsored studies are designed in a way as to avoid the possibility of finding adverse effects, yet the Committee accepted these studies without any question. In contrast, nearly all independent research on Aspartaam in animals or humans has found that Aspartaam can cause problems.
Human studies and clinical reports published in the medical literature linking Aspartaam use to fibromyalgia, seizures, panic attacks, mania, brain cancer, migraines / headaches, vertigo, symptoms related to depression, memory loss, hives, irregular heart beats, vision loss, and numerous of symptoms were largely ignored by the Committee.
It appears that the Committee obtained most of its information from Aspartaam industry public relations books that they repeatedly cited (Stegink 1984, Tschanz 1996), published reviews by manufacturer employees (Butchko 1994, Butchko 2001), a report from the French Food Agency (AFSSA 2002) written by some unknown individual(s), and perhaps the occasional published study, primarily manufacturer-sponsored studies. A significant amount of independent research was ignored, and when independent studies were mentioned, they were quickly labeled as flawed. There is evidence that the Committee did not read some or most of the research they cited and is only familiar with Aspartaam-related research from the Aspartaam manufacturer’s perspective.
It appears that there is far too much food industry influence on the Scientific Committee on Food. In fact, it would be unlikely that an unbiased review could be performed on Aspartaam, stevia or any other controversial food related subjects without refilling the Committee positions from scratch. New Committee members should meet the following criteria:
1. No food industry ties. Disclosure of past and current ties to the food industry.
2. History of ability to sten up to food industry interests when necessary.
3. Expertise in various specialties (e.g., neuroscience, toxicology, immunology, etc.).
4. Willingness to read all of the relevant research and hear both independent and food industry testimony.
MY PAINFUL EXPERIENCE WITH Aspartaam and ARTHRITIS
(From "The Preventive Diet" by Richard J. Sabates, M.D.)
"There is no better reading than the book of your own life." A terrible pain woke me up in the middle of the night. My right big toe was on fire, even the sheets rubbing against it caused excruciating pain. I could not remember any recent trauma to my foot, but the pain continued, persisting day after day.
My first wrong diagnosis, and as it turned out, not the last, was gout. This is a type of arthritis characterized by pain and swelling in the joints. I had blood drawn in my own office to confirm the diagnosis, which should have shown high levels of uric acid. While awaiting the results, I took large dosages of the anti-inflammatory medication Indocin, plus Colchicine. These two drugs are normally effective first line drugs in the treatment of an acute gouty flair up.
Days later I still had the pain and had begun to walk with a noticeable limp. The test results came back negative, to my great surprise and showed no uric acid reaction. The blood test also showed no other type of infection, it registered totally normal.
This was just the beginning of a long odyssey of self diagnosis and treatments. I experimented with physical therapy, hot soaks, ultrasound, and massages. I restricted my physical activity and elevated my foot on top of my desk between patients. After x-rays were taken, I argued with the radiologist, insisting that he find something wrong, even though I knew perfectly well that the x-rays were negative. A few weeks later, the throbbing pain stopped in my foot and literally moved to my right hip. The limp was even worse. I could not even enter my car properly. I had to dive backward into the seat like I often had seen my father do after his hip replacement surgery.
I repeated every possible blood test. I checked rheumatoid factors, lupus, syphilis, parasites and even had an HIV test. All this time, I continued limping, popping pain pills and denying the obvious - that a doctor had no idea what was wrong with himself.
I stubbornly continued to think that I could decipher this illness myself. I dusted off my old textbooks and voraciously read all the latest arthritis journals. I remembered that high dosages of vitamin A may cause a similar arthritic syndrome, so I stopped taking all my vitamin A supplements.
Being a preventive physician, I started taking natural anti- inflammatories such as Bromelaine, Chondroitin Sulfate, and the oils GLA and EPA, as well as large dosages of vitamin C. All of these natural substances I had used for years in my medical practice, with good results. Finally I broke down and asked for help. First I consulted a long time friend of mine, Dr. Herbert Pardell. After a thorough examination and review of my extensive lab tests and x-rays, he diagnosed septic arthritis . He speculated that my ailment may have had an infectious origin, so I embarked on a fruitless regimen of anti- bacterial agents. Under the guide of Dr. Pardell I took strong antibiotics such as Tetracycline, Ampicillin and Flagyl for several months, without any results.
From the right hip, the pain migrated to my right shoulder. I could not even comb my hair. Dr. Pardell injected me with an anti- inflammatory substance named Sarapin, an excellent natural product for the treatment of bursitis. But after the anesthesia wore off, the pain returned.
I then consulted a well known orthopedic specialist, who recommended another stronger antibiotic (Cipro). He diagnosed atypical rheumatoid arthritis, though he was uncertain exactly what my ailment was.
Several weeks later I went to a chiropractor. The good doctor examined me. He assured me that my ailment was due to a problem in my neck and my back. He then adjusted me and I thanked him and left his office with the same pain with which I had come.
During my studies, it occurred to me that I may have contracted Lyme Disease. This rare illness is transmitted by an insect bite. I live on a ranch outside of Miami and have several horses. Perhaps I had been bitten some sort of insect. I had more blood drawn looking specifically for Lyme Disease - came back negative.
Two months later something happened that scared me even more. I noticed loss of vision in my left eye. It was cloudy, as if I had cataracts. I quickly consulted an ophthalmologist an optometrist in my immediate family,. Both, after carefully examining me declared that I had perfect vision. They found nothing wrong with me. Interestingly, both were surprised that at my age pushing fifty, I did not need eye glasses. The lens of the eye usually hardens with age and the majority of people need glasses after age 40. I reminded them that the use of certain vitamins and antioxidants retards the aging process and that I would probably never need to use glasses. They laughed and said: "We will see you back in a couple of years to fit you for glasses."
The pain continued to plague me. From my right shoulder, the pain shifted to my left shoulder. Again, I had more x-rays, this time chest x-rays. I had more blood drawn, and again, all tests proved negative. I resigned myself to the possibility that I had some sort of hidden cancer. I remember being depressed and not being able to concentrate on my work. I had general fatigue and my hens would fall asleep, especially after waking up. I had to clap my hens in the morning just to get the feeling back. At that time, I thought my symptoms of depression were caused by my inability to cope with this terrible affliction. I had no idea that all my symptoms may have been the result of the same illness.
Eight months had passed since the start of my arthritis. My research uncovered an article in a publication called The Townsend Letter, written in May, l991. This small publication is dedicated to discussing medical conditions and how they relate to nutrition and unorthodox therapies. Frequently, preventive physicians contribute interesting articles. Numerous articles in The Townsend Letter have been previously turned down by the most prestigious medical journals because they advocate the use of vitamins, minerals and alternative treatments not yet proven to the satisfaction of mainstream medicine.
I read an article titled "Joint Pains Associated with the use of Aspartaam," written by Dr. H. J. Roberts, M.D., of West Palm Beach, Florida. In his introduction, he referred to the fact that the article had been turned down for publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association. With much interest but very little hope, I read Dr. Roberts describe 58 cases of multi-articular arthritis associated with the use of Aspartaam (NutraSweet). All symptoms subsided after the patients discontinued using the artificial sweetener. The pain returned when he reintroduced Aspartaam.
Could it be that this product approved by the FDA and used by millions of people could be responsible for my arthritis? Could it be something so simple? I doubted it.
At that time I consumed large quantities of Aspartaam, and like many people across the country, had a running battle with my weight. When hurricane enrew ripped through South Florida, I used my two week vacation to help out in the community. I opened a small clinic in a partially damaged church where there was no water or electricity. We slept on the floor and all we had to eat were canned foods, colas and ham and cheese senwiches. During this time, I gained more than 1 0 pounds. When I returned home I started a crash diet, including Aspartaam products. My diet consisted of two to four yogurts a day, "lite" of course. I would add Aspartaam to my Cuban coffee, as well as occasionally drink protein shakes sweetened with Aspartaam. I reread Dr. Roberts article and started to believe that maybe Aspartaam could be the cause of my arthritis.
Dr. Roberts article narrated the story of a 62 year old patient that had pain in all his joints. The man regularly used eight packets of Aspartaam a day among the coffee, hot chocolate and gelatins in his diet. This patient also complained of loss of vision in one eye, headaches, hen cramps, irritability and a feeling of sleepiness during the day. Interestingly enough, he had gained 30 pounds instead of losing weight. When he stopped using Aspartaam, all his symptoms disappeared in just a few weeks.
I nearly fell off my chair when I read this. This must be it. Full of renewed hope, I stopped my daily yogurt and called Dr. Roberts in West Palm Beach. The doctor spoke to me at length and told me his frustrating story of trying to alert the community of the Aspartaam problem he uncovered. He had tried to publish his article not only in JAMA, but also in three other publications. Each turned him down. He suggested that the principle cause of this denial was money. The manufacturers of these drugs spend million of dollars in advertising and promotion to position their products in the medical community. Sometimes they are even able to exert editorial control and block unfavorable articles concerning their products. Dr. Roberts also told me that he had published a book titled "Sweetener Dearest" in an effort to alert the general population of the problems associated with this artificial sweetener.
My improvement was a lot slower than I wished, but little by little the pains became less intense and I began to engage in all my previously normal physical activities. Small tasks such as combing my hair and raising and lowering the glass of my car window to throw a coin in the Turnpike toll became very significant milestones in my life.
Two months after I began treatment, all my pains had disappeared though I was still troubled by my left eye. As a doctor, I knew that I had not proven that my particular arthritis was caused by Aspartaam. It may be a coincidence that my pains had disappeared. So I decided to be a scientist with all the risks this carried. First of all, I risked suffering the terrible pains again just to attain some sort of causal proof. and second, if the pains did not return, I would again worry about my mysterious illness. I started my Aspartaam loaded diet as a test, consuming colas, yogurts, gelatins and ice creams.
It was with a mixture of happiness and sadness that I woke up the very next day with the familiar throbbing pain, this time in my shoulder.
These events took place several years ago. My vision has returned to around 100% normal. The pains are all gone, yet I know that my joints have suffered permanent damage. All damaged joints, through accidents, sports or arthritic processes, attract calcium and fibrin to the tissues that in the long run may cause permanent arthritic changes. All arthritic process liberates the so-called free radicals, toxic substances that erode the tissue. The only protection against them are antioxidants, especially ones that form SOD. I now take extra dosages of antioxidants and try to apply the lessons that I learned with my arthritis experience.
1. I learned that sugar, even when used excessively (sometimes causing terrible health problems) is after all, a natural substance that our immune system recognizes. Never again will I touch artificial sweeteners and I will try to educate my patients as to the very important reasons why.
2. In an effort to substitute nature through chemistry, all adulterated foods have a great possibility (sooner or later) of eventually producing toxic or allergic reactions in certain groups of people.
3. The FDA is intimately related to the pharmaceutical industry. It is important to let the consumers know that many retired FDA officials go to work as special counselors to the pharmaceutical industry. FDA Commissioner Dr. Charles C. Edwards has said " It is not our purpose to endanger the financial interest of the pharmaceutical companies."
4. FDA ex -commissioner Dr. Robert Liz put it more directly. "What bothers me most is that people believe that the FDA is protecting them....