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[Author's introduction: With regard to the class-action suits about aspartame discussed in this article, three originate in New York and three in California. If you are in these states and used aspartame to lose weight but gained instead, you can become part of these class-action suits. In California, you can contact Jack Fitzgerald (email@example.com) and if you are in New York, you can contact Derek Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).]
The most egregious and glaring thing looming over all parts of this vital consumer-protection and class-action-suits discussion is that the soft-drink companies knew BEFORE they marketed cola with aspartame that it would cause an obesity epidemic. In fact, for many good reasons, like not wanting the liability from their products being metabolized as methanol and formaldehyde, they objected to the forced FDA approval for aspartame for soft drinks, the second part of Donald Rumsfeld's FDA coup, which took place in 1983, thus leading directly to the birth of the diet-beverage industry.
From the protest of the National Soft Drink Association (now American Beverage): "Aspartame has been demonstrated to inhibit the carbohydrate-induced synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin (from the affidavit by MIT Professor Richard Wurtman):
"Serotonin blunts the sensation of craving carbohydrates and thus is part of the body's feedback system that helps limit consumption of carbohydrate to appropriate levels. Its inhibition by aspartame could lead to the anomalous result of a diet product causing increased consumption of carbohydrates."
Dr. Richard Wurtman of MIT had a lot more
to say, as you will see in the entire protest: http://www.rense.com/general96/pepsi.htm
Even though Dr. Wurtman is no longer willing to even speak about the harm done by aspartame, he did in fact create an extensive paper trail incorporated into his definitive book:
Some of his concerns were part of the Soft Drink Association's own protest!
"Searle has not met its burden of demonstrating to a
reasonable certainty that the unlimited use of aspartame, especially in
combination with carbohydrates, will not adversely affect human health. The
questions posed by Dr. Wurtman are significant because of the seriousness of
the potential effects (e.g., changes in blood pressure) and because of
aspartame's anticipated widespread use--use that includes consumption by
potentially vulnerable sub-groups, such as children, pregnant women, and
hypertensives. Dr. Wurtman's concerns are shared by other distinguished
scientific experts in this field (affidavits attached). It is Searle's legal
burden to submit data sufficient to resolve the concerns."
After being on the market for over three decades, we have witnessed the problems discussed by Dr. Wurtman come to pass. In the eight-month investigation of aspartame by United Press International correspondent Greg Gordon, Dr. Wurtman says he was threatened by the Vice President of G. D. Searle to the effect that if he did a study on aspartame and seizures, then his research funds would be denied. They were. Here is that investigation:
There is a research front group, ILSI (International Life Sciences Institute), a nonprofit[501c3] science organization founded in 1978 and headquartered in Washington, DC, United States. It is a member organization whose members are primarily food and beverage, agricultural, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies. According to its 2009 annual report,[68% of its revenue comes from member support; 17% from grants and contributions; and the balance from publications, conference registration, and other sources. According to ILSI's bylaws, 51% of its Board of Trustees must come from the public sector, primarily universities and agri/food companies such as Monsanto, Nestle and Coca-Cola [board of trustees, ILSI 2015 annual report].
Yet even with this kind of skewed corporate background and manipulation, their mission sounds ludicrous: "According to its website, ILSI's mission is to "improve public health and well-being by engaging academic, government, and industry scientists in a neutral forum to advance scientific understanding in the areas related to nutrition, food safety, risk assessment, and the environment." It further identifies "Four Global Issues" of specific interest, which are: biotechnology; functional foods; obesity; and risk assessment. ILSI conducts original research, publishes research, and organizes scientific conferences to achieve its mission."
As someone told me from the Atlanta office, "they are not independent - you get the results you want or you don't get the money". The woman calling worked for ILSI, became quite ill because of aspartame consumption, and didn't know what to do.
Could it be that the real reason G. D. Searle didn't want any more studies done on aspartame causing seizures was because they had already had someone do those studies! A 52-week oral-toxicity study on seven infant monkeys showed that five had grand-mal seizures and one died. Monsanto, which bought G. D. Searle, also had a study done on aspartame and seizures. They were so afraid someone would have a seizure they had 16 of 18 people taking anti-seizure medication, and gave them one capsule of aspartame for a one-day study. It's called the Rowen study: