Doctor's Note

I’ve previously touched on artificial sweeteners before:

The healthiest caloric sweeteners are blackstrap molasses and date sugar (whole dried powdered dates). The healthiest low-calorie sweetener is probably erythritol (Erythritol May Be a Sweet Antioxidant).

Coffee may decrease suicide and cancer risk (Preventing Liver Cancer with Coffee? and Coffee and Cancer) but may impair blood flow to the heart (Coffee and Artery Function).

Other ways to improve mood include:

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  • Daniel Wagle

    Yes, consume whole foods and far fewer processed foods. However, you still have to be concerned about the pesticides and herbicides that might be on the apple, for instance. Possibly one way to be even better than whole foods is to grow one’s own whole foods without the use of chemicals. I don’t personally do this, but this is how to be really safe.

    • brec

      I haven’t been concerned as yet; do I “have to be”? Can anyone kindly share (links to) some evidence that there are dangerous levels of pesticides on store-bought produce?

      • Dasaniyum
        • brec

          Please see my comment over there as to why I was not persuaded by that video. Summary: Seralini.

      • guest

        Why subject your liver to “any” level of pesticides?

        • brec

          Cost-benefit. I regard growing my own food as hugely expensive (not just monetarily), even more so without pesticides. Much easier to rinse store-bought.

          • Jocelyn

            Then I guess that is your choice to make. All Dr. G and others can do is show you the data. No one will/can persuade you. So, do what you feel is best for you, and others will do the same.

          • guest

            You can’t wash of the phosphate fertilizers (plants on steroids!) that plants absorb as nutrients (artificial) that
            end up getting absorbed by you.

          • brec

            Is the rock phosphate used by organic farmers artificial?

            Anyway, still looking for evidence that grocery produce contains dangerous levels of pesticides.

          • Carlo

            Brec…This might give you an answer about rock phosphate:


          • Susan

            Most organic farmers use compost as both fertilizer and to add workability to the soil. As an organic gardener, I used to add green sand, poultry manure, blood and bone meal –but that was 40 years ago. Today, I don’t because of the possibility of genetically modified organisms and herbicides contaminating it. Now red wiggler worms eat my garbage and turn it into gold. My plants love it.

        • bex

          Because pesticides are EVERYWHERE. Even if you eat nothing but organic foods you’ll get pesticides walking down the street in any city that maintains parks. If you don’t toughen up your liver you’re weakening your overall health.

          • ShaneJax

            So you’re going to down a 12 pack of beer every night to “toughen” up your liver? Sounds like a brilliant theory…

          • Jocelyn

            Eating organic isn’t ONLY about our own bodies and health. Just because you may still be exposed to pesticides because they are so rampantly used is, in my opinion, not a good reason not to support organic producers. It is about supporting business that do not pollute the world we live in (as much), and I personally think that is a worth while goal. Maybe not for our health, but for the health of the earth and future generations.

          • bex

            Indeed… I agree and I eat mostly organic mainly because its a signal that these farmers care more about the big picture than profits, and thus are less likely to screw me over as a consumer.

      • Thea

        brec: Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) measures actual pesticide levels in store-bought fruits and veggies–after those fruits and veggies have been prepared in the way people would normally eat them. (For example, peeling a banana or washing an apple first.) If you scroll down on the following page, you will see a list for the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen”. But more than that, I believe you can find the raw data in a detailed report somewhere on that site. They are up-front about their methodology…

        Knowing the levels of pesticides in store-bought conventional produce is of course, only half the question. The other half is deciding whether or not those levels are harmful to your health (or the health of the plant and fellow people if that sort of thing matters to you). I can’t answer that for you. The EWG has this to say:

        “Pesticides are toxic by design. They are created expressly to kill living organisms — insects, plants and fungi that are considered “pests.” Many pesticides pose health dangers to people. These risks have been confirmed by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.

        As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:

        >> brain and nervous system toxicity
        >> cancer
        >> hormone disruption
        >> skin, eye and lung irritation

        But they didn’t list their sources on their FAQ page.

        Dr. Greger has the following to say, which I personally find a compelling reason to stay away from conventionaly grown produce (at least the dirty dozen) as much as possible:

        “A new study calculated that if half the U.S. population ate just one more serving of conventional fruits and vegetables, 20,000 cases of cancer could be prevented. At the same time the added pesticide consumption could cause up to 10 extra cancer cases. So by eating conventional produce we may get a tiny bump in cancer risk, but that’s more than compensated by the dramatic drop in risk that accompanies whole food plant consumption. Even if all we had to eat was the most contaminated produce the benefits would far outweigh any risks.”


        Hope that helps.

        • brec

          Looks to me like it ain’t “actual pesticide levels” that the EWG is measuring. As to their “Dirty Dozen” reports and methodology, see:
 — J Toxicol. 2011; 2011: 589674.
          Dietary Exposure to Pesticide Residues from Commodities Alleged to Contain the Highest Contamination Levels.

          Here’s a slice:

          The methodology used to create the “Dirty Dozen” list does not appear to
          follow any established scientific procedures. Only one of the six indicators used by the EWG crudely considers the amount of pesticide residue detected on the various commodities, and that indicator fails to
          relate exposures to such residues with established health criteria. Another indicator considers the percentage of samples found to be positive for pesticide residues. The remaining four indicators seem
          related as all appear to focus upon the existence of residues of multiple pesticides (percent of samples with two or more pesticides, average number of pesticides found on a single sample, maximum number of pesticides found on a single sample, and total number of pesticides found on the commodity)

          Here’s the concluding paragraph:

          In summary, findings conclusively demonstrate that consumer exposures to the ten most frequently detected pesticides on EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” commodity list are at negligible levels and that the EWG methodology is insufficient to allow any meaningful rankings among commodities. We concur with EWG President Kenneth Cook who maintains that “We recommend that people eat healthy by eating more fruits and vegetables, whether conventional or organic” [1], but our findings do not indicate that substituting organic forms of the “Dirty Dozen” commodities for conventional forms will lead to any measurable consumer health benefit.

          Two other discussions of the EWG reports on the BioFortified blog:

 — Details on the Dirty Dozen by Anastasia Bodnar on 30 July 2010

 — How Wrong Is The Latest “Dirty Dozen List?” by Steve Savage on 19 May 2013

          As to the study Dr. G mentions in the article you cited: TEN (10) cases of cancer among HALF THE U.S. POPULATION?! Is a risk of 10/150,000,000 — 0.000007% — per daily serving sufficient to motivate abstinence from store-bought produce? For me, it’s not.

          • Thea

            brec: For myself, I’m not qualified to know how valid those articles are that you found. For all I know, those articles are like the egg and other pro-animal studies that Dr. Greger has shown to actually be invalid. In other words, I would fully expect there to be opposition to the EWG data. What I don’t know is how valid it is.

            I’m glad you found information that you find compelling for yourself.

          • brec

            How did you validate the EWG reports?

          • Thea

            The same way I validate Dr. Greger or Dr. Barnard or the China Study or Global Climate Change information or anything that is outside my area of expertise. It’s a personal process that evolves and that I don’t feel a need to justify. But I would argue that such a process is all that any lay person can do when talking about topics such as this one.

          • brec

            I see. Not much point in discussing science then among us lay people.

          • Thea

            I disagree. There’s lots of good reason to discuss the science to the best of your ability based on your current understandings. That’s what we all do.

          • brec

            (1) You present EWG’s article(s) to make a point.
            (2) I present articles that rebut EWG’s methodology (and I summarize the rebuttals here); the articles make arguments which can be evaluated without reference to the credentials of the author(s).
            (3) You say you have no way to validate the articles, i.e., authors, I present.
            (4) I ask how you validated EWG’s.
            (5) You say,

            It’s a personal process that evolves and that I don’t feel a need to justify

            I conclude, sorry, it’s not possible to discuss scientific issues in that way.

            But keep up the good work!

          • Thea

            brec: I disagree with your point #2. In fact, I could go into a detailed discussion with you about this. I just don’t want to. I did my best to help you, and I actually did. I presented you with data from Dr. Greger which you found compelling in that you found it good reason to eat conventional produce. That’s good enough for me. I’m not trying to convince you to eat organic. I was just trying to help you make your own decision. I’m not interested in going any further than that even though I could. Sorry I wasn’t clearer in how I stated things.

            Scientific discussion is very good. It is why most of us are here. I learn more about the science on a variety of topics every day from a variety of sources. And I discuss these topics (when I’m interested) to the best of my ability – just like anyone else.

            Hope that helps to clarify things for you. As I said, I was just trying to help you. Take it or leave it. :-)

          • jj
          • jj

            Article name. The Flaw In The Dirty Dozen — by Jeff Novick, MS, RD

          • Thea

            jj: Thanks. That’s an interesting article. If I buy everything in the article, then my conclusion would be to try to eat organic as much as possible, not just focusing on the dirty dozen. (Which is really what I do already anyway.)

          • brec

            But more fully… there is no need to “validate” the articles I cited. They make simple arguments based on EWG’s methodologies; they are not reports of experiments or complex data analyses. Basically, EWG *counts* traces of pesticide residue without regard to the amount or level of residue. Such counts are what its rankings are based on. But the fact that a particular kind of fruit had more samples with any trace of pesticide — or traces of multiple pesticides, which they also count against a product — without accounting for the amount of pesticides potentially consumed, means nothing useful with respect to safety of consumption.

          • Veganrunner

            Well actually I disagree. Why would believe that the level of RfDs is actually a standard of measurement that is safe. Wouldn’t you need to validate that?

          • brec

            The level of RfDs (reference doses, i.e., EPA’s maximum tolerable consumption levels) is irrelevant to EWG’s rankings because they are based on counts of binary measurements — either none detected or any amount trace or greater detected; measurement of level(s) doesn’t enter in to their rankings. That is the only rebuttal required to reject EWG’s rankings for anyone who understands that levels are relevant to judgements of safety.

            It’s true that the articles I cited went on to claim that a further reason that EWG’s conclusions of “dirty” are bogus is that the levels of the supposed “dirty” products are way below RfDs. And you’re right about that being a point that could be delved into, including whether the RfDs have validity.

          • Veganrunner

            So Brecs’ article is using the “chronic reference doses (RfDs)” as a level in which to quantify the levels of pesticides in the EWG list. So they are saying the list has low levels as measured by the RfDs standards. But I think more important are the studies Dr Greger has referenced in regards to pesticides and herbicides and how they affect the body. I agree with you Thea. If you can afford it buy organic. Support the organic farmers and keep that crap out of our soils.

          • Susan

            The Environmental Working Group uses government data which complies with a ‘Consumer Right to Know’ provision of a 1996 law. “The law, which required the EPA inform people about possible hazards to their health brought about by consuming pesticides with their food. It ordered EPA to publish and distribute in grocery stores plain-English brochures that discussed the risks and benefits of pesticides on food. These brochures were to offer recommendations so shoppers could reduce their dietary exposures to pesticides. The agency published such a brochure in 1999, but it failed to detail the actual risks of pesticide exposures and give consumers clear information about the foods with the most pesticide
            residues to help them reduce their exposures. EPA stopped publishing it altogether in 2007..” according to the EWG.

            Back in 2006, the Bush-Cheney administration allowed corporations to remove any studies they did not like from the EPA libraries and closed the libraries. The Public Employees for Environmental Regulations sent press releases to the media on these events. This occurred before Congress was notified. P.E.E.R. says the long term goal was to eliminate the US EPA.

            “Today, EPA offers some information about pesticides and food on its website.
            But it does not list foods likely to contain the highest amounts of pesticide residues nor those that pose the greatest dangers to human health. Most importantly, the EPA does not offer the “right to know” information Congress required on behalf of consumers in 1996: how to avoid pesticide exposures while still eating a healthy diet.

            That’s where EWG comes in. Because the EPA has not complied with the
            Congressional mandate in full, for more than a decade EWG has published
            an annual guide to help people eat healthy and reduce their exposure to
            pesticides in produce. ” This information is at the Environmental Working Group website for the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

      • Susan The Environmental Working Group’s
        2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.™

        Factory farmed livestock are fed soy and corn, both of which have been genetically engineered (or modified) to resist Roundup herbicide, but other herbicides as well, including but not limited to dicamba, 2,4-D, and glufosinate. was used with LibertyLink corn and the fields were so contaminated that many countries won’t accept any corn grown on those fields. Plus the toxicity of the LibertyLink corn. This is because of the genetically engineered LibertyLink corn, according to retired professor Don Huber (from) Purdue University and consultant to many farmers. Dr. Huber has read a mountain of studies from all over the world when he comes making his conclusions. He cited LibertyLink in an interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola in October of 2013.

      • Susan

        Brec, “..In 2009 alone, approximately 1.5 million American men, women, and children were diagnosed with cancer, and 562,000 died from the disease. With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action. To jumpstart this national effort, The President’s Cancer Panel (authorized by President Bush) dedicated its
        2008–2009 activities to examining the impact of environmental factors on cancer risk. The Panel considered industrial, occupational, and agricultural exposures as well as exposures related to medical practice, military activities, modern lifestyles, and natural sources. In addition, key regulatory, political, industrial, and cultural barriers to understanding and reducing environmental and occupational carcinogenic exposures were identified. The attached report
        presents the Panel’s recommendations to mitigate or eliminate these barriers.
        The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is
        On pages 11 and 12 is an introduction on “Exposure to Contaminants from Agricultural Sources.” On page 56, cited is “Atrazine, a widely used herbicide believed to have endocrine-disrupting and possible carcinogenic properties, was banned by the EU in October 2003 because of its ubiquitous
        and unpreventable water contamination.109 The same month, the EPA approved the continued use of atrazine in the U.S…”

        “Exposure to Contaminants from Agricultural Sources” [chapter 2] starts on page 77 of the original report.

        On page 83, “Phosphate fertilizers are often contaminated with cadmium and are responsible for significant cadmium soil and water contamination. Fertilized soils have been found to have two to six times the cadmium concentration of nearby unfertilized land.24 In the food supply, cadmium is most highly concentrated in grains and seafood. For decades, residents of Southern Louisiana have had pancreatic cancer rates markedly higher than the national average.2
        Cadmium appears to be the common factor in the research which has demonstrated an association of rural residence, dietary factors (high
        consumption of rice, seafood, and pork), and cigarette smoking with higher pancreatic cancer risk, particularly among persons of Acadian (Cajun) ancestry.247 This is because rice fields are treated with cadmium containing phosphate fertilizers which are taken up by the rice, the predominant starch in Cajun diets. Then, the fields are flooded again for the growing of crawfish (crayfish)….Urinary cadmium excretion levels in studied Louisiana pancreatic cancer patients have been found to be more than four-fold higher than control subjects..”
        More at:

  • guest

    I’ve had same detrimental experiences (depression) using white sugar, brown-sugar, and other natural sweeteners.

  • elsie blanche

    And another epic video.

    Yes, you are closing out the year in top form. I hope you continue to publish more on today’s topic, as far as how foods, beverages, ingredients, additives, sweeteners, etc. effect the brain and mood.

  • Tobias Brown

    Is Erythritol, another no calorie sugar alternative, still clear for take off? Is this a safe sugar alternative? (My local vegan store started selling date syrup recently, which is made from 100% dates. Any chance of a review in the future? Looks like date syrup isn’t anything new.)

    • KWD

      Dr. Greger’s last video on erythritol in 2012: was positive on the sweetener and hopefully he’ll let us know if that changes.

      As far as the date syrup, I guess it would depend on whether or not the entire date is used. Dr. Greger talks about date sugar being an excellent whole food sweetener because it’s 100% whole ground dates. Not knowing how the packaged date syrup is sold – it could be made from 100% dates but have the fiber removed – I did a quick search and found a recipe to make date syrup at home that calls for soaking whole dates and then blending them with some water to make a honey-like paste – so this too would be a whole food sweetener akin to date sugar but instead of being dusty like date sugar it would be spreadable. Sounds like something I want to try!

      • Tobias Brown

        It seems too clear and sweet to be simply ground. The ingredients says just dates though.

        More research indicates that there’s nothing new about this syrup, though it’s the first time I’ve seen or heard of it. Shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how they make it.

        Yes, they simply boil dates and then strain it. So, most of the fiber is gone. I imagine it’s not much more healthy than plain sugar, though I’d love to know I’m very incorrect here. :)

        • Thea

          Tobias: After you posted about it the first time, I took a look at their website. It was interesting in that they say that the product has *nothing* added to it – not even water. So, I’m thinking that they are starting out with fresh, wet-style dates and squeezing out the juice like one would to make orange juice. I don’t know this for a fact. I’m just guessing. I’m definitely curious what sort of processing they go through to make it.

          • Tobias Brown

            My neighbor from Egypt who runs a food shop explained to me once that they have these unbelievable dates (maybe in Egypt) that have a thin crusty exterior and an interior that’s very gooey, like a nectar that pours out like honey. Though I’ve never seen these and I’ve looked for them on YouTube.

          • Thea

            Oooh. I’d love to try that!

      • And how about Truvía sold in big boxes at CostCo? First ingredient is erythritol, second: Stevia. MUCH less expensive that Whole Foods packages of ZERO, their erythritol. Thank you all, and now KWD for your responses!

        • Tobias Brown

          Thanks for mentioning this. I’m tired of paying so much for E. And spelling it’s a bitch too. Seems Stevia isn’t rated badly. And the word sounds very cool, like hey gal, where’s your Stevia?

        • john stratos

          I would suggest Organic Sugar Cane as a sweetener as well I really think is less processed than the others. I live in Costa Rica and here there is a lot of sugar cane

        • john stratos

          I would suggest Organic Sugar Cane as a sweetener as well I really think
          is less processed than the others. I live in Costa Rica and here there
          is a lot of sugar cane, or the other option would be to get use to bitter taste foods or drinks and not use sugar at all.

  • lucidity

    Dr. Greger, I hope you’ll continue the research on aspartame. I’ve suffered from constant tingling of my feet, hands, and face since January. Doctor’s diagnosis is peripheral neuropathy of unknown cause, but I’ve recently learned that aspartame can also cause these symptoms, as well as tinnitus, light sensitivity, and memory problems. I’ve been aspartame-free for 3 weeks, but I’ve read that it can take as long as 60 days before the symptoms improve. For more information, see:

    • Marianne

      Gluten can also cause peripheral neuropathy! There is a really great description of this in Grain Brain by David Perlmutter M.D. Dr. Tom O’Brien also talks about similar effects of gluten. Good luck!

    • guest

      Don’t mix any fats with starches or carbs. Eat fruit alone. Eat beans (no soy) with greens, steamed vegetables. But if you are going to eat nuts or seeds, eat small amounts, and sparingly. No added oils either. This has helped me. Low fat, lots of fruit, no sugar or sweeteners (even the natural sweeteners and dried fruit.

    • Matthew Smith

      Dr. Greger might suggest that saturated fat or cholesterol from animals could also be to blame. “This study indicated that, in all probability, MS is caused largely by consumption of saturated animal fat.” Perhaps MS, Parkinsons, Fibromalgia, and other neurological disorders are caused by eating animal product. The vegan diet was so effective, it was a cure.

  • frannieOh

    Just found out the migraine medicine I take, generic Maxalt-MLT, Rizatriptan, contains aspartame! Now I’d like to know who the nut case is that thought it a good idea to include a neurotoxin in a migraine preparation…

  • Kitsy Hahn

    “It may also matter what goes into the coffee.” Nothing whatsoever should go into the coffee. If somebody doesn’t like the taste of black coffee all by itself — and must douse it up with cow’s milk (the combo is bad for digestion), cream, or sweeteners of any kind — they shouldn’t be drinking coffee in the first place.

    • jj

      Original Ovaltine Barley malt extract (73%), milk serum concentrate, fat-reduced cocoapowder (8%), sugar, calcium carbonate, rapeseed oil, magnesium carbonate, vitamins (C, E, niacin, A, pantothenic acid, B12, B6, B2, B1, folic acid, biotin), iron, zinc sulphate, salt.

  • Matthew Smith

    Dr. Greger is hoping to improve American mental health through his natural whole foods diets. He has another video on sweeteners were he suggests that Erythriol from pears is the only healthy artificial sweetener. This site says that artificial sweeteners are bad for your stomach cultures, and those are very important for mood. I drink more than ten cups of tea a day of various kinds, sometimes 15 or 20. All sweetened with splenda, which is bad for me and my be causing my lower body pain. Perhaps saturated fat and artificial sweeteners work together to cause joint pain by clogging pores in the body. I am so happy to hear that six cups of coffee a day can improve mood, ward of depression, and battle mental illness. I am sure that means it makes you live longer because attitude is everything. In order to cause an emotionally healthy delta brain wave, which caffeine can cause, perhaps you should eat a grapefruit or have near your bed a seed you can identify. This can improve your mood dramatically. Whole grain also can also help the stomach and intestines nerves to make you feel better. They are a mirror of your thoughts. I like drinking matcha tea and having a sweetgum fruit with me. It causes me to have alpha and delta brain waves so pleasurable I nearly pass out! The first thing they teach psychology majors is that people who have happy marriages live 15 years longer than the single.

  • Barbara Jansen

    the last few sentences say it all.

  • Carlo

    Dr. Greger
    Perhaps the most thorough studies about the effects of
    artificial sweeteners (specifically, aspartame) have been done by W.C.
    Monte, Professor Emeritus of Food Sciences and Nutrition at Arizona State University.
    Now retired, Monte led the research for about 30 years and has produced a
    book and a website by the same name, “While Science Sleeps”. The website
    provides the layman with sufficient knowledge to make intelligent
    decisions on what to induce into their bodies, or not. Monte’s theory is that
    methanol and its metabolite, formaldehyde, are directly responsible for
    much of the diseases of civilization (DOC) including M.S., autism,
    Alzheimer’s. Briefly, methanol is one of the ingredients of aspartame
    and is also found in smoked meats, and tobacco products, canned foods
    and other sources. As the methanol breaks down formaldehyde is free to
    do its job on the cells in the body such as in the lungs of tobacco
    smokers or in the nasal/oral cavities of smokeless tobacco users. Monte
    has provided about 700 studies done medical or research personnel to
    validate his theories. His work is worth consideration, he has covered
    just about every aspect of the controversy:
    For the smokeless tobacco users a graphic presentation of what can happen:

  • Richard Thomas Murray

    Professor Woodrow C. Monte, Food Science and Nutrition, Arizona State University, retired 2004, gives 782 free online full text references for his breakthrough paradigm since fall 2007 at his site WhileScienceSleeps — humans are the only creatures at severe risk of harm from methanol (22 mg in each can of aspartame diet drink), which stays in the blood with half-life 3 hours and so reaches every cell in the adult and fetus — methanol is made by ADH1 enzyme into uncontrolled formaldehyde right inside the cells of 20 specific tissues, and this harm gradually becomes most modern new chronic “diseases of civilization” — methanol also comes from wood and cigarette smoke, fresh tomatoes and black currants, and unfresh fruits juices vegetables preserved wet in sealed cans and jars at room temperature — scientists like Rong Qiao He of Peking, China are publishing research in 2014, using the Monte paradigm in proving the causes of Alzheimer’s Disease — ethanol (ordinary drinking alcohol) is a strong antidote, so those who never drink have twice the harm from methanol as those who drink just once a day — diabetes 2 is a methanol formaldehyde toxicity disease…

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    There are no health benefits to artificial sweeteners – surely artificial sweeteners didn’t solve the obesity problem in America or Europe, and there are concerns regarding safety. Solution: Ban the stuff. Period. Ohh… I forgot, there are money involved…..

    • largelytrue

      Sounds like an all-or-nothing fallacy to me. Can you demonstrate good evidence against the reasonably plausible idea that the introduction of calorie-free-sweeteners at least helps some people to limit obesity? What about the prevention of dental caries as another possible avenue of benefit?

  • Mathias Luz

    Thanks Doctor for raising our awareness over this issues.

  • Susan

    I had severe headaches, memory problems, and my eyes became really out of focus from consuming only one pkt per day of aspartame in my coffee. My eyes were checked and a new prescription was written, but the vision problems still worsened. Then, one day after reading a finding from a registered nurse who was on a multiple chemicals sensitivities list with me, I thought perhaps it was the Equal (aspartame) that may have caused the problems. I discarded all packages and NEVER bought anything with aspartame in it again, and guess what happened. After 6 months my vision returned to near normal for me. Still poor, but I could drive without glasses but just needed glasses for reading. That was then, perhaps 10-12 years ago. Today, since my spinal fractures, my vision has become increasingly worse even though no sugars, nor artificial sweeteners are in my body. Now, I cannot do anything that requires good vision without my bifocals. But, the headaches left after I stopped ingesting aspartame.
    Aspartame was once made by Monsanto, who owned the manufacturing company about the same time that Michael Taylor, then a lobbyist for Monsanto, joined the FDA. He is at the FDA again going through the revolving doors from industry to the FDA and back again, due to his appointment by President Obama during Obama’s first term. Taylor seems to make policy at the FDA when it comes to anyone petitioning the agency to remove aspartame from the market. He keeps it there. Taylor also permitted Neotame to be used in stevia AND added to the feed of factory farmed livestock. Neotame has even more neurological symptoms than aspartame.
    During that time period, I stopped using anything including meat with artificial ingredients. Taylor urged and received neotame to be considered as a “natural” ingredient in the food for people and feed for animals, even though it is genetically engineered and created by his company’s own scientists. Big conflicts of interest at the FDA, and government in general. Our government is broken in that it only protects corporations and their products from scientific studies, not the victims of their products or public health.

  • Ray Tajoma

    There is a lot of literature about benefits of coffee and tea. But is there a study of comparing the benefits of tea and coffee relative to drinking plain water ? If every day people drink lots of water instead of tea & coffee, perhaps the health benefits of drinking lots of water will even exceed those heavy coffee & tea drinkers.

    • jj

      I have always understood that it takes water to flush out the impurities from the body. But here is another aspect of water.

      Preventing cellular dehydration is integral to hormonal, immune, neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, muscle and skeletal function. ……….. The problem is that other beverages are not as hydrating. The levels of sodium, sugars, and amino acids in milk and juice can shrink cells and trigger the release of the hormone that signals dehydration.

      Even doctors often apparently fail to realize the connection. A recent study found that healthcare professionals under-recognized the importance of proper hydration for mental health. Who would care enough about the importance of human hydration to even do a survey? The European Hydration Institute, founded in part by The Coco Cola company.

      Significant improvement in cognitive performance, but not with coke. And not with Ritalin or some new drug, either, just plain water. Think how much drug companies could make if they could sell sugar pills but just tell kids to take the fake pill with… a glass of water.

      • Ray Tajoma

        Very true. Drinking lots of water also may help weight loss. I used to drink a lot of beer and could not kick the habit until I discovered a “Trick”. 1/2 hour before going to store to buy beer, I would drink excess amount of water. My desire for beer would completely go away and now I seldom drink.

  • Vanessa

    Another great video, Dr. G. Thank you for bringing clarity to these controversial subjects. I love having an educated response to those who claim that aspartame has been ‘proven to be completely safe’! Go plant foods!

  • Guest

    My husband is sensitive to aspartame. Even though he drinks junkie & processed beverages we always read the label. We have discovered that most kids drinks like Hawaiian Punch and sunny D contain a cocktail of asculfame K/potassium and Sucralose…could there be a correlation on the epidemic of depression and add in kids and artificial sweeteners in their drinks??? After all, big Pharma cashes in big on troubled kids.

  • L T

    Research in the journal Nature recently demonstrated that artificial sweeteners (sucralose, sacharrin and aspartame) kill gut bacteria and exacerbate matabolic disease. “A team… fed mice various sweeteners — saccharin, sucralose and aspartame — and found that after 11 weeks, the animals displayed glucose intolerance, a marker of propensity for metabolic disorders.”.

    Maybe this affect on the gut also causes an impact on the brain as you point out?

    Yet another fantastic video Dr. Greger for which we are all very grateful. So, thanks again – keep it up!

  • Dave

    How can one accurately measure and quantify the risk of depression in an experiment?

  • Blaice

    I need to read that paper, but comparing “sugar and honey” as the same category seems inadequate in my opinion. Refined sugar should not be compared to honey. I have not read the paper yet though. Since I drink my coffee black and tea plain, I suppose it really doesn’t matter, but I am curious.

  • allen cohen

    Aspartame is poison period, and there have been countless studies to prove it. No one should ever inject this toxic chemical.

  • allen cohen

    Since the company that produces Aspartame, would not sell it to ethical researchers, for review and study, what more proof does one need to know, that Aspartame is poison, and should be treated by everyone as such !

  • “subjects received aspartame 30 mg/kg/day”

    Based on my body weight, that would be 60 packets per day. Wow!

  • Allen Cohen

    Whole foods are the way to go, but beware of GM foods, and those that are not organic, which may contain loads of sprayed on chemicals of all sorts ! Lt’s hear it for chemicals on and in our foods — Errrrrgh, Yeeech !

  • Wade Patton

    You know, once you quit processed foods (almost entirely) and quit drinking super-sweet (real or fake) sodas/tea and get over the SUGAR addiction, you’ll have no need for any such “fake sweeteners” and have to consider all the negatives they tend to bring to health.

    Everything gets sweeter when you forgo the white stuff, fake or natural or the “original” granulated sort. It’s something one must experience to actually understand. I’m so glad Dr. G and his supporting staff/fans helped me find my way to the “other side”. Food never tasted better. Namaste.