Aspartame: The Artificial Sweetener Made from…Poop?!

Aspartame: The Artificial Sweetener Made from...Poop?!

Dr. Joseph Mercola has called aspartame "by far the most dangerous substance on the market" added to our food supply. And the genetically modified artificial sweetener (which we consider one of the "Scary Seven" food ingredients to avoid) just got a whole lot grosser.

According to UPI, aspartame is made from "the excrement of genetically modified E. coli bacteria." That's right, your diet soda contains poop.

Read more about genetically modified foods

The discovery comes after the European patent for aspartame was made available online, confirming the source of the E. coli used in aspartame production. "Though this fact was reported as early as 1999, not much attention was paid at the time to aspartame and its maker Monsanto, which was allegedly adding GM aspartame to soft drinks in Britain."

According to the patent, the genetically modified E. coli-"cloned microorganisms"- are "modified to produce an especially large peptide used to create aspartame. The cultivated and well-fed bacteria then defecate proteins, which contain the aspartic acid-phenylalanine amino acid segment required to produce the sweetener." Those feces are then turned into the dipeptides that are treated with alcohol and methanol to produce the aspartame.

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The news comes on the heels of an aggressive Coca-Cola marketing campaign defending the safety of aspartame in its diet soft drinks as sales have started to decline in diet sodas along with the slumping regular soda category.

Read more about Coca-Cola's defense of aspartame

Consumption of aspartame has been linked with a number of serious health issues, accounting for more than 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, joint pain, and more serious illnesses including birth defects and cancer, have all been connected with aspartame consumption.

Image: Regina

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Jill Ettinger
Jill Ettinger is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, she bridges her love for changing the food system with her lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values. You can connect with Jill on Twitter and Instagram.