Category: 

Which is Worse: Aspartame or High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Cake mix containing high fructose corn syrup.
High fructose corn syrup.
Corn is used to make high fructose corn syrup.
Spoonful of high fructose corn syrup.
A glass of diet soda containing aspartame.
Article Details
  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
More bank robberies occur on Friday than any other day of the week.   more...

July 30 ,  1945 :  The USS Indianapolis was torpedoed after dropping off key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.  more...

Answering this question is no easy task since it may be a lot like asking "Which is worse: heart disease or nervous system disease?" Each product is associated with different possible connections with disease. Aspartame is thought to possibly cause or promote nervous system disorders such as Parkinson's disease, at least when consumed in fairly high amounts. The steady consumption of high fructose corn syrup, on the other hand, is said to possibly cause or promote diabetes, heart disease, and damage to other organs such as the liver, pancreas, and kidneys.

Studies suggest that the amount of both aspartame and high fructose corn syrup consumed seem to be a factor in whether or not ill effects may occur. Therefore, if people avoid the high fructose corn syrup but consume over the recommended limit for aspartame per day — often said to be three cans of diet soda — then they would perhaps be at a high risk for nervous system damage.

Neither form of sweetener is a natural product. High fructose corn syrup is derived from corn but is completely synthetic. Corn starch is boiled and distilled to create syrup with a very high fructose, or fruit sugar, content. The percentage of fructose varies between 45% and 85%. The problem is that the human body is not made to digest this very high sugar concentration, just as it are not made to digest the high concentration of ingredients in aspartame.

Ad

Aspartame is made up of 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid, and 10% methyl alcohol. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are actually important amino acids that are found naturally in many foods, but again the percentages used in the man-made sweetener is much too high for our bodies to consume naturally. Methyl alcohol is sometimes called wood alcohol, and it can cause blindness as well as kidney and liver failure.

Methyl alcohol is thought to turn into formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a chemical used in embalming and is considered poisonous to the central nervous system. High levels of aspartic acid are said to damage the basal ganglia part of the brain and damage to the basal ganglia has been shown in many studies to be connected to the development of Parkinson's disease. Phenylalanine is high amounts is said to cause a reduction in dopamine production in the brain and dopamine levels have also been found to play a role in diseases such as Parkinson's.

Aspartame is usually found only in sugar-free versions of foods such as desserts and drinks, while high fructose corn syrup is found in a large range of packaged foods. High fructose corn syrup is commonly used in foods such as tomato sauce, cake mixes, cereals, bread,s and juice. Manufacturers use it rather than natural sugar as it is cheaper and has a much longer shelf life. Several studies have linked high fructose corn syrup to obesity, heart disease, and cirrhosis of the liver. Since the choice between the two sweeteners seems to be like choosing between a rock and a hard place, maybe the answer is to read labels and consume only a small amount, if any, of both ingredients.

Ad

Discuss this Article

honeybees
Post 8

In recent years I have really become a label reader. When I think about the amount of chemicals we put in our bodies every day, it can almost make me sick. In fact, I think these synthetic sweeteners are causing us to have a lot of physical and medical problems.

You would be surprised at how many food items have high fructose corn syrup in them. Even things that you would least expect like bread can often have this added in.

I don't think there is any way you could really determine if one of these was worse than the other. I don't think that either fruit sugar or aspartame is safe. The term 'fruit sugar' is some a deceptive name. At first you think because it has the word 'fruit' in it that it is good for you, but that is far from the truth.

andee
Post 7

My husband drinks a lot of soda pop and I am worried about his blood sugar levels. At his last checkup his doctor told him his numbers were at the pre-diabetic level. He really cut back for awhile, but now is back to drinking a lot of pop again.

I think one thing that makes it not quite so bad for him is that he is very physically active, but even then, all of that synthetic sugar will start to take a toll on his body. I think we have become very dependent on sweeteners and often think just because something has little to no calories it is better for us.

myharley
Post 6

I have a friend who drinks around 5-6 diet sodas a day. She starts drinking this in the morning for breakfast and drinks them all day long. I have tried to explain the dangers of aspartame to her, but I she doesn't really want to hear it.

I think she would have some withdrawal symptoms if she tried quitting cold turkey. After reading about the dangers of aspartame several times, I finally quit drinking diet soda. I know that any kind of soda isn't good for you, but I think the diet soda with the aspartame is even worse than regular soda with the high fructose corn syrup in it.

julies
Post 5

I have tried to eliminate both of these products from my diet. I have replaced drinking diet soda with water, and try not to buy products that have high fructose corn syrup in them.

I have even tried to eliminate white sugar and use honey, agave or brown syrup for natural sweeteners. There are ways we can sweeten our food and drink without using these chemicals, but it is not often easy.

For me, it takes a conscious effort as it is very easy to pick up packaged products and soda that have aspartame and high fructose corn syrup in them. You really have to go out of your way to try and avoid these products, neither of which are healthy for you.

mutsy
Post 3

Moldova-I agree with you that aspartame toxicity will not occur with a few diet sodas, but I think that this article definitely makes you think twice about the aspartame dangers.

I know I won’t be as casual about it as I was. I have already stopped eating foods with Tran’s fat or hydrogenated oils. They are both the same although you don’t always see the word Trans fat.

Usually processed foods have this ingredient. If you eat fresher food then you will not have that problem.

Moldova
Post 2

Cafe41-I think anytime you ingest artificial chemicals like this there are bound to be some sort of study of how dangerous it is.

A lot of times the studies are done with very high doses of aspartame that the average person would not ingest. I occasionally drink about a few Diet Cokes a week, and I don’t think this is going to hurt me.

I don’t use aspartame sweetener in my coffee. I prefer regular sugar.

cafe41
Post 1

I know that recently they stated that aspartame during pregnancy is very dangerous to a pregnant women.

All soft drinks with aspartame should be avoided during this time. Aspartame products mainly diet sodas and sugar free desserts can be ingested in small doses.

Like everything else large doses of anything can be harmful. I do think that aspartame sweeteners can also be helpful for diabetics.

These aspartame laden foods taste sweet but do not contain the sugar that is detrimental to a diabetic’s health.

So at least this product does allow diabetics the opportunity to enjoy some foods that they would otherwise not be able to ingest.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email