10th February 1949. One or Two Lumps of Aspartame?
Today in 1949 a Tate & Lyle Board Meeting decided to a mount a vigorous campaign against Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s Nationalization plans for the sugar industry. The result was Mr Cube an anthropomorphic and endearing sugar cube. (1)
Sugar since Saccharine was discovered in 1878, been under threat from artificial sweeteners and one of the great scientific breakthroughs, was the discovery in 1976 of what became Sucralose (chlorinated sugar), marketed as Splenda.
It was discovered accidentally by a graduate Indian working with Les Hough at the then Queen Elizabeth College, London, in the process of trying to find a new insecticide, when using the highly toxic sulfuryl chloride.
Sucralose thus joined the stable of other sweeteners including Cyclamates, and Aspartame, marketed as Equal and Nutrasweet.(2)
Aspartame has three chemicals: Aspartic Acid (40%), Phenylalanine (50%), Methanol (10%) which breaks down into its constituent amino acids, but also into Methanol which breaks down into formaldehyde (toxic) and formic acid.
In the process ordinary sugar molecule has the 3 H-O (hydroxyl) groups, replaced by the three groups of chlorine ionised atoms (chlorocarbons which are highly toxic), to make it a stable sweetener which tastes like sugar.
The resultant sweetener is more or less calorie free as it is not metabolised by the body.
Phenylalanine an essential amino acid, a building block for proteins, which we get from food. It occurs in three forms: L which is natural and utilises bacteria Escherichia coli which naturally produces aromatic amino acids and is found in breast milk and supplements.
D is produced in Laboratories and D,L a combination of the other forms.
The body changes Phenylalanine into Tyrosine (an amino acid) needed to make proteins, brain chemicals, including L-Dopa, epinephrine, nor epinephrine (which affects moods and used in depression), analgesics and thyroid hormones.
Tyrosine is one of 22 amino acids used by cells to synthesise proteins and can also be synthesised in the body from L phen and high protein foods.
However sufferers from Phenylketonuria (PKU), which should be tested at birth, are missing an enzyme caused by faulty gene, so the liver can’t break down (metabolise) phenylalanine.
In this case there is need for a special diet avoiding Phenylalanine and replacing it with Tyrosine supplements.(3)
(1) Cube was designed by Bobby St. John Cooper.
(2a) Sucrolose comes from a five step process that results in chlorocarbons that have three atoms of chlorine in every molecule, which don’t occur in nature.
(2b) Aspartame known as aspartyl (aspartic acid )-phenylalanine-methyl ester. The first two constituents are found in the body as amino acids, however methyl ester is an unnatural component.
(3) Tyrosine (Tyr or Y) is used by cells to synthesise protein. The name derives from the Greek ‘tyri’ for cheese discovered in protein casein in cheese. It functions as a receiver of phosphate groups which are transferred through protein kinases (so called receptor tyrosine kinases).
Aspartame appeared in a UK review of The Committee on Toxicity, Consumer Products and the Environment. There was advice on acceptable daily intake (ADI) and labelling on sweeteners. It is an intense sweetener 200 times than sugar and found in soft drinks and low calorie sugar-free foods E951.
Ref: Food Standards Agency: on aspartame Thursday, 15th March, 2012.
Ref: University of Maryland Medical Center 2011.
Ref: Source Tate & Lyle Archives.
Ref; lovelanelives.com/sugarbluesfilm.com. Pic.Ref. Google/Images.