Aspartame as viewed from TCM.
Date: Thu, 4 May 1995 11:17:25 PST
Sender: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARN.BITNET>
From: Paul Iannone <p_iannone.POP.COM>
Subject: Re: NutraSweet
Liz Vose <liz.ERVOSE.MV.COM> wrote:
: I have no positive data except for how my body reacts to the stuff. I am overweight and constantly looking for ways to cut back on calories. Any time I have tried to rely on some food containing NutraSweet, I get severe headaches, ulcer problems and a general cruddy overall feeling. I drink a soda once in a while with NutraSweet but anytime I over indulge, my body lets me know I'm not treating it correctly. The arguments about this sweetener go on and on. I've learned the hard way to use it sparingly.
: Liz from Maine
This is from a post of mine to misc.health.alternative from last year, on a possible 'mechanism' for headache production from aspartame (misnamed NutraSweet, as if there were any nutrition involved) suggested by East-Asian Traditional Healing :
Sweet is the marker the Stomach uses to gauge how much food is needed. When you have consumed enough rice, and the sweet is counted up, the bell goes off, and you are no longer hungry. Sugar imbalances the Stomach because it is consumed in forms that are too 'concentrated,' too sweet for the Stomach to 'explain' in terms of food value. For every drop of sweet, the Stomach is expected to deliver a certain quantity of blood and vitality to the powers that be in the body. If it cannot deliver, it is ashamed before the Emperor--unable to pay its taxation.
If you consume white sugar treats that contain little 'rice' (and -that- very unnourishing rice, so-called (nutritionally) 'empty' sweets), the Stomach reacts to absorb food value, but there isn't much there--certainly not the equivalent in bowls of 'rice.' This is very disturbing to the Stomach, and its destabilization is very noticeable psychologically, since the Stomach Qi is essentially equivalent to our sense of the body's 'invisibility'--the unnoticeable aspect of a healthy body. Stomach Qi underlies every other energy in the body and in the acupuncture Channels.
The issue of NutriSweet is similar to the issue of white sugar, but worse.
NutriSweet is a further invagination of human craftiness. Not only is it too sweet like glazed donuts, it is also _totally_ empty--it doesn't give the Stomach any calories! What a rip-off! This is the ultimate stinginess, and the 'Root of the Stomach Qi' (the innate balance that keeps it stable), in people with weak digestion, collapses entirely. Disaster! Now the remaining Qi of the Stomach--which is designed to flow downward--floats up, aided by the natural tendency of imbalanced Qi to rise.
Liver Qi naturally rises (it supplies our eyesight) via an internal pathway into the brain (and then out to the eyeball). Because of this rising quality, because of basic energy relationships between 'Wood' and 'Earth,' and because the Liver lies 'below' the Stomach energetically (in ETH physiology), the Liver's natural tendency is to attack a weak Stomach.
The Stomach Qi, designed to go downward, must be protected from this fact of our energetic physiology--which is why we have to avoid skipping or delaying meals. Doing so weakens our digestive harmony, since the Liver Qi that will fill an empty Stomach isn't supposed to be there, doesn't know how to run the Ovens, and is an edgy, rushed, aggressive Soldier--the opposite of the relaxed gregariousness of the Stomach-Baker. And you feel that wrongness, if you pay attention, when you are ignoring mealtime.
Now, given the opportunity, Liver Qi that has filled the Stomach will rise up the attached Stomach Channel (which usually _descends_ from the surface of the upper face). That Liver Qi doesn't belong there either--and there is very little skin to take it up. Suddenly, _Boom_, it floods the Stomach Channel. You spend the rest of the day grinding your thumbs into your face, trying to squeeze it back down.
THEREFORE, the tendency to react to Aspartame is going to be higher in 1) people of weak digestion; 2) who consume NutriSweet on an empty stomach; 3) and/or on an empty stomach in someone who is nervous; 4) and/or in someone with a tendency for this kind of Qi misbehavior, i.e. chronic headache suffers. If the testing doesn't segregate the experimental population for these factors, the results will be inaccurate. Take a group of these sufferers, test them--your results will be a lot more numerous than placebo. In other words, if you sample from the bell of the curve, you will get no result. Study the vulnerable fringe, and the results should be obvious (you'll have to duplicate daily stress as well).
I don't care what the actual chemisty is, I am sure it will eventually rationalize this reasonable theory.
_Don't delay or skip meals_, and be fair to your Stomach by feeding it food, not empty flavors.
Hope that helps,
Summary: NutraSweet is an excellent source for 'devitamin X,' a soda providing well over twice your daily need for _anXiety_. The FDA recommends that everyone consume brain neurotransmitters in this form daily, so that everyone will experience sufficient anxiety, poor quality sleep, panic attacks, mood swings, and other signs of modern health (im)balance.