Because of my father, I check to make sure the bread I eat has only four ingredients: flour, water, sugar and salt  (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune).
Because of my father, I check to make sure the bread I eat has only four ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune).

A recurring command spoken in my parents’ house: “Don’t eat aspartame or you will die.” This phrase is spoken by my 9-year-old brother, who wholeheartedly believes in eating as healthy as possible, and aspartame is high on his list of substances to stay away from. He backs his facts up from a verifiable source.

He gets his influence from my father, who bashes chemical-based foods and advocates for nourishment straight from the earth. He will not buy anything that has more than four ingredients on the label. I have heard his mantra countless times: The more man has touched the food, the worse for you it becomes.

The good daughter that I am, I obediently heed his advice. I buy bread made only with flour, yeast, water and salt. I pack an apple and carrots in my lunchbox every day. Even more important to my daily life, I have drastically cut back on my soda intake.

Yet I wonder about the accuracy in his logic. Is there really so much wrong with the foods we are eating on a regular basis? Is there enough levels of aspartame in a food that I’m eating that it could seriously hurt me?

It’s hard for me to believe so. According to, “aspartame is found in more than 6,000 products and is consumed by over 200 million people around the world.” With so many people consuming this substance on a regular basis, why wouldn’t we all be sick or dying?

My brother still will cling to the reasoning and use it to his advantage. If we eat a meal together and there’s something in it he doesn’t like (including the bits of black pepper he finds speckled on chicken), he claims it is unhealthy for him and refuses to eat it. He will sit for the entire meal and pick at potatoes until we finish our own dinners and forget about his.

He will also yell at my family for eating sugary foods. If we buy “sugar-free” ice cream, you can bet your tail he’ll be inspecting the label.

The kicker: For as healthy as he claims to be, my brother won’t eat vegetables and fruits gross him out. The food pyramid is a vague concept that plays no role in his life. He loves Oreos and could eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My favorite idiosyncrasy in my family is the habit of changing food names to fit this lifestyle. They both call root beer “root berry” and my dad changes tilapia loins to “tilapia lions.”

Overall, their quirky lessons have stuck with me. Though I don’t check the labels for aspartame every time I eat, I am aware of how much I am eating of what.

I pack my lunch when I go to school now. I am routine-oriented by nature, so this helps me in more ways than one. Instead of spending money on food in the union every day, I pack my turkey sandwich and carrots.

Don’t tell my family, but I like to throw in gummy snacks too. I don’t know half the ingredients that are labeled on the package, but I do know that aspartame is not one of them.

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  1. The family is right. You can use aspartame and die. Check out sudden cardiac death on Dr. M. Alemany in Barcelona who did the Trocho Study that showed the formaldehyde converted from the free methyl alcohol in aspartame embalms living tissue and damages DNA told me aspartame will kill 200 million people. In what ways. Check out the 1000 page medical text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, it gives you all the diseases from cancer, MS and lupus to birth defects. seizures and blindness. This is Aspartame Awareness Month. Check out and subscribe to the list and learn.

  2. My grandson and his wife are both pharmacists. At his graduation almost ten years ago, I saw he had a big supply of diet soda. His aunt, my daughter, told me about 10 years ago said she was addicted to diet soda. I sent them much info on diet soda and other weapons for quiet wars and get no replys. I guess he must figure that if his adunt who graduated cum laud from medical school, appproves diet soda, why should he listen to this high school drop-out? I see them once a year at the doctor’s house which is near me. He may think universities only teach the truth but they have to teach the lies needed to keerp our non elected government in power and the
    most repeated lie: “Government spends money.” They cannot get money from us when all that we have in banks is numbers and they need no money when all of us are risking our lives for more numbers. Taxes are illusions that regulate our use of numbers. In 1920. economist, John Maynard Keynes wrote: “If governments should refrain from regulation (tax illusions, casinos, lotteries, diet soda, subsidized milk, sugar and tobacco etc) the worthlessness of the money becomes apparent and the fraud upon the public can be concealed no longer.” “We are all Keynesians” President Richard Nixon “My people perish for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6

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