Aspartame, The Ingredient of NutraSweet, is Linked to Increased Reports of Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus-Disputed!

Aspartame, The Ingredient of NutraSweet, is Linked to Increased Reports of Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus-Disputed!

Summary of eRumor:

This email says it is an article written by Nancy Markle who spoke on the subject of aspartame at the “World Environmental Conference.”  Aspartame is the sweetening ingredient in NutraSweet.  The author says the keynote address at the conference was about an epidemic of multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus and that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “…did not understand what toxin was causing this to be rampant across the United States.”  The author says the aspartame becomes a toxin in the body that mimics MS and that lupus is rampant among Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke drinkers.  The email also claims a variety of other symptoms caused by the ingestion of aspartame.  It claims than Monsanto, the creator of aspartame, knows how deadly it is, but that for financial reasons, various medical organizations that also know the truth have kept quiet.

The Truth:

While there are good people who disagree about NutraSweet, this particular email is regarded as incorrect and irresponsible by a large number of credible critics. 

Here are some of the facts:

1.  Interestingly enough, nobody seems to know who Nancy Markle is, what her professional credentials are, or what work she’s done regarding MS, Lupis, or aspartame.

2.  An anti-aspartame activist named Betty Martini says she is the one who wrote the original story and was the speaker at the “World Environmental Conference” at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina in November of 1995.  She says her story somehow got connected with the name Nancy Markle and then spread around the Internet.  Martini is the founder of “Mission Possible International” with a website at  She bases most of her conclusions on the work of a Russell L. Blaylock, M.D..

3.  David Squillacote, MD Senior Medical Advisor for Multiple Sclerosis Foundation has written a response to the Markle email in which he says “…wild and inaccurate information about aspartame is being spread” and that “Ms. Markle has crossed the line.”  He says there is no information about aspartame affecting MS or lupis; no evidence that the product is bad for diabetics; that “Ms. Markle’s claims regarding the metabolism of aspartame are wildly inaccurate. Her understanding of pharmacology and metabolism is largely incorrect”.  He concludes by saying, “…, this series of allegations by MS. Markle are almost totally without foundation. They are rabidly inaccurate and scandalously misinformative.” 

4.  The American Diabetes Association says it “…recognizes that there is no credible scientific evidence linking aspartame to any health-related problems for people with diabetes.” and that “…aspartame–as well as the other FDA-approved nonnutritive sweeteners saccharin, acesulfame K, and sucralose–acceptable sugar substitutes and a safe part of a diabetic meal plan.”

5.  The official NutraSweet website has a response to the email at

There is also a version of this eRumor that begins with a long story about a person whose sister became seriously ill over a period of time and prepared for death. The sister stopped drinking diet drinks with NutraSweet and allegedly recovered completely.  The story has no facts such as names or locations that can checked out and is unproven.

Updated 4/30/11