The belief is that sugar is bad and should be limited in our diet. However, how safe are the alternatives to sugar. After all, how can a food additive be better than what Mother Nature has provided us?

There are plenty of sweeteners in the market today. They are found in most fizzy drinks, some foods, some chewing gums labeled 'sugar free' and even some sports drinks. The most popular sweeteners on the market are Aspartame and Sucralose.

Aspartame has generated a huge amount of public controversy into the consequences of its consumption and therefore is where this article is focused.

Aspartame has resulted in more complaints than any other food additive in history. Aspartame consists of 3 substances. Aspartame is 40% Aspartic acid, 50% Phenylalanine and 10% Methanol. This mixture is toxic to the neurological system of the human body.

Aspartic acid and Phenylalanine are amino acids and because of this, it is argued that they have no adverse affects on the body. However, without the other amino acids found in protein, the molecular structure is different and therefore we have a different substance. This can cause a blood plasma spike affecting neurotransmitter production and potentially be neurotoxic.

Methanol, when exposed to heats greater then 86 degrees Fahrenheit breaks down and becomes formaldehyde, a deadly toxin. The temperature of the human body easily exceeds 86 degrees Fahrenheit. As formaldehyde begins to build up in the brain the effects can be severe.

The effects of such poisoning include headaches, migraines, memory loss, heart palpitations, lack of concentration, sleep deprivation, brain tumors and depression. Also all artificial sweeteners have been found to stimulate appetite, which is not good news for those of us trying to lose weight.

Begin to check labels especially those of products listed 'sugar free'. If it's sugar free it contains sweetener. The first step to avoiding aspartame from your diet should be to limit fizzy drink consumption.

The news on today's sugar replacements leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Our bodies need and want sugar. It's the quantity and quality that we eat that determines its effects on us.