Archive for the ‘royal jelly’ Category

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Tartrazine, Aspartame and Royal Jelly?

March 18, 2007

Here is a HQ (health quotient) Quiz…

Which of the following does not belong with the rest?

  1. Tartrazine
  2. Aspartame
  3. Royal Jelly
  4. None of the above

If you know what they are, you would pick answer #3, Royal Jelly.

Tartrazine (a yellow colouring) and aspartame (a sweetener) are both synthetic substances, whereas royal jelly (the food that creates queen bees) is natural.

Tartrazine and aspartame are known to cause a wide range of adverse side effects, whereas royal jelly produces mainly beneficial health effects.

According to Singapore’s regulations on food labelling, however, the correct answer is #4, none of the above. All three substances belong together.

The law requires that all three have to be specifically declared on food labels — as opposed to other substances that might be generically declared as “food colouring”, “flavouring”, “preservatives” etc.

This was mentioned at the forum on trans fat. It is something that I find most puzzling?!?

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Tartrazine (also known as Yellow #5 or E102) is derived from coal tar. It appears to cause the most allergic and intolerance reactions of all food colouring classified as azo dyes.

Reactions can include anxiety, migraine, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, rhinitis, urticaria, general weakness, heatwaves, palpitations, feeling of suffocation, pruritus, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. In rare cases, the symptoms of tartrazine sensitivity can be felt even at extremely small doses and can last up to 72 hours after exposure.

Tartrazine has also been linked to childhood developmental problems like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) and obsessive compulsive behaviour.

It is banned in Norway and previously banned in Germany and Austria as well, but the European Parliament has lifted the ban.

Despite the many adverse effects associated with Tartrazine it is found in an amazing range of common food items, including supposedly healthy foods like orange juice – and even in vitamin pills!

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Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, is likewise associated with a long list of adverse side effects.

Scientists have identified more than 90 medical conditions associated with aspartame, including epileptic seizures, memory loss, migraine, blurred vision and so on.

Aspartame is commonly recommended for people with diabetes. However, a leading US authority on diabetes, Dr H J Roberts, MD, informs that aspartame leads to:

  1. precipitation of clinical diabetes
  2. poorer diabetic control
  3. aggravation of diabetic complications such as retinopathy, cataracts, neuropathy and gastroparesis
  4. convulsions.

Another major group of people who take aspartame are the overweight and obese. They should take note that aspartame has been found to make people eat more! Research also suggests that when aspartame is taken with MSG, another common food additive, its negative effects tend to be enhanced.

Aspartame is, in fact, one of the most controversial food substances ever to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Click here to read more about aspartame, especially the politics behind it.

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Finally, royal jelly.

It is a natural food substance produced by bees. Among other things, researchers have found that royal jelly:

  • reduces lipid (fat) and cholesterol levels
  • destroys harmful bacteria but not friendly bacteria
  • has anti-inflammatory effects and wound-healing properties.
  • appears to have anti-cancer effects.

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So why is royal jelly lumped together with two other harmful and controversial synthetic substances?

Because royal jelly has also ever produced allergic reactions, especially among people with asthma (yet there are also studies that suggest royal jelly help people recover from asthma).

Specifically, there had been ONE DEATH associated with the use of royal jelly, sometime during the 1990s. And those in the industry say it was not a straight-forward case of a person taking royal jelly and then dropping dead.

There were other factors involved. One objectively worded medical report described it as “death secondary to royal jelly-induced asthma”, meaning royal jelly was not the primary cause of death.

Just one death, throughout a long history of incident-free royal jelly consumption dating back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. And that was enough to get royal jelly black-listed, placed in the same category as other food substances that cause thousands and millions of adverse reactions.

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In sharp contrast, trans fats are associated with at least 30,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. That’s a conservative estimate. The actual figure could be as high as 150,000!

But, our health authorities have decided, no need to warn against trans fats.