Sugar: The not-so-sweet sweetener

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For several years now we’ve been warning you about the dangers associated with one of the most widely used sugar substitutes in the world – aspartame (better known as NutraSweet and Equal).

For instance, previously told you about an Italian study in which 19,000 rats were fed varying amounts of aspartame. Results showed a significant increase in leukaemias and lymphomas among rats that received the same amount of aspartame as contained in about five 20-ounce diet sodas per day for someone weighing 150 pounds.

Last week, the New York Times published an article about that same study, raising this controversial question: Should humans be concerned about the safety of this sugar substitutes based on the results of a single rat study?

I’ll get to the bottom of that question by looking at a few quotes about the study. And we’ll start off by letting the man who headed up the research – Dr. Morando Soffritti – have his say. Dr. Soffritti told the Times that he was most concerned that children and pregnant women may be consuming an abundance of aspartame. He stated his position bluntly: ‘If something is a carcinogen in animals, then it should not be added to food.’

Aspartame has been linked to asthma, migraines, insomnia and more

Let’s jump to a Times quote from George H. Pauli, an associate director in the Office of Food Additive Safety at the US Food and Drugs Association (FDA). Regarding the Italian study, Mr. Pauli told the Times that FDA officials don’t see any concerns ‘at this stage.’ He adds that FDA scientists have ‘gone through a humongous amount of data on aspartame over the years.’

I have a rule of thumb about the use of the word ‘humongous.’ If you’re telling a story about, say, that time you saw a hummingbird the size of a baseball mitt, ‘humongous’ is an appropriate adjective. But if you’re, say, a government official speaking to a New York Times reporter about a public safety issue, the use of ‘humongous’ is so inappropriately casual that it’s a tip off that something is fishy. That’s my take on it anyway.

Notice that Mr. Pauli doesn’t mention any assessments that have come out of that humongous amount of data. His implication, of course, is that – except for that pesky rat study – aspartame is hunky dory. But it certainly is not.

For instance, in 1994 the US Department of Health and Human Services released a daunting list of the reported adverse reactions to aspartame, including: chest pains, asthma, arthritis, migraine headaches, insomnia, seizures, tremors, vertigo, and weight gain.

84 of 90 studies found aspartame to cause adverse health effects

For a few especially fun quotes we’ll go to an ABC News report that covered the Times article and the Italian study.

David Katz, M.D., (the ABC News medical contributor) stated that if this sugar substitutes caused any significant harm ‘we would know about it.’ And how would we know about it? Personally, I would think the volume of adverse reaction complaints on record at the FDA would be a good starting point.

But Dr. Katz might want more science than anecdote. So let’s look at the studies. The Times article quotes a doctor who notes that in more than 90 independently funded studies, 84 found aspartame to cause adverse health effects.

Phew! Now we ‘know about it.’

On the issue of cancer and aspartame, Dr. Katz helpfully points out that foods such as broccoli, spinach and beans contain compounds that are potentially carcinogenic. Three questions: 1.) Why is Dr. Katz going out of his way to defend aspartame? 2.) Why is he using such a laughably lame

1.) Why is Dr. Katz going out of his way to defend aspartame? 2.) Why is he using such a laughably lame

2.) Why is he using such a laughably lame defence? And 3.) How many lab rats have died from

3.) How many lab rats have died from leukaemias and lymphomas associated with broccoli, spinach or bean consumption?

Tell your friends and family (and any lab rats you may know): There are warning signs galore that regular consumption of aspartame products may be ‘humongously‘ dangerous.

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  • Artificial sweeteners are poison!! In fact I think anything artificial is a no-go… Thanks for a great site.

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