Sweet news for aspartame

aspartameThis isn’t going to have any impact on the faithful devoted to presenting aspartame as the great devil, but a full risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority found that the low-calorie artificial sweetener aspartame is safe for consumption by everyone, including children and pregnant women.

Kansas State University’s Mary Meck Higgins, associate professor of human nutrition, says this thorough assessment concluded the same thing that previous studies have found, that aspartame is safe.” The claim that it causes cancer and the claim that it messes up our genes have not been founded in terms of scientific studies,” Higgins said.

In the United States, aspartame has been used in products like Equal and diet sodas since 1981. Standards are set for how much aspartame is safe to consume and Higgins says most people do not reach these levels.

“For a 200-pound person, that would be about 20 12-ounce cans of diet soda a day,” Higgins said. “For a child who weighs 50 pounds, that would be about five cans.” A 12-ounce can of diet soda has about 180 milligrams of aspartame. Packets of Nutrasweet and Equal contain about 35-40 milligrams per packet.

That being said, I’m still no fan of aspartame because it hasn’t stemmed the obesity epidemic and there is even some evidence that it may be a contributor. Drinking something sweet seems to send a message to the brain that sugar is about to come down the hatch. When a sugary drink is consumed, the sugar goes to the stomach and that sends a signal to turn off the appetite. With a sweetener, it isn’t turned off and the body keeps expecting more food to come, and only when that need is met is the appetite curbed. Studies have shown compared with people who do not drink soft drinks, those who do put on more weight. No need to drink soft drinks of any kind. Dihydrogen monoxide is the best beverage


Joe Schwarcz

3 responses to “Sweet news for aspartame”

  1. Helga Wienershcnitzel says:

    Dihydrogen Monoxide is absolutely disgusting! Such an outrage that you recommend it. Also, I only weigh three hundred and seventy pounds and I drink over forty cans a day. I have kept this up for years, so obviously the cancer scare is false!

  2. Dwight Howard says:

    Thanks a lot! This is really going to help me in my game this week. I’ll let Jeremy Lin know!

  3. Josh says:

    Slightly off-topic, but this post brings to mind a lecture I watched (on YouTube) regarding how the body processes sucrose/fructose and which suggested that this simple carbohydrate is analogous to a toxin (in the video, a “poison”). Conclusion being that obesity and other chronic health problems are a result of over consumption of sucrose/fructose.

    A search of the blog doesn’t turn up any posts addressing the metabolism of fructose. Has any critical consideration of fructose been done on here?

    Video link to the lecture I’m referencing is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

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