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Yet Another Inconclusive Study of Aspartame

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Written by Basil on 02/21/2006 8:00 AM. Filed under:

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The Safety of Aspartame – New York Times

Amazingly, though I’m told the web is full of damning evidence that aspartame — a sweetener made from aspartic acid and phenylalanine — is E-VILLE, this NYT editorial says that

a provocative if inconclusive report that says aspartame may cause cancer, even at levels long considered safe.

If all this evidence is available, why is yet another report inconclusive, when the sweetener has been studied and restudied since it was first introduced in 1970?

What’s that you say? It was only introduced in 1980? Well, you see, it was first introduced in 1970, at the height of the media-induced saccharine scare. So, the FDA recalled it, deciding to study it further. Ten years later, it was the most widely studied artificial sweetener and received FDA approval. Twenty-six years later, hints and rumors still do not amount to damnation.

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3 Responses to “Yet Another Inconclusive Study of Aspartame”

  1. Tim Says:

    Aspartame is EVIL. It has long been thought that aspartame causes cancer. The question is, why was it approved? Money seems the only reason. Your description of the history of the approval is at odds with the facts: most studied does not imply safe. Or look at this more detailed history: Aspartame – The Shocking Story of the World’s Bestselling Sweetener.

    When I was working at a large chemical manufacturer around the time that it was being studied for use in beverages, I was told by the chemists there that they thought it was dangerous — they thought that it would cause damage to the brain. They recommended avoiding it completely. Closer to home, I observed my sister suffering from short-term memory loss. After consulting with a doctor, who noted the history of epilepsy in our family, she was advised to eliminate aspartame. She used to chew sugar free (aspartame-sweetened) gum all the time. Within months she was back to normal. Perhaps the entire population is not as susceptible.

    Sure, you can classify this as hearsay. It certainly wasn’t a scientific study. I’d ask why a 3-year study peer-reviewed by 7 world experts which clearly showed aspartame causes leukemia, lymphoma, cancer of the kidney and cancer of the cranial peripheral nerves is called “inconclusive” by the New York Times editorial. Especially when you contrast it with the more informative (recommended) New York Times news story “The Lowdown on Sweet?” which says:

    critics say … that the results of aspartame studies tend to depend on who paid for them. In an analysis of 166 articles published in medical journals from 1980 to 1985, Dr. Ralph G. Walton, a professor of psychiatry at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine found that all 74 studies that were financed by the industry attested to sweetener’s safety.

    Of the 92 independently funded articles, 84 identified adverse health effects. “Whenever you have studies that were not funded by the industry, some sort of problem is identified,” said Dr. Walton, adding that he has not looked at studies performed since 1985. “It’s far too much for it to be a coincidence.”

    There are a number of others that are raising the same alarm, here are a few:
    H. J. Roberts, M.D. and Dr. Janet Hill, Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D (author of Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills), George R. Schwartz, M.D. (author of In Bad Taste).

    If you want to look at the websites advocating the elimination of aspartame, here are a few: Dorway, World Natural Health Organization, AspartameKills (producer of Sweet Misery video).

    I avoid aspartame and do my best to prevent my family from consuming it, something that is increasingly difficult to do now that even medicines and vitamins include it. It’s your choice.

  2. alana Says:

    One way or another…sugar causes cancer, too. Your point?

  3. Tabitha Says:

    Maybe we’re just too hooked on sweets in general?? (Says the pot to the kettle.)