Before I begin with a discussion about Aspartame, let me introduce you to a primary reason that the government and the major medical establishment very often gets things wrong and backwards when it comes to health and the safety of foods, drugs, and procedures: They only care about acute health, not chronic health. If something doesn’t kill you within two to three weeks, it is considered safe. This is true of pesticides on food products, rBGH hormones in dairy, mercury fillings in teeth, genetically modified foods, MSG, Aspartame, and more, all of which are considered completely safe by the government and FDA.
Low level, long term exposure is harder and more costly to study, and companies itching to get a product on the market very often have “friends” in high level government positions that help to clear up any red tape very quickly. One such friend is Michael R. Taylor, the current FDA Deputy Commissioner of Foods, and the Vice President of Monsanto Corporation from 1996-2000. During Taylor’s years at Monsanto, the company owned NutraSweet, which you know as the pink packets of Aspartame available on restaurant tables.
Aspartame didn’t immediately kill laboratory rats, it didn’t contain calories, and it tasted sweet. It got the stamp of approval in 1974. Fast forward about 30+ years, and new startling studies regarding long term effects on humans are being released left and right. The new studies indicate that Aspartame is correlated with:
- Higher levels of diabetes and metabolic syndrome (67% and 36%, respectively). (1)
- Higher risk of heart attack and stroke (48%). (2)
- Higher risk of urinary tract tumors (118%). (3)
- Obesity and increased hunger levels (41% increased risk per daily can of diet soda, which is even a higher risk than regular soda). (4, 5).
Two of these conditions should be particularly shocking: diabetes and obesity. People who have diabetes are encouraged to limit or eliminate sugar and instead have diet soda and Aspartame-sweetened desserts. People who are overweight are encouraged to make a switch from regular to diet soda to limit calories. It should be pretty alarming that the so-called solution to these conditions is doing the opposite and making things much worse.
Granted, these studies are relatively new. They have not been confirmed, and they are all correlation-based. This indicates that it is not a guarantee that the Aspartame content is the exact cause of these increased risks – there could be other factors involved. But when it comes to human health, it is my opinion that new chemically-produced products should be subject to the opposite of our legal system's declaration, in other words “guilty until proven innocent.” This is the only way to ensure safety for public health. Although Aspartame is no longer new, it never had complete and long-term human studies verifying a lack of risks.
The more studies that I read, and the more studies that continue to be done, I continue to see that in the vast majority of cases, foods that are completely natural (rather than chemically-produced or factory-altered) are the safest. Keep reading next week to find out how to enjoy sweet soft drinks naturally without the sugar or the Aspartame.
- Nettleton JA, Lutsey PL, Wang Y, Lima JA, Michos ED, Jacobs DR. Diet soda intake and risk of incident metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Diabetes Care. 2009;32(4):688-94.
- Laino, Charlene. “Is Diet Soda Linked to Heart, Stroke Risk.” WebMD, Feb 2011. Web. 2 May 2013. http://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20110209/is-diet-soda-linked-to-heart-stroke-risk?%29
- Andreatta MM, Muñoz SE, Lantieri MJ, Eynard AR, Navarro A. Artificial sweetener consumption and urinary tract tumors in Cordoba, Argentina. Prev Med. 2008;47(1):136-9.
- DeNoon, Daniel. “Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight?.” WebMD, June 2005. Web. 2 May 2013. http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20050613/drink-more-diet-soda-gain-more-weight
- Lavin JH, French SJ, Read NW. The effect of sucrose- and aspartame-sweetened drinks on energy intake, hunger and food choice of female, moderately restrained eaters. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1997;21(1):37-42.
David Rodgers, L.N., M.S. is a Licensed Nutritionist practicing in Berkley at the Nutrient Balance Center. He specializes in helping people with Chronic Lyme Disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, weight loss, heart disease, diabetes, digestive conditions, lupus, MS, and more by using dietary changes, targeted natural supplements, detoxification, and lifestyle modification. For more information, as well as free training video seminars, see www.nutrientbalance.com.