RE: [IPk] Artificial Sweeteners
Everything I've ever read that someone forwarded to me from Nexus was poorly
researched and written in a manner to make it sound like the world was
coming to an end.
If you look at the list of references at the end of the Nexus articlel, most
of them are quite old - even the article that you forwarded, Patrick, has a
copyright date of 1995. Some old data are good data - like the DCCT, which
came out in 1994. The DCCT was a proper randomised controlled trial
conducted for a specific purpose and according to the scientific method. The
Nexus article that you posted is a collection of selections from a variety
of varyingly reliable sources rather than an original investigation of a
hypothesis in controlled conditions. I would not base my decision on whether
or not to use an artificial sweetener on this Nexus article. To review the
literature on the topic, I would go to the website http://www.pubmed.com (a
website that has indices of journal abstracts that is run by the US National
Library of Medicine and search for the term aspartame. Most of the papers on
PubMed are from reputable peer-reviewed journals, though there are also some
pieces written just for attention.
Here is one recent (2006) abstract that I found on PubMed when I searched
This study provides a good example of how a scientific study can show bias.
Many people I have met think that science is all objective and you can't
dispute the facts. Well, you indeed may be able to dispute the facts and you
can almost always dispute the interpretation of their meaning!
The concentrations of aspartame administered to the rats in the study were
many times the amount of aspartame per body weight that most humans would
consume. Almost any substance that is safe in 'reasonable' amounts can be
toxic in very large doses (even drinking several gallons of water in a short
time can kill you) so the lesson learned from this study is not "diet Coke
will give you cancer" but "like many things, consuming several times as much
aspartame as a normal human would consume raises the risk of certain cancers
in rats." It is possible that aspartame in similar (very high) doses would
not have those same effects on humans, and it is possible that aspartame
would have quite different effects on humans at such high doses.
The authors of the paper seem to have an agenda for exciting public worry
about the use of aspartame. It's fine if that is their agenda. It's up to
us, the readers, to decide whether we think the study was well coordinated,
well conducted, and well presented. I don't think this particular study is
all that impressive in its design and I think the authors are reaching when
they conclude in their abstract that its result means that the use of
aspartame in humans needs to be reviewed as a matter of urgency. The use of
aspartame by people who seem to eat a diet of only 'diet' foods is probably
more of an issue - most of us (I would venture) could go a day without
eating something that contains aspartame.
All that said, I don't like artificial sweeteners and I don't use them much
because I think they taste bitter. Perhaps they taste bitter to me because I
don't use them much and my brain doesn't interpret them as familar sweet
things. I have an average of 1 diet soft drink per week and I chew one piece
of sugarless gum most days, otherwise I don't use artificial sweeteners
much. (Oh wait, toothpaste - that can be artificially sweetened. Mine's got
sugar alcohols in it.) Some people are quite allergic to artificial
sweeteners, but I don't think that's a reason why I should avoid them if I
do not have an allergy to them. Example: I am quite allergic to Ceclor and
sulfa-based antibiotics. Does that mean you should not take Cipro if your
doctor prescribes it to you because you have an infection that it can treat?
Of course not, I am the one allergic to it - you should take it if it will
help your health. Should any of us use aspartame? So far the answer is that
in 'usual' amounts it's not harmful to human health - the best educated
answer is that it won't hurt you. If serious evidence came to light about
harmful effects of aspartame on humans, the US FDA (for one) would pronounce
on it. Just look at all the products that the FDA issued recalls on just
Hope this helps,
PS: Even with a diet that contains several naturally sweetened
foods/beverages per day my average total daily dose of insulin is around 40
u (2/3 basal, 1/3 bolus). I think I eat fewer carby snacks like crackers and
pretzels than I used to in part because I get some carbs from my
sugar-sweetened coffee and yoghurt and my body knows that.
----Original Message Follows----
From: "Patrick Tan" <email @ redacted>
Reply-To: email @ redacted
To: <email @ redacted>
Subject: [IPk] Artificial Sweeteners
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2006 18:19:13 +0800
May i have members views about Artificial Sweeteners ?
Any one experience what is reported on this article below.
how much truth are there in this article ?
Any reliable source or research on this ?
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