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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 
for aspartame:
http://tinyurl.com/k5puy
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 
last week:
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/enforce/2006/ENF00957.html

Hope this helps,

Melissa
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


Hi,
May i have members views about Artificial Sweeteners ?

Any one experience what is reported on this article below.

http://www.nexusmagazine.com/articles/aspartame.html

how much truth are there in this article ?

Any reliable source or research on this ?


Regards
Patrick
.
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