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Aspartame - is there any real evidence that it's dangerous?
I've been having a bit of a Google and it appears that there is no proper medical evidence that Aspartame causes any of the things connected to it. On Snopes.com, which I always trust, various health authorities are adamant that there's nothing wrong with it and that the evidence against it is scientifically unsound and is anecdotal at best. Is there no real evidence that it's bad? Why do people think it's evil?
I'm open-minded, I'm just trying to find out more about it.
According to my book (Healthy Eating for Happy Kids by Suzannah Oliver) commonly reported side-effects are headaches, migraines, dizziness and blurred vision. Aspartame worsens brainwave readings in children with epilepsy, and links with brain cancer are being investigated. (Book was published in 2004)
"Links are being investigated" doesn't mean links have been found though - that research could just as easily show no link at all when it's done. Though I can see the sense in avoiding something until it's been proven safe, of course... I'm just interested that everyone in in such a panic about aspartame yet there seems to be no evidence at all against it.
i don't think you'll find any evidence to suggest that something so widely used in industry is dangerous. It tastes bloody awful though, and i'd rather just have sugar, likewise i'd rather ds just had sugar. At least sugar is a natural and it tastes sweet :-)
"i don't think you'll find any evidence to suggest that something so widely used in industry is dangerous."
That may be true thrifty but that's not necessarily because it actually IS dangerous. Just becuase there's no impetus/funding to really scientifically explore the long-term adverse effects of a widly used chemical does not mean its entirely harmless. Loads of chemicals we are exposed to every day, natural and additives, are carcinogens, its a case of the level of exposure.
Aspartame gives me migraines, even tiny amounts - thats bad enough for me and we avoid it at all costs although its incredibly difficult to avoid unless you grow your own food!
my point exactly pheebe :-) i really hate the stuff, and i hate the way they have spoiled my favourite drinks with the stuff. I love bitter lemon. But finding one that doesn't have sweetners in it is a nightmare. And don't get me started on kids food. Pasta and yogurts with glucose fructose syrup and sweetners, whats the point in that! At least you know where you are with sugar. From a diabetic point of view, sweetners are a god send, so they have their place.
I've no idea where I got this from but I was under the impression that all artificial sweeteners were bad for you because they muck up your metabolism.
The theory being: you eat something sweet and your body releases insulin to counter it & balance blood sugar. If it's not actually sugar you've eaten, your body twigs and stops the insulin and then, over time, fails to respond properly to real sugar (ie you get fat)
It seemed feasible to me, especially since most of the people I know who actively avoid artificial sweeteners are slim
The only artificial sweetner I seem to be able to tolerate is saccharin.
Once you start to look its amazing the amount of crap that is actually in processed foods, even in stuff you think can't possibly have been mucked about with. I never really thought about it til I was responsible for someone elses healthy eating.
Iris, thats an interesting theory. No idea how much truth there is in that because its not the sweetness per se your body responds to but the actual glucose levels in your blood. I'm not aware of any evidence that there's a physiologic insulin response to artificial sweetners. If there were then they'd be no good for diabetics I suppose. Hmm, may have to go do some searching on this...
Pheebe - I thought the same. However, your body produces a whole host of enzymes and saliva just at the thought/smell of food so I figured there could be some kind of mini insulin initiating response to taste
Riven - thanks for the link. That's so scary. Why do the pharmaceutical companies keep insisting on adding toxic/allergy causing things to their (often brilliant)medicines. It really makes me sad.