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Aspartame - is there any real evidence that it's dangerous?

(22 Posts)
Tryingtobehealthy Fri 12-Jun-09 07:01:00

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, 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.

saadia Fri 12-Jun-09 07:09:55

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)

Tryingtobehealthy Fri 12-Jun-09 07:15:57

"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.

Thrifty Fri 12-Jun-09 07:20:00

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 :-)

CoteDAzur Fri 12-Jun-09 07:26:41

My mother (pharmacist) says it causes cancer. She can't think of any research off the top of her head, though. Says up until a few years ago, people thought it was safe.

She also says there is now a new sweetener in the US and it is a fact that pharma companies tend to badmouth the old stuff to sell the new stuff.

Pheebe Fri 12-Jun-09 09:09:24

"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!

Pheebe Fri 12-Jun-09 09:10:23

er, actually ISN'T dangerous!

Bad night...

littlelamb Fri 12-Jun-09 09:20:19

You don't work for diet coke do you? grinhmm
They use aspartame to make napalm. Yummy

Thrifty Fri 12-Jun-09 09:49:41

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.

iris66 Fri 12-Jun-09 09:56:10

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 hmm

Pheebe Fri 12-Jun-09 12:49:29

Ahh I see thrifty, sorry, like I said, bad night smile

OO bitter lemon. I miss that too sad

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.

sarah293 Fri 12-Jun-09 12:52:22

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sarah293 Fri 12-Jun-09 12:55:07

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Pheebe Fri 12-Jun-09 12:57:01

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...

sarah293 Fri 12-Jun-09 12:57:36

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iris66 Fri 12-Jun-09 13:20:49

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 hmm

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.

slightlyonedgemum Fri 12-Jun-09 14:55:56

I don't know about the science but if my son has it in a 'sugar free drink' he goes to the toilet constantly for 2 hours after, runs around like a loon and has problems sleeping that night. He's 7.

iris66 Fri 12-Jun-09 15:14:45

just found this not ime to read it myself yet but...shock

northernrefugee39 Fri 12-Jun-09 15:21:29

I remember a report about 10 yrs ago saying it caused cancer in rats I think, and have been cautious about it ever since.
It was probably huge amounts though.

northernrefugee39 Fri 12-Jun-09 15:27:08

[ first hit on google]]

and another one
although it says the evidence isn't conclusive.

American cancer Institute

Tryingtobehealthy Fri 12-Jun-09 18:41:33

That American Cancer Institute link also says there's no actual evidence for it... haven't had time to read other links yet.

LeonieSoSleepy Fri 12-Jun-09 18:59:15

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