Does Aspartame Cause Tumors and Pose Cancer Risks? The Jury Is Still Out
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And even the FDA has admitted that we have an " obesity epidemic" on our hands, a statement that somewhat contradicts its belief in the safety of aspartame. It's a safety still in question, especially by states like Hawaii and New Mexico that have tried to ban the artificial sweetener, as well as those like California that are recommending deeper study on aspartame's carcinogenic quotient.
"If states are considering banning aspartame, they will also have to consider banning milk, chicken, meat, orange juice, tomato juice" and more, said Hubrich. "Because aspartame is made up of components found in everyday foods and beverages. Aspartame is composed of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, as the methyl ester. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are also found naturally in protein-containing foods, including meats, grains and dairy products. Methyl esters are also found naturally in many foods, such as fruits and vegetables and their juices."
Hubrich's chemistry is relatively sound, although her logic is fallacious. Just because aspartame is comprised of "everyday foods" does not mean a ban on aspartame as an additive or sugar substitute will lead to consideration of bans of any of the foods she mentions. But her concern is valid, given her employer's industry: A ban on aspartame, in any state, would seriously weaken aspartame's earnings reports. Especially given that store chains in countries with less disastrous health situations are already moving to ban artificial flavors and sweeteners. Throw in a wider artificial sweetener marketplace with more players, and the Calorie Control Council is right to be worried. If any scientific link between aspartame and obesity, to say nothing of cancer, is ever established, even Rumsfeld probably couldn't bring it back from the dead.
But the wider lesson of the continuing aspartame soap opera is sweet, not sour: America is a country hooked not just on sweets, but on the idea that sweets are socially acceptable. Our consumption levels have much wider ramifications beyond our bodies, from the invasion of soda machines in elementary schools to a fractured health care system that simply can't shoulder any more sugar-soaked fat-asses.
"By the fourteenth century," Inglett noted in Aspartame: Physiology and Biology, "sugar was being refined. It was regarded, however, as a rare delicacy. Today, we accept the presence of sugar as commonplace."
And it's been killing us softly with its sweet song, artificial and otherwise, ever since.