|July 25, 2012
Source: Huffington Post
In April, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study linking diet soda consumption to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Nobody blinked or cared because this research was just going to be thrown on the pile of allegedly conflicting studies about the safety of artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame. This pile is referred to as the “aspartame controversy.”
Aspartame is the artificial sweetener sold under the brand names of Equal and NutraSweet. It is used commonly in diet sodas because it tastes the most like sugar, or at least that is what the people selling it say. Despite all the hype about controversy, there is no aspartame controversy. All of the aspartame-industry-sponsored research consistently concludes aspartame is safe, while the independent studies overwhelmingly find side effects and problems. There is no gray area between the two sides. Every study connected to those who sell it says aspartame is safe while the independent studies find concerns. The controversy is really over whether research funded by special interest groups is valid....
Caloric sweeteners like sugar and corn syrup certainly deserve some of the blame. Their consumption increased almost 40 percent between the 50s and 1999, when peak consumption levels reached a pancreas-busting 155 pounds per person per year — or 52 teaspoons of sugar a day. Or one of those rain-barrel-sized drinks they sell with your hexane-laced burger at the drive-through. But that is another story. Since 2000, sugar intake has reduced slightly due to a minor decrease in corn-syrup sweetened soda-slurping.
But the diet drink industry is booming.
The primary non-caloric sweetener used in diet sodas and teas is aspartame. Obviously, aspartame (introduced in 1974) and its buddies are not helping people lose weight because as a society, the more diet soda we consume, the heavier we seem to get. The reason for this phenomenon has been consistently found in independent research. That is, the taste for sweets, whether delivered by sugar or artificial sweeteners, enhances appetite. The only people who seem to think diet sodas help with weight loss are the manufacturers and some registered dietitians (RDs).Read More...