The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has warned that aspartame, the artificial sugar substitute in most diet drinks, may cause cancer as reported in a three-year Italian study that found links to lymphomas and leukemias . But the CSPI communication goes on to advocate use of another doubtful sweetener - sucralose - to get off aspartame. Sucralose, also sold under the Splenda brand name, has its own problems of toxicity and is by no means an innocuous replacement for aspartame.
Although the CSPI has - with a delay of several years - come out now with a warning against the use of aspartame, Betty Martini charges that its executive director, Michael Jacobson, should have had the courage to do so long ago. She says the information was available since the time of the aspartame approval through political pressure called in by Donald Rumsfeld, former CEO of aspartame manufacturer Searle and now defense secretary.
Diet soda, which generally is sweetened with aspartame, has been shown to be linked to an increased incidence of obesity by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio in a recent study. While Fowler is quick to point out that the link does not prove causation, the facts showed that the more diet drinks a person consumed, the higher was the likelihood of being obese.
Why can't we encourage people to just overcome their sweet tooth?
Perhaps it would help, but of course there is no money in that. We have the sugar industry, the chemical sweetener manufacturers and the processed foods and drinks industry making sure that does not happen. But people do pay the bill - some with their lives, others with suffering and illness, others simply with obesity, and all of them with their weekly grocery bills, not to talk about hospital costs that hit every one of us. Great system and real great advice by CSPI, which says it is defending consumers...
Read the CSPI announcement and Betty Martini's comments to CSPI's Michael Jacobson here: