The approval of aspartame has a contentious autobiography. The Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration( FDA) concluded that “there is a reasonable certainty that human consumption of aspartame:( 1) … will not pose a risk of brain damage arising in mental retardation, endocrine[ hormonal] dysfunction, or both; and( 2) will not cause brain tumors.” However, the FDA’s own Public Board of Inquiry withdrew their sanction over cancer concerns. “Further, various FDA scientists cautioned against the approval of aspartame, citing …[ the aspartame company’s] own brain tumor tests…” Regardless, the Commissioner approved aspartame before he left the FDA and went on to enjoy a thousand-dollar-a-day consultancy position with the aspartame company’s PR firm. Then, the FDA actually impeded the National Toxicology Program( NTP) from doing further cancer testing. As I discuss issues of my video Does Aspartame Cause Cancer ? we were then left behind people duelling over different rodent studies, some of which showed increased cancer threat, while others didn’t.
This reminds me of the saccharin tale. That artificial sweetener caused bladder cancer in rats but not mouse, leaving us “to determine whether humen are like the rat or like the mouse.” Clearly, we had to gave the aspartame question to the test in parties, but the longest human safety study lasted only 18 weeks. We needed better human data.
Since the largest rat study highlighted lymphomas and leukemias, the NIH-AARP study tracked blood cancer identifications and found that “[ h] igher levels of aspartame intake were not associated with the risk of…cancer.” Although the NIH-AARP study was big, it was criticized for only measure relatively short-term showing. Indeed, people are nothing but studied for five years, which is certainly better than 18 weeks, but how about 18 years?
All seeings turned to Harvard, where researchers had started following the health and diets of medical professionals before aspartame had even entered the market. “In the most comprehensive long-term[ person] study…to evaluate the association between aspartame intake and cancer risk in humen, ” they found a “positive association between diet soda and total aspartame intake and probabilities of[ non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma] and multiple myeloma in men and leukemia in both men and women, ” as you can see at 2:12 in my video. Why more cancer in humen than maids? A same cause was found for pancreatic cancer and diet soda, but not soda in general. In fact, the only sugar confined to pancreatic cancer peril was the milk sugar, lactose. The male/ female variance could have simply been a statistical coincidence, but the researchers decided to dig a little deeper.
Aspartame is broken down into methanol, which is turned into formaldehyde, “a documented human carcinogen, ” by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase.The same enzyme that detoxifies regular booze is the very same enzyme that alters methanol to formaldehyde. Was impossible males time have higher levels of this enzyme than women? Yes, which is why gals get higher blood booze positions than males sucking the same amount of alcohol. If you look at liver tests from men and women, you can see significantly greater enzyme activity in the men, so perhaps the higher conversion frequencies from aspartame to formaldehyde explain the rise in cancer hazard in guys? How do we test this?
Ethanol–regular alcohol–competes with methanol for this same enzyme’s attention. In fact, regular alcohol is actually “used as an remedy for methanol poisoning.” So, if this formaldehyde theory is correct, men who don’t drink alcohol or suck very little may have higher formaldehyde conversion frequencies from aspartame. And, really, consistent with this line of reasoning, the men who drank the least amounts of booze appeared to have the greatest cancer risk from aspartame.
A third cohort study has since been published and found no increased lymphoma risk associated with diet soda during a ten-year follow-up period. So , no hazard was detected in the 18 -week study, the 5-year study, or the 10 -year study–only in the 18 -year study. What should be used move of all this?
Some have called for a re-evaluation of the safety of aspartame. The pony is kind of out of the barn at this top with 34 million pounds of aspartame created annually, but that doesn’t mean we have to eat it, especially, perhaps, pregnant women and children.
For more information on the effects of aspartame, watch my videos Aspartame and the Brain and Aspartame-Induced Fibromyalgia. Interested in learning more about the effects of consuming diet soda? See, for example 😛 TAGEND
I also do a similarity of the more popular sweeteners on the market, including stevia and xylitol, in my video A Harmless Artificial Sweetener.
Perhaps the best candidate is erythritol, which you can learn about in my video Erythritol May Be a Sweet Antioxidant. That said, it’s probably better if we get away from all intense sweeteners, artificial or not. See my video Unsweetening the Diet for more on this.
In health, Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If you haven’t hitherto, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live performances 😛 TAGEND
2019: Evidence-Based Weight Loss 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food 2013: More Than an Apple a Day 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
Read more: nutritionfacts.org