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Aspartame - letter to

8 March 2014

The recent publicity to get rid of sugary drinks from places such as hospitals and schools is welcome: the link between obesity and sugary drinks is well established. What is not so welcome is the manufacturers' attempts to keep their market share with drinks sweetened with the controversial additive aspartame.

There are links between weight gain and artificially sweetened drinks. Moreover research I have examined which purports to show weight loss associated with aspartame consumption is flawed. For example, one study fails to distinguish between those who were on diet drinks and those who drank water. There is growing independent research which shows various adverse effects from aspartame consumption. Unsurprisingly, industry-sponsored research does not show adverse effects.

Present in over 6,000 products worldwide, including diet and zero drinks, many things labelled sugar-free and medicines, aspartame has a chequered history, being approved in the US in 1981 only after a political appointee overruled the objections of two panels of scientists. More recently Soffritti and team recommend that regulatory authorities urgently re-examine the continued widespread use of aspartame and propose that pregnant women and children especially should not consume it.

We can produce plenty of anecdotal evidence that people's health improves when they come off aspartame. While the pursuit of profit continues to override ethics we urge people for the sake of their health to avoid this damaging sweetener.

Alison White
Safe Food Campaign
8 March 2014

[letter was not published]

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