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Q: Which is worse "Sweet and Low" or "Equal" ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Which is worse "Sweet and Low" or "Equal"
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: dopamine-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 23 Jun 2002 10:53 PDT
Expires: 23 Jun 2003 10:53 PDT
Question ID: 31953
Is the aspartame scare an urban myth or are there valid reasons why it
should be avoided?

What are the proven dangers/side-effects of saccharin?

What does the most current academic research indicate?

Any info that is unbias and accredited is appreciated.
Subject: Re: Which is worse "Sweet and Low" or "Equal"
Answered By: 8ball-ga on 23 Jun 2002 18:44 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
“Is the aspartame scare an urban myth or are there valid reasons why
it should be avoided?”

This seems to be two questions:  “Is the aspartame scare an urban
myth?” and “are there valid reasons why it should be avoided?”

I would say that the answer to both of these questions is “yes.”

For any of the questions you have asked, however, there is going to be
wild disagreement throughout.  My own personal experience is that the
stuff is completely benign.  Missy-ga clearly feels very strongly that
it is not.

I will say that the link she has given does not strike me as
authoritative.  There is tons of stuff at the FDA, but I think this
one page is a good summary of what you will find:

It gives the FDA position that aspartame is generally safe as well as
the few instances in which it is known to cause problems.  This should
answer the second question directly.  There are clearly some reasons
why one might avoid aspartame.  However, given that your question is
about the “aspartame scare,” I assume pointing you to the FDA’s
website is insufficient for suggesting the scare is a myth.  I am
guessing that you will also find any pointer to a page at a soda
company to be insufficient.

One site that you might find sufficient is:

This page states, “Even daily large doses of the high-intensity
sweetener aspartame, also known as NutraSweet, had no adverse effect
on study subjects' health and well-being.”

The best non-FDA analysis of the “aspartame scare” that I have seen is
at “” has a great deal on aspartame.  I think the
best place to start is:

This discusses an e-mail that went around in 1998 about aspartame
toxicity.  The third page has several links to authoritative pages
that affirm aspartame is benign for most people.  (This is where I
found the MIT link.)

As to the question of:  “What are the proven dangers/side-effects of
saccharin?” this too is controversial.  There has been concern that
saccharin causes bladder cancer:

However, much of this concern appears to be unfounded for the small
amounts of saccharin that people actually ingest.  Though once again,
one can find web sites, articles, opinions, etc. that vary wildly.

Here is some information form  =)

The government has now removed saccharin from its list of potential
carcinogens as well:

I think the bottom line here is not to lose too much sleep over any of
this.  If you have problems then by all means avoid the artificial
stuff.  Personally, I worry much more about the fact I still do not
own a ski helmet than the fact I drink diet soda.  ;)

Hope this helps.

dopamine-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
excellent, thanks!

Subject: Re: Which is worse "Sweet and Low" or "Equal"
From: missy-ga on 23 Jun 2002 12:48 PDT
You can find a listing of Aspartame studies here:

Me, I avoid the stuff like the plague.  It causes violent nausea, and
migraines that force me to stay in a completely dark, completely
silent room - either until they pass, or Sweet Merciful Death comes to
take me away.

missy "I'll take sugar, thanks" -ga
Subject: Re: Which is worse "Sweet and Low" or "Equal"
From: mydogrex-ga on 10 Jul 2002 08:02 PDT
Unfortunately in science, the results often benefit the study sponsor.
Try stevia, instead.

This is a method paper for detecting aspartame:

Aspartame + chymotrypsin --> methanol
methanol + alcohol oxidase --> formaldehyde 
(BTW this happens in our bodies)
from Analyst, 1997, 122 (5), 487 - 490.

More papers supporting methanol, formaldehdyde breakdown products
Cheng YD, Lin SY. 
Isothermal Fourier transform infrared microspectrosopic studies on the
kinetics of solid-state intramolecular cyclization of aspartame

J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Mar;48(3):631-5.
PMID: 10725126 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Trocho C, Pardo R, Rafecas I, Virgili J, Remesar X, Fernandez-Lopez
Alemany M.  Formaldehyde derived from dietary aspartame binds to
tissue components in vivo. Life Sci. 1998;63(5):337-49.
PMID: 9714421 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Here are citations on saccharin
1:  Schoeffner DJ, Thorgeirsson UP. 
Susceptibility of nonhuman primates to carcinogens of human relevance.
In Vivo. 2000 Jan-Feb;14(1):149-56. Review.
PMID: 10757072 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

2:  Whysner J, Williams GM. 
Saccharin mechanistic data and risk assessment: urine composition,
enhanced cell
proliferation, and tumor promotion.
Pharmacol Ther. 1996;71(1-2):225-52. Review.
PMID: 8910956 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

3:  Cohen SM. 
Role of cell proliferation in regenerative and neoplastic disease.
Toxicol Lett. 1995 Dec;82-83:15-21. Review.
PMID: 8597044 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

4:  Cohen SM. 
Cell proliferation in the bladder and implications for cancer risk
Toxicology. 1995 Sep 1;102(1-2):149-59. Review.
PMID: 7482550 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

5:  Cohen SM. 
Human relevance of animal carcinogenicity studies.
Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1995 Feb;21(1):75-80; discussion 81-6.
PMID: 7784639 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

6:  Elcock M, Morgan RW. 
Update on artificial sweeteners and bladder cancer.
Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1993 Feb;17(1):35-43.
PMID: 8441827 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

7:  Chappel CI. 
A review and biological risk assessment of sodium saccharin.
Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1992 Jun;15(3):253-70. Review.
PMID: 1509119 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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