Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Aspartame?




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LKTS
08-17-2004, 08:20 PM
Hi everyone,
I have read various things about the health issues surrounding aspartame. Can anyone point me to some authoritative resources on the issue? I am working on kicking diet pepsi, but I still love the 0 calorie flavored water that Target sells.


funniegrrl
08-17-2004, 08:42 PM
There are people who avoid all non-nutritive sweeteners on principle, and they would say you shouldn't use it. Some people claim that it gives them headaches and other adverse reactions. But, if you're not philosophically opposed to it and if you don't have any reactions, then you are perfectly OK to consume it. The things you have read are *hoaxes.* Snopes is a hoax-busting website that conducts extensive research on things like this. Just go to www.snopes.com and search on "aspartame" and you'll find out all you need to know.

bicker
08-18-2004, 07:39 AM
To be fair, although aspartame is safe, it isn't the healthiest of the artificial sweeteners. Saccharine has tons of data about its safety, showing that you'd really have to go overboard to face significant risk. (Imagine what risk you'd face if you had the comparable amount of sugar!!! :dizzy: ) Sucralose is relatively new, but there hasn't been any bad news there either, yet.


Mel
08-18-2004, 12:59 PM
The only documented problem that I've found with aspartame is interference with deep sleep in a very few people. This was told to me by 2 sleeps docs at the U. of Pennsylvania Sleep Disorders Clinic. So if you aren't having any sleep problems, aspartame in moderate quantities is not a problem. Sure beats the digestive woes that most of the sugar alcohols cause :p
I've never had any problems with spenda or stevia and nothing in the literature points to known problems.

But what's wrong with real water?

Mel

SwimGirl
08-18-2004, 03:06 PM
I don't know that aspartame has been around long enough for us to know the real problems aspartame might cause. I have heard that it definitely can bother people who have alzheimer's, and I've heard if can be a factor with people who end up getting it as well. For me? I'm allergic, it makes my throat swell, I get bladder infections and get a nice headache, so I avoid that stuff altogether.

MrsJim
08-18-2004, 06:41 PM
But what's wrong with real water?

Mel

(chuckling) Mel - I just flashed back to an old MAD Magazine paperback I used to own - the page was like a supermarket advertisement and one of the featured sale items was "Instant Water" (in small print below: "just add hot coffee" :lol: )

On aspartame - there's NEVER going to be a consensus about it. Yup, Snopes has the nitty gritty. Aspartame's actually been around for almost 40 years now - discovered in the 1960's. Only a few years 'younger' than birth control pills, if you think about it :) I myself, along with my entire family, has been ingesting pretty significant quantities of aspartame since, oh, the mid-70's (when the chemists were trying to figure out how to make it work in food and beverages - as some of us here probably know, it's not as easy as substituting a like amount of artificial sweetener for sugar - especially since aspartame is not at all stable under heat - the amino acids break down) and have had no problems in thirty years of use. (I haven't had kids - by CHOICE - but my sisters' kids are all healthy and normal...well except for my youngest nephew, who has apparently inherited his granddad's penchant for 'weird humor' and practical jokes).

Personally, I put it around the same category as, say, MSG (the substance that causes "Chinese restaurant syndrome" in some people). If you can ingest it without any problems, then use it. If you have headaches or whatever and feel they can be attributed to aspartame, then stay away from the stuff. Besides, IMO, as the price for sucralose (Splenda) goes down, aspartame is bound to take a back seat - the main advantage of Splenda, of course, being that it can withstand heat and therefore is more versatile.

But ya know...if I'm drinking iced tea, I've GOT to have my pink packets of Sweet & Low! Weird!

MrsJim
08-18-2004, 06:50 PM
I don't know that aspartame has been around long enough for us to know the real problems aspartame might cause. I have heard that it definitely can bother people who have alzheimer's, and I've heard if can be a factor with people who end up getting it as well. For me? I'm allergic, it makes my throat swell, I get bladder infections and get a nice headache, so I avoid that stuff altogether.

As far as the 'link' between Alzheimer's and aspartame...here's what the Alzheimer's Association has to say about that.

http://www.alz.org/AboutAD/Myths.asp

Myth 5: Aspartame causes memory loss.

Reality: Aspartame’s role in memory loss is a health concern that has been associated with artificial sweeteners. Several studies have been conducted on aspartame’s effect on cognitive function in both animals and humans. These studies found no scientific evidence of a link between aspartame and memory loss.

Aspartame was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 for use in all foods and beverages. The sweetener, marketed as Nutrasweet® and Equal®, is made by joining two protein components, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, with 10 percent methanol. Methanol is widely found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods.

SwimGirl
08-18-2004, 10:36 PM
I was just talking about personal experiences, I know a person with Alzheimer's that when they have aspartame they have a reaction, but those are only my personal experiences of it. Maybe it's just like tobacco, which was around for how long before we realized it was bad for us? I think in the end you just have to do whats right for you and your beliefs. I'm sorry if what I said was mistaken, I really don't know anything about the science behind it, I just know what I experience :(

LKTS
08-19-2004, 01:56 PM
Thanks for all the info, everyone. I don't notice a bad reaction from aspartame myself, though I am trying to kick diet soda because of the caffeine and acid and such. I have no problem w/ saccharin either, and I haven't tried splenda/sucralose yet. Mainly when I ingest artificial sweetners it's in a drink. Usually when I bake etc. I'd rather use real sugar and just eat less of it.

Mel, there's absolutely nothing wrong w/ real water :) and I drink a ton of it. Sometimes, though, I feel like something sweeter, but with less calories than juice or lemonade, etc. I do sometimes drink Calistoga mineral water with a bit of apple juice, which is really good and a decent compromise.