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Thread: Think that sweetener is safe? Think again.

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Think that sweetener is safe? Think again.

    Hydrations a key point too. Drink enough water, and it'll flush alot out of your system.
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    Default Artificial sweeteners

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hubbard
    Hmm...artificial and "modified" sweeteners cause serious issues....
    Actually, there is concern that artificial sweeteners MAY cause adverse health effects. However, conclusive evidence has yet to be found. Making definitive claims before such evidence is found is premature at best, and possibly fear-mongering.

    Nutrasweet (aspartame and neotame) burns holes in your brain.
    Huh? Can I assume that's a joke? To date, there is NO conclusive evidence suggesting that aspartame has any adverse health effects, unless you suffer from phenylketonuria (a genetic metabolic disorder). The website you linked (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame) discusses the various possible side effects in depth. In each case, it is clear that research is ongoing and that no conclusion has been reached. Just recently, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a report stating that, based on all the currently available data, aspartame does NOT cause cancer (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01369.html).

    Neotame, which is chemically similar to aspartame, is even safer than aspartame, as it doesn't have any effect on people who suffer from phenylketonuria.

    These same websites you linked state clearly that Splenda is still considered safe:

    In discussing chlorine content: The inventors of Splenda admit around fifteen percent (15%) of sucralose is absorbed by the body, but they cannot guarantee us (out of this fifteen percent) what amount of chlorine stays in the body and what percent flushes out. (http://www.splendaexposed.com/) Clearly, nobody knows this. So, what evidence is there to suppose that any harm is being done to the body? This same website goes on to say: New chemical sweeteners (like Splenda) and the sweetener blends (aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame K blended together in one product) may be causing users to show signs of weight gain, disruption of sleep patterns, sexual dysfunction, increases in cancer, MS, Lupus, diabetes, and a list of epidemic degenerative diseases. The key word in this statement is "may." If there was evidence of these effects being caused by the sweeteners, wouldn't it be presented? It seems these nay-sayers are content to make baseless accusations. Surprisingly, this website was supportive of FDA findings with regard to saccharin: According to FDA documents, saccharin has never caused cancer. Years ago, saccharin was sold in tiny pin-sized pellets, and merely two or three were enough to add sweetness to coffee or iced tea. This is what I consider a natural sucrose (sugar) substitute!

    The second website (http://www.mercola.com/2000/dec/3/sucralose_dangers.htm) is actually not bad. The author doesn't make any specific claims about Splenda, but warns that perhaps it wasn't tested thoroughly. This is a viable claim; but he does fail to note whether the studies that were done showed any adverse effects. Then he goes on to suggest that people diagnose themselves. Not only is this anecdotal evidence at best, failing to control for logical fallacies, testing biases, and human errors; but the amount of time he suggests for the testing period (1-3 days) is obviously inadequate to test for any of the supposed side effects.

    The third website (http://www.womentowomen.com/nutritio...ss/splenda.asp) is also well written. The author states her opinions and makes clear that they are opinions. My favorite statement is this: So is Splenda safe? The truth is we donít know yet. She states her concerns articulately but is also honest about the lack of evidence.

    Saccharin.
    Wait, doesn't that cause cancer?
    Hmm, guess not really. From here:
    "Remember those carcinogen warnings on the side of products that contained saccharin? They no longer appear because industry testing showed that saccharin only caused bladder cancer in rats. Most researchers agree that in sufficient doses, saccharin is carcinogenic in humans. The question is, how do you know how much your individual body can tolerate?"
    This is just another example of how things get hyped up with little evidence or because evidence is misunderstood. The doses that caused cancer in rats were several hundred times larger than what humans normally consume. Doses more comparable to normal usage had no links to cancer. I'd say that answers that last question.

    Cyclamate (which I've never heard of)
    The FDA has banned cyclamate in the USA. There was some initial concern that it may have caused bladder cancer and testicular atrophy in rats. This was later shown to be without merit, but cyclamate remains banned here. It is used in several other countries, including Canada.

    Then theres Sorbitol, popular in diabetic candy
    "For many years, diabetics have used products sweetened with polyalcohol sugars like sorbitol, xylitol, malitol, and mannitol. These are natural sweeteners that do not trigger an insulin reaction. (Xylitol comes from birch tree pulp.) They have half the calories of sugar and are not digested by the small intestine. While most polyalcohol sugars have no side effects, sorbitol is a laxative and can cause diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and flatulence."
    Sorbitol IS a laxative, because it draws water into the colon. People with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and fructose malabsorption are particularly susceptible. However, large amounts would need to be consumed in order to cause diarrhea in otherwise healthy people.

    and Stevia, which is a South America herb.
    http://www.stevia.net/
    Stevia seems to be the current favored sweetener of the health conscious crowd.
    Even stevia has its drawbacks. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia, studies have reported that stevia causes depressed virility and is a possible mutagen. It is currently banned in the EU, Japan, and Singapore. However, it is available as a food supplement here.

    I think the big lesson is that we ought to wait for real data before making claims about safety. Obviously, it's just fine to err on the side of caution. That's good advice to anyone. However, it's more intellectually honest to admit when evidence is lacking.

    Thanks,
    MH
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    Default Re: Artificial sweeteners

    The thing with using the word "May" is its a CYA. I remember warnings for years on cigarettes "May cause cancer". Eventually, it was reworded.

    Found this:
    "The U.S. National Cancer Institute says on its Web site that the main chemical in stevioside can be converted in a laboratory into a substance that alters genes. Further study is needed to determine whether the sweetener can cause cancer, it says." http://forum.lowcarber.org/archive/index.php/t-152819
    Though I haven't tracked the USNC website down yet.

    This seems to me to indicate it is safe, however, theres some marketing hype in there and lots of big words (lol) that I haven't "translated" yet.
    http://www.godshaer.co.uk/steviosides.php


    "A case in point is the current FDA action against stevia, a plant used for over 400 years to sweeten herbal teas. The FDA initiated an import alert on stevia in May 1990, and has required its removal from dozens of consumer products, some of which have contained it for over ten years.

    Stevia leaf is over 100 times as sweet as sugar (sucrose). Extracts of the plant have captured over 40% of the Japanese high-intensity sweetener market, with no adverse reactions reported. This herb was investigated in HRFs ISR process, employing Douglas Kinghorn, Ph.D., a leading expert on natural non-nutritive sweeteners, from the University of Illinois, Chicago. His conclusion, and that of two other highly credentialed experts reviewing his work, is that stevia leaf is safe. That is, the stevia leaf has been self-affirmed as GRAS. The historical evidence has been augmented by a reasonably large body of high quality scientific research.

    While stevia is of more interest as a food than a supplement ingredient, it is an interesting example because the FDA has questioned the legality of its use. The FDA is reviewing the HRF safety review which has been submitted as documentation of safety. Considering the fact that aspartame is the leading cause of adverse reactions reported to the FDA, and that Japanese authorities have reported no such reactions to stevia, the agency might be expected to take some interest in this natural alternative. Stevia has been used safely for nearly twenty years by millions of people in a technologically advanced country, and for centuries in the past."
    http://www.herbalgram.org/iherb/herb...view.asp?a=880
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    Default Re: Think that sweetener is safe? Think again.

    Ok Ok I will get my food science book out later tonight after classes. Teaching again hora. But I ll tell you all about sweeteners.
    "To hear is to doubt. To see is to be deceived. But to feel is to believe." -- SGM Ed Parker

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    Default Re: Think that sweetener is safe? Think again.

    cool.
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    Default Re: Artificial sweeteners

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hubbard
    The thing with using the word "May" is its a CYA. I remember warnings for years on cigarettes "May cause cancer". Eventually, it was reworded.
    My point exactly! Covering of posteriors is only required when one cannot prove one's statements. If they had evidence to back their claims, they wouldn't need to CYA.

    I almost don't want to say this, but cigarettes don't cause cancer. That is, no causal studies have been devised or performed on cigarette smoking and its relationship to cancer. Definitely, cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk of many different types of cancer; this is absolutely true. However, cigarettes alone do not and have not caused cancer. Otherwise, every single smoker would have had cancer, and we already know that isn't the case. Many people smoke all their lives and never develop cancer or any other tumors. Cancer is a multifactorial disease, with many risk factors and causes, both environmental and genetic. Some people are more susceptible/prone to cancerous growth than others, and they are the ones most at risk of cigarette linked cancer. The problem is that we cannot screen for this susceptibility; therefore, we don't know what percentage or which subset of the population is at risk. All we do know is that cigarette smoking has a high relative risk correlation with cancer. So, the statement that cigarettes "may cause cancer" is absolutely true. The altered warning labels have more to do with political pressure and public policy than science.

    Found this:
    "The U.S. National Cancer Institute says on its Web site that the main chemical in stevioside can be converted in a laboratory into a substance that alters genes. Further study is needed to determine whether the sweetener can cause cancer, it says." http://forum.lowcarber.org/archive/index.php/t-152819
    Though I haven't tracked the USNC website down yet.

    This seems to me to indicate it is safe, however, theres some marketing hype in there and lots of big words (lol) that I haven't "translated" yet.
    http://www.godshaer.co.uk/steviosides.php
    I agree completely. From what I can tell, stevia and its derivatives appear to be perfectly safe for human consumption. The evidence suggesting any adverse health effects is limited and controversial. I just wanted to point out that there is some negative evidence out there.

    However, this is exactly the same situation with all the other sweeteners you mentioned! Therefore, it seems only logical to state that stevia is only as safe as all the others. I don't understand how you can justify the claim that stevia is any more safe, or that the other sweeteners are any less so. The page you linked (http://forum.lowcarber.org/archive/index.php/t-152819) mentions the National Cancer Institute's website. On the NCI's site, they have a page summarizing the data on artificial sweeteners (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/f...ial-sweeteners). Here are the key points:

    Key Points
    • Artificial sweeteners are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (see Question 1).
    • There is no clear evidence that the artificial sweeteners on the market in the United States are related to cancer risk in humans (see Question 2).
    • Studies have been conducted on the safety of several artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, neotame, and cyclamate (see Question 3).
    Clearly, both the FDA and the NCI agree that all artificial sweeteners (that are currently available here) are safe for our consumption. It doesn't seem fair to cherry-pick data that we want to hear and omit evidence we don't like.

    Thanks,
    MH
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  7. #27
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    Default Re: Artificial sweeteners

    The issue I have, is this: "Considering the fact that aspartame is the leading cause of adverse reactions reported to the FDA, and that Japanese authorities have reported no such reactions to stevia, the agency might be expected to take some interest in this natural alternative. Stevia has been used safely for nearly twenty years by millions of people in a technologically advanced country, and for centuries in the past."

    Stevia is natural, you and I can grow it, and it cannot be patented. The artificials can be. I'm convinced that there is a bias against any natural, non-patentable solution with the FDA. Bear with me here, and I'll be hitting alot of this shortly with a few articles I'm working on. I appreciate the critical eye though, it makes me dig deeper which is very good.


    My experience:
    - I get dizzy when I drink "diet" pop. I don't when I drink regular. The main difference is the choice of sweetner, usually nutrasweet in the diets.
    - I spent 6 months using alot of Splenda. My blood pressure went up, I lost no weight despite an 200-900+ calorie drop per day. (I drink -alot- of tea.) In addition, I had some, interesting, concerns in my lower back/kidney area. Since stopping use of Splenda, my BP has stabilized, and those concerns are gone.
    - The question about virility is interesting. I have to say, since stopping the artificials, it's been on a steady increase.


    As to the possible safety / risks of Aspartame:
    Aspartame Warning
    Symptoms

    The CDC Response 1984 I haven't found anything newer on the CDC website. This report is 22 years old!

    New Mexico is/was considering banning Aspartame as recently at Dec 2005.

    Italian study

    A large multi-year study of a private Italian health research foundation has acutely confirmed what studies in the 1980s had already found: brain tumors and other unsavory effects of aspartame consumption. The study, which used laboratory animals to test the cancer hypothesis, has been published by Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news on the impact of the environment on human health. The article is available on the EHP website.

    The study's authors said that previous studies on aspartame were too short to show the cancer causing potential of the substance: "In our opinion, previous studies did not comply with today's basic requirements for testing the carcinogenic potential of a physical or chemical agent, in particular concerning the number of rodents for each experimental group (40 - 86, compared to 100 - 150 in the current study) and the termination of previous studies at only 110 weeks of age of the animals."

    The study has made headline news, but most countries are wary to take a first step - the FDA is held in high esteem, although opinions might be changing after recent scandals have shaken in the agency.

    Consumer complaints

    Consumer complaints about aspartame were collected by the FDA and in a rare slip, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in February of 1994 released a listing of adverse reactions. There are some 92, the listing can be found in Aspartame... the BAD news!. Apparently aspartame accounted for more than 75% of all adverse reactions reported to the FDA's Adverse Reaction Monitoring System.

    The FDA is in a very unenviable position. It has approved a neurotoxic carcinogen to be used as an artificial sweetener and complaints are piling up to where they are difficult to hide. But once the sweetener was approved it became almost impossible for the agency to admit wrongdoing, without unleashing a scandal the likes of which has not been seen since the thalidomide disaster.
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    Default Re: Artificial sweeteners

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hubbard
    The issue I have, is this: "Considering the fact that aspartame is the leading cause of adverse reactions reported to the FDA, and that Japanese authorities have reported no such reactions to stevia, the agency might be expected to take some interest in this natural alternative. Stevia has been used safely for nearly twenty years by millions of people in a technologically advanced country, and for centuries in the past."
    I believe we've already had this particular debate, as it relates to anecdotal evidence. Apparently, 75% of the adverse event complaints (from ~1982 to 1995 I believe) were related to aspartame; according to a listing on the FDA's site, this amounts to ~7000 complaints over that time period. That number seems significant, even when taken over 13 or 14 years. However, this number fails to reflect any clinical significance. The complainants are merely reporting their experiences and attributing them to the consumption of aspartame. I don't know how many of these people subjected themselves to a scientific testing process, but I'm guessing the percentage is small. There is simply no way to determine the accuracy of the reports. However, I do believe that any repeated complaints ought to be cause for further investigation. And, from what I can tell, further investigation into the safety of aspartame has taken place. Even with continued testing, there is still no conclusive evidence that aspartame is linked to adverse health effects.

    Conversely, how do we know that the lack of complaints against stevia is significant? Perhaps people failed to link their health problems with their stevia consumption. The alleged symptoms that I've read are so vague and non-specific (fatigue, dizziness, hunger, thirst, diarrhea, etc.) that most people would never be able to tie them to one cause. Worse, what if the effects were so severe, lethal even, that the complaint process was never started in any of the cases? Clearly, complaints, or the absence thereof, are not a definitive or effective way to judge the safety of these compounds.

    Stevia is natural, you and I can grow it, and it cannot be patented. The artificials can be. I'm convinced that there is a bias against any natural, non-patentable solution with the FDA. Bear with me here, and I'll be hitting alot of this shortly with a few articles I'm working on. I appreciate the critical eye though, it makes me dig deeper which is very good.
    I'll agree with you here. The FDA is far too politically motivated, and has become more so over time. It seems that attitudes and judgements change every time the political climate changes. As an example, consider how the FDA refused to allow Plan B (emergency contraception) to be sold over-the-counter, despite the advisory committee being in favor of it being OTC. The committee voted 23-4 in favor of OTC sale, and 27-0 that it could be sold OTC safely. The FDA claimed that safety issues in women under age 16 were the reason. However, when asked for OTC status for women over 16, the FDA refused to make a ruling twice. As a result, a few states have taken the initiative to alter their own laws.

    I'm more than happy to provide a skeptical/critical point of view. And I'll bear with you, if you'll agree to do same if I get a little over-zealous.

    My experience:
    - I get dizzy when I drink "diet" pop. I don't when I drink regular. The main difference is the choice of sweetner, usually nutrasweet in the diets.
    - I spent 6 months using alot of Splenda. My blood pressure went up, I lost no weight despite an 200-900+ calorie drop per day. (I drink -alot- of tea.) In addition, I had some, interesting, concerns in my lower back/kidney area. Since stopping use of Splenda, my BP has stabilized, and those concerns are gone.
    - The question about virility is interesting. I have to say, since stopping the artificials, it's been on a steady increase.
    Once again, we have no way of knowing if your symptoms even truly exist, much less if they are linked to aspartame. Your experience could range from purely psychosomatic to possible toxicity. Without controlling for logical fallacies and biases, any accurate conclusion is out of reach. Also, there are confounding factors present. Didn't you once say that you suffer from hypertension? This alone could account for your dizziness. Or, it may be that the aspartame is interfering with your medication regime. Same thing with Splenda. Obviously, if drinking diet soda makes you feel badly, you should avoid it! That's a no-brainer.

    If the aspartame is affecting your health adversely, there is no reason to suspect that it will do the same to others. In any case, I'm not suggesting that you're wrong; you know your own body better than I ever could. You should always do what you feel is best for your own health. (BTW, I'm glad to hear that you have no lack of virility. )

    As to the possible safety / risks of Aspartame:
    Aspartame Warning
    Symptoms

    The CDC Response 1984 I haven't found anything newer on the CDC website. This report is 22 years old!

    New Mexico is/was considering banning Aspartame as recently at Dec 2005.
    I appreciate your research efforts, but none of the websites you've provided have any new information. When you follow the links, they either end up at the same few sites, or they regurgitate the same opinions. I already addressed the Italian study (performed by the European Ramazzini Foundation) that you mentioned. Upon reading the abstract, I can see that it was a well-performed attempt to properly study the issue. However, the abstract doesn't reveal the problems with the study. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluated the ERF study and found it lacking (http://www.efsa.eu.int/press_room/pr...e/1472_en.html). Specifically, they found:

    The slight increase in incidence of cancers known as lymphomas and leukemias in treated rats was considered to be unrelated to aspartame treatment and most likely attributed to the high background incidence of inflammatory changes in the lung. In addition, there was no dose-response relationship with respect to increasing doses of aspartame.
    The findings in the kidney, ureter and bladder, observed mainly in female rats, are not specific to aspartame and have been observed with a number of chemicals administered to rats at high dose levels. Such changes are normally the result of irritation or imbalances in calcium metabolism specific to rats and are of no relevance for humans.
    Concerning the malignant tumors of the peripheral nerves, the numbers of tumours were low with no clear dose- response relationship over a wide dose range. There is also uncertainty about the diagnosis of these tumours. The Panel indicated that this finding can only be fully evaluated by an independent peer-review of the relevant tissues.

    The emphases above are mine, but you can see that there are some fundamental flaws in the study. As a result, the EFSA ruled that this study, by itself, did not provide a scientific reason to re-evaluate the safety of aspartame. Subsequently, the FDA has decided to evaluate the ERF study as well (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01369.html). This evaluation has not yet been completed, but the FDA will release its findings when it is.

    Thanks, MH
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    Default Re: Artificial sweeteners

    When aspartame is broken down a portion of it is converted to methanol.
    From there it is converted to formaldehyde.
    I dont think that this is really in debate. Some research states that the level of formaldehyde created is negligible.
    Now some people drink can after can of diet cola or drinks sweetened with aspartame.
    If we were to take the amount of formaldehyde that would be converted from this amount of diet drink, put it in a cup....who would be willing to drink it?

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