Aspartame: the myths remain despite the facts

By ACSH Staff — Aug 14, 2013
Coca-Cola finds itself defending one of the safest and most widely used chemicals you will ever find the artificial sweetener aspartame


Here is a list of a few things that simply won t go away:

Politicians lying

Budget deficits

The Cubs not winning the pennant

Myths about aspartame (NutraSweet)

Unfortunately for the Coca-Cola company, they find themselves defending one of the safest and most widely used chemicals you will ever find the artificial sweetener aspartame. But the science that is being used to attack aspartame is so obscenely inaccurate and agenda-driven that Coke finds itself in the position of defending something that the fringe chemophobes call the most toxic chemical in the world.

Which would be almost funny, except for the fact that groups with hidden agendas are successfully scaring Americans with a barrage of mis- and disinformation. And it is based on nothing but fear a superb motivator.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom, a 27-year veteran of biomedical research with expertise in toxicology and metabolism attempts to set the record straight: The conspiracy theories concerning aspartame have been going on for decades. Without speculating on who has something to gain by perpetuating these myths, the actual data on the sweetener speak volumes.

He continues, The materials safety data sheet (MSDS) a standard form required for just about every chemical known to mankind makes the toxicity claims look like the pure idiocy that they are. For example, the LD50 (the dose required to kill 50% of any given species) is not even measurable because it is impossible to find a fatal dose, at least in rats. Although the predictive value of toxicity across multiple species is highly imperfect, we can nonetheless make a very rough estimate of the number of cans of soda per day to possibly kill a human about 1900 cans. And if you re drinking 1900 cans of Diet Coke a day, you have way more to worry about than the toxicity of aspartame. But the bottom line is this: aspartame has been in common use for decades, and no one can find any evidence that those who consume it have a higher risk of any disease, period.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross added this: The scare article by the AP s Food Industry Writer Choi may as well have been written by one of the anti-soda, anti-chemical fringe groups. She briefly notes the science: the FDA and all other regulatory agencies have called aspartame safe. However, she quotes one dietitian s opinions to the contrary, as when he refers to keeping people hooked on sweets over more wholesome choices, apparently buying into the ridiculous theory that zero-calorie sweeteners can be as fattening as sugary beverages.

ACSH routinely deals with phony chemical scares, and this is as good an example as any. There are those with a vested interest in portraying artificial sweeteners as poisons, but the science shows them to be the charlatans that they are.

ACSH has a publication discussing non-nutritive sweeteners including aspartame, of course.