2007-05-22

Sugar vs Artificial Sweeteners

Looking at my eclipse mints tin, I noted that it didn't have the usual nutritional information on it, was probably on the plastic that I tore off to get to the minty scrumptiousness contained within. So I checked out Wriggley's poorly constructed browser specific web site to see what made these mints sweet (I sent them a note to sack their web monkeys who are Microsoft whores that are alienating the rest of us alternative browser users [!!! NOW FIXED!!!]).

Oh yummy. Quite a bit of alcohol in there. Some of the toxic type.

Then I thought about the various health warnings and possible links of artificial sweeteners to cancer, tumours, joint destruction etc that we keep hearing about through the old-wives-tales hotline.

Most of the approved artificial sweeteners have been thought to be linked to cancer, but tests that show they are linked have used extremely high amounts of the chemical or have been faulty in the conduct of the experiment. However - there still may be a link, and if it is 1 chance in 10,000 of causing cancer then I want to know. And that would be about the chance of increased cancer risk, given the levels we use - which is why the causal effect is so hard to detect.

Some sweeteners aren't thought to be linked to any health problems at all. Yet.

Also note that some sweeteners are banned in the US despite tests showing they are safe because of alleged pressure from the powerful US sugar industry.

A list below is provided for your entertainment. Keep in mind that indeterminant chance of getting cancer doesn't mean that the product doesn't cause cancer. It is just hard to detect.

You should, at the very least, check out the last one I put in.
  • 950 Acesulfame_K Poor aftertaste.
  • 951 Aspartame Possible link to headaches, brain tumors, lymphoma.
  • 952 Cyclamate Possible links to cancer.
  • 954 Saccharin Nasty aftertaste. Possible links to bladder cancer.
  • 955 Sucralose aka Splenda. Organochloride / chlorocarbon. Probably dangerous.
  • 956 Alitame by Pfizer.
  • 957 Thaumatin Naturally isolated from the katemfe fruit.
  • 961 Neotame by nutrasweet. Produces toxic methanol.
  • Stevia Natural plant extract. Possible mutagen of liver.
  • Xylitol Wood / birch alcohol. Kills dogs.
  • Maltitol Sugar alcohol. Low GI.
  • Sugar Proven links to obesity, heart disease, diabetes. Possible links to hyperactivity. One of the largest killers of modern humans.

Yeah. Artificial sweeteners may slightly increase your chances of cancer for SOME artificial sweeteners - and there are a LOT of them. Eating sugar based products has a very strong chance of putting you in the ground early.

When I asked a nutritionist "What would be better, sugar based fizzy drinks or artificial sweeteners?" the first reaction was of disgust and "Don't drink fizzy drinks at all!", which is sound advice given recent developments on the effects of Sodium Benzoate (Presevative 211) which will destroy your liver or stuff your brain with parkinsons and a possible plethora of other nasty effects. However, after much discussion that involved the nutritionist refusing to believe that you need to choose between the two by my postulation that the average schlepp wants the fizzy stuff, the nutritionist begrudgingly conceded that she would recommend artificial sweeteners, given the slight unproved concerns of health issues versus the devastating problems associated with high processed sugar intake.

Yes I eat Eclipse mints and will continue to do so, even tho they seem to be mostly alcohol, artificial sweeteners and gooey crud they scrape off some tree :)

I also drink Pepsi Max, Coke Zero, LA Ice Maxi and so forth. The chances of sweetener related problems are so small compared to sugar related problems. However ... again ... Sodium Benzoate ... maybe I won't drink fizzy stuff any more.

Ideally, I reduce fizzy drink intake to nothing, consume water instead and simply brush my teeth when I want fresh breath, but the world is set up to make that more awkward or stupidly expensive in the case of water.

It's simple. Exercise more and eat less! And ... it's hard. Exercise more and eat less!

"Greater consumption of sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas was associated with a significantly higher risk of stroke." - Bernstein 2012. Soda consumption and the risk of stroke in men and women.

"consumption of diet soda at least daily was associated with significantly greater risks of select incident metabolic syndrome components and type 2 diabetes." - Nettleton 2008. Diet Soda Intake and Risk of Incident Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Atrayee 2008. Genotoxicity Testing of Low-Calorie Sweeteners: Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, and Saccharin.

"artificially sweetened soft drinks may increase the risk of preterm delivery." - Halldorsson 2010. Intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and risk of preterm delivery: a prospective cohort study in 59,334 Danish pregnant women.

"The results of this mega-experiment indicate that APM is a multipotential carcinogenic agent, even at a daily dose of 20 mg/kg body weight, much less than the current acceptable daily intake." - Soffritti 2006. First experimental demonstration of the multipotential carcinogenic effects of aspartame administered in the feed to Sprague-Dawley rats.

"cola consumption may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease." - Saldana 2007. Carbonated beverages and chronic kidney disease.

"Cases are presented demonstrating the early initiation and rapid progression of dental caries in three adolescents. A common factor is the ingestion of high amounts of caffeinated-carbonated soft drinks." - Majewski 2001. Dental caries in adolescents associated with caffeinated carbonated beverages.

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