Here are some interesting things

Powered by Blogger

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sweetener 'not linked to cancer' except when it is

The artificial sweetener aspartame is not linked to cancer, according to a report just released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The European food watchdog undertook an urgent review of the additive following a study (pdf), published in 2005, which suggested aspartame was carcinogenic.

But a working party said the incidence of tumours could not be linked to the artificial sweetener.

It says there is no reason to revise the current recommended intake levels.

Multiple Cancers
The review had been prompted by research undertaken by the European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences (ERF) in Bologna, Italy, which looked at the incidence of tumours found in rats that had been given varying levels of aspartame.

The study monitored more than 1,800 rats, following them throughout their lives.

The results, the foundation believed, showed that aspartame had the ability to induce cancers in a number of sites in the animals' bodies.

Following the publication of the study in the European Journal of Clinical Oncology, the EFSA ordered a review of the safety of the sweetener.

Although AFC said ERF's study was "very extensive", the working group disagreed with the conclusions it had come to.

Other Explanations
Dr Iona Pratt, chair of AFC's working group, said: "The Ramazinni Foundation's study showed an increase of cancers of the blood - lymphoma and leukaemia - in the rats."

But, she said, the working group concluded that these tumours were not related to aspartame.

AFC said the rate of the tumours was not related to the dose of aspartame, which would have been expected if there was a link. Comment: er, bollocks. I suppose the more asbestos you inhale the more cancer you get? Not.

The working group believes that a respiratory disease, found in many of the rats that took part in the study, was the likely cause of the tumours. Comment: The evidence clearly shows that stuffing rats with aspartame had nothing to do with their developing cancers.

The AFC also looked at the incidence of kidney tumours and changes to the kidney believed to have been caused by aspartame, but concluded this was an outcome specific to rats. Comment: Aha! It was the rats' fault.

It also said the diagnoses of some of the cases of malignant schwannomas (a rare type of tumour) had not been confirmed by other scientific institutions, and that the sweetener showed no evidence of genotoxity - the ability to damage DNA. Comment: Fictitous tumours. Of course.

Comment: In summary then; the tumours that developed were because of a respiratory disease, were specific to rats and ahem, did not exist in the first place.

Well, I feel safer, don't you?



Anonymous paula said...

Nice blog! Wanted to weigh in about aspartame. Been following the story for a while and while I totally understand the need to be careful about what we consume, the truth is that too much of anything is a bad thing. Aspartame is like anything in that regard, but I read recently that it would take 14 cans of soda a day to cause any real concern. When you combine that with the recent study (not to mention the FDA studies clearing it before), I think it shows that there's no real reason to be concerned.

9:51 PM  
Blogger McFox said...

Thank you. :o)

The '14 cans a day' nonsense comes from the press room of the organisation that released the latest 'study'.

Think about it for a moment. They couldn't fault the science or the methodology of the ERF so the AFC blurs the questions and tries to muddy the waters by saying, "Look over here! Look anywhere except at the evidence!".

Since aspartame is added to thousands and thousands of foods, there is heavy pressure from the food industry not to find fault, imo. Nothing to replace it.

8:16 AM  

Post a Comment

<;p class="comment-timestamp"> << Home