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Does Aspartame cause cancer?

Researchers in Italy recently published a study demonstrating that aspartame causes cancer in animals. It showed increased incidence of malignant tumors, lymphomas, leukemias, and cancers of the kidney and nerves (Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, November, 2005.) On the same day, the Calorie Control Council, an international non-profit association representing the low-calorie and reduced-fat food and beverage industry, came out a report stating that: "Overwhelming Scientific Evidence Confirms Safety of Aspartame; Governments Recommend No Change in Dietary Practices Related to Aspartame." Whom do you believe?

More than a thousand previous studies have shown aspartame to be safe. At present, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has said they are not recommending any changes in the use of aspartame. When the Italian study was reviewed by the United Kingdom Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment, the committee found aspects of study findings "implausible.” Four long-term carcinogenicity studies have found no relationship between aspartame and any form of cancer. Aspartame has been consumed for nearly a quarter of a century, and is one of the most thoroughly analyzed food ingredients, with more than 200 scientific studies concluding that it is safe.

Aspartame is composed of two amino acids, protein- building blocks called aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Both amino acids are found naturally in protein-containing foods, including meats, grains and dairy products. They are also found naturally in many foods such as fruits and vegetable and their juices. The body handles the components from aspartame in the same way it handles them when derived from other foods. I think that it is unwise to consume huge amounts of any single food or ingredient, but aspartame in small amounts appears to be safe and in my opinion, it is preferable to the refined sugars it replaces in your diet.

Checked 12/2/07

May 10th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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