Outbreak of peace in the sweetener world

Leaf-74187_150You might expect that producers of sugar and producers of other sweeteners would see each other as rivals, and there is indeed evidence of this. For example the ‘Truth About Splenda’ website, provided by the Sugar Association which represents sugar beet and cane farmers in the USA, emphasises the presence of chlorine atoms in the artificial sweetener sucralose (marketed as Splenda), and includes a link to a site comparing sucralose to bleach and DDT. On the other side of the debate, although www.sucralose.org doesn’t say anything very contentious about sugar (it’s true that sugar causes tooth decay and sucralose doesn’t), the sucralose industry has a history of arguably misleading advertising in the form of the slogan ‘made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar’.

Continue reading

Don’t you know there’s a war on?

Aspartame1‘s back in the news. The data we’ve been waiting for since I was last moved to post on this deceptively sweet little dipeptide has been published.

The European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences in Italy published their latest findings in the journal European Health Perspectives. ‘Lifespan exposure to low doses of aspartame beginning during prenatal life increases cancer effects in rats’, by Soffritti and colleagues, reports that when exposed to either 400 or 2000ppm of the sweetener from day 12 of foetal life, and for the rest of their natural lives, rats’ propensity towards certain cancers is increased in general, especially mammary tumours in females and lymphomas/leukemias in both sexes. This increase was especially significant when the dose was 2000ppm, a dose roughly equivalent to the acceptable daily intake for humans. The effects were dose dependent.

While the FDA has been reported as viewing this latest data as ‘no reason to review its opinion is safe as a general purpose sweetener in foods’, although it has not yet conducted a thorough review of the new data; and EFSA has not yet issued an opinion, the US consumer group; the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) immediately issued its support for the Ramazzi Foundation’s conclusion that ‘a review of the current regulations governing the use of aspartame cannot be delayed’, particularly in products that are heavily consumed by children.

Continue reading