The quote comes from a Dr who is convinced of the damage aspartame can cause. Apparently, it is an "argument from final consequences" fallacy.
Well, I found it interesting, as I like my "Slimline" tonic in my gin.
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear
bright, until you hear them speak.
I really wish you wouldnt post the "alternative" position, Dr Joseph Mercola is a quack and is well known to the quackwatch community. Everything he says should be taken with a "pinch of aspartame".
De omnibus dubitandum
The public thought tobbacco was good for you because they were informed that it was good for you, infact there are even adverts telling people what brand doctors smoke. You cannot blame them for being fed wrong information to support an agenda can you?
De omnibus dubitandum
In the 1980s, a product called aspartame revolutionized the dieting industry. It was a calorie free sweetener that appeared to be the perfect solution to a dieter’s sugar cravings. Diabetics were encouraged to use it as studies showed that it did not raise blood sugar levels. Aspartame was marketed under the name NutraSweet and has since become widely used in low-calorie soft drinks, candies, and foods, but is this artificial sweetener really so harmless? Recently, scientific studies as well as personal claims have revealed that aspartame may be responsible for many adverse health issues in its consumers.
Suspicions about the safety of aspartame were raised in the early to mid-90s when a woman named Betty Martini gave a lecture at the World Environmental Conference. Martini discovered a link between the consumption of aspartame and an increased risk of Multiple Sclerosis and lupus. Her groundbreaking address sparked an enormous amount of interest in the effects of aspartame on the general public, and in Monsanto, the industry giant that produces NutraSweet. A 1994 report from the Department of Health and Human Services documented 92 different ailments contributed to aspartame. A few of these include: headaches, dizziness, seizures, nausea, depression, insomnia, breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, and joint pain, as well as hearing and vision problems.
In the October 1999 issue of Oxygen Magazine, Dr. Christine Lydon, a well-respected health writer and fitness expert, states that because of its toxicity, aspartame is thought to be especially dangerous to those with weak immune systems, elderly people, infants and young children. In addition, a Norwegian study linked aspartame to brain cell destruction, particularly in the area of the brain used for learning. The study concluded that because the brain of a child takes years to develop, children especially should not consume aspartame.
Further findings by the Director of Medical Genetics at Emory University, Dr. Louis J. Elsas, illustrate that aspartame has been shown to cause birth defects in newborns and should not be used by pregnant women. Independent patient studies by Dr. Mark Gold, a researcher of 20 years on the subject of aspartame, suggest that the following illnesses can be worsened by the ingestion of aspartame: brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.
Dr. H.J. Roberts, a specialist in diabetes and hypoglycemia, was thrilled when aspartame first came onto the market, but his excitement was short lived. Many of his patients began to experience serious complications after using it, which included increased hypoglycemia, more frequent insulin reactions, and impaired vision. After discontinuing the patient’s use of aspartame, these problems were alleviated. Roberts now advises all of his patients to use alternatives to aspartame, as do many other health professionals, such as Dr. Andrew Weil and nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman.
According to a study conducted by the University of Barcelona, the danger of aspartame is in its composition. Aspartame is composed of 10% methanol, 40% aspartic acid, and 50% phenylalanine. Methanol is a highly toxic substance that, when heated above 86 degrees F (as it is in your body), is metabolized into formaldehyde (embalming fluid) and formic acid (the poison in fire ants). Methanol is also found in some fruits and vegetables, but not without ethanol and pectin.
According to an Arizona State University study, ethanol and pectin prevent methanol from breaking down into formaldehyde and formic acid, but aspartame lacks these two antidotes. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are amino acids also found in natural foods, but always in a chain of complex protein. When consumed by themselves, as in aspartame, these substances rapidly enter the brain and nervous system, over-stimulating brain cells, and causing many health problems.
With so much evidence of its dangers, why is aspartame still so widely used? For eight years prior to 1981, the FDA refused to approve aspartame because of the seizures and tumors it caused in lab animals. In 1981, a new commissioner was put in charge and he overruled the Board of Inquiry’s decision to ban aspartame and allowed it on the market. This commissioner later took a job with G.D. Searle Co., the company who created aspartame.
The Art of Scaremongering.
European scientific committee on Food: Aspartame.
And a link to several more resouces: http://doesaspartamekill.iwarp.com/index.html
Snopes: Aspartame hoax.
This old chestnut has been doing the rounds for years now. The only thing that is surprising about it is that people still fall for it and actually believe it!
Aspartame is one of the most studied and best understood food products and is perfectly safe.
Here's a few additional quotes:
“Don’t believe the rumors – widely spread on the Internet – that aspartame … causes not only multiple sclerosis, but also lupus, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, Gulf War syndrome, and brain tumors. ”
-University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, April 1999“I have no problem with information dissemination, even when it is wrong. But [this] has crossed the line. There is no evidence that aspartame in any way causes, provokes, mimics or worsens MS. This series of allegations are almost totally without foundation. They are rabidly inaccurate and scandalously misinformative.”
-David Squillacote, MD, Senior Medical Advisor for the Multiple Sclerosis
Foundation“There continues to be unsubstantiated claims that the nonnutritive sweetener aspartame (brand name NutraSweet) poses health risks to people with diabetes. Aspartame has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a governmental agency that conducts thorough scientific reviews to determine foods are safe for public consumption. The American Diabetes Association follows FDA recommendations and recognizes that there is no credible scientific evidence linking aspartame to any health-related problems for people with diabetes.”
-American Diabetes Association Statement, February 9, 1999“MS and lupus have been around a lot longer than aspartame has, and repeated scientific studies have found no connection between the sweetener and such symptoms.”
-Associated Press, January 29, 1999“This specimen of email scarelore, in wide circulation since mid-December 1998, warns that the artificial sweetener aspartame (a.k.a. "NutraSweet" and "Equal") is toxic to humans in a hundred different ways. It even coins a new medical term for these effects: ‘aspartame disease.’ Most of the allegations contradict the bulk of medical … but I would point out that the agency [FDA] has common sense and years of accumulated research on its side when it maintains that the sweetener is safe for most people. As to aspartame's critics, it doesn't help their cause that the information presented in the email is disorganized, hysterical and poorly substantiated.”
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear
bright, until you hear them speak.
Makhala. You have posted one link in support of your case and that is to Dr Mercola. His credentials have been questioned and this challenge has not been answered. In a second post you put up a long quote which makes some concerning claims, but you do not attribute it and nor do you provide any evidence in support of those claims beyond the assertions made.
Now I know nothing about the issue but I have read the links provided here and it seems that there is a lot of scientific research which does not confirm the dangers of Aspartame: and so far none which supports those dangers. On the face of it at present the balance seems to be in favour of this as a scare story. I notice that Dr Mercola has products to sell and that he has been criticised for the way he labels and promotes those
Now I believe it is true that the testing and approval of new drugs is costly, and that it is diffcult for anyone other than a large drug company to undertake the kind of testing regime which allows of approval. It is easy to see that this gives an unfair advantage to "big business". And one need look no further than thalidomide to see that if a drug which has been approved turns out to be dangerous then the company which promotes it will fight hard and dirty to suppress or deny that information. Your own example of tobacco; and the history of asbestos are other examples. So I am not averse to the suggestion that there could be a similar process here.
Nevertheless it seems to me that we must rely on peer reviewed evidence in settling these questions. I am not starry eyed about that process. Research is commissioned, and it is funded, and at every stage there is scope for bias/blindness to creep in or even be promoted. But if we ditch this as the process then what are we left with? Anyone can say something is dangerous. They can feed an understandable distrust of the "unnatural" drugs our fathers did not know, and they can do so in good faith - or in bad faith. Just like the big companies. You rightly suggest the big companies and perhaps the government have vested interests: but so, it seems does the other side (like Dr Mercola). The sums are not comparable but that does not make a real difference to possibility of taint, I think
There is, of course, an argument in support of the precautionary principle: where even one study shows severe adverse results one might take the view that a product should be withdrawn at once until that is proved or shown to be unverifiable. One trial learning is an important survival characteristic and maybe it is reasonable to adopt its mechanism in some or even all cases. This would have very big financial implications but we might as a society decide this is a cost we are happy to bear. Or we might decide that is so in the case of certain drugs such as Aspartame, which for most people are no more than "cosmetic" (this is not true for diabetics etc but it is not essential medically even for them).
But even if we did that it would still have to be on the basis of properly conducted clinical trials or scientific research. You surely cannot suggest that all products should be treated in this way if anyone, anywhere says they are dangerous?
I do not see the people here as shrill in their defence of the status quo. I do not see them as close minded. I see them as making the best use of the best system yet devised to ensure that our medicines are as safe as they can be. It is not perfect. It is subject to all the flaws which follow from the involvement of human beings and institutions and errors will be made and fraud will be perpetrated. But as thalidomide showed, it does work eventually. "In the long run we are all dead" applies here too, but I honestly ask you - what do you think we should do instead?
John Jackson, I noticed with interest the quote from (Saints preserve us!)
the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter. Wellness, indeed.
What is it with Americans? How can grown-up people come up with this kind of nauseatingly twee language in a serious context? Another example is the way they never tell you something, they "share" it with you. Is telling you suggestive of lecturing? I give up. And it's all catching on over here.
Now the first stage of the clinical trials (after the animal work and some testing on cultured cells) is often testing the drugs on young, healthy males - see here for some more details
Defendants might as well have said: Beneficent creatures from the 17th dimension use this bracelet as a beacon to locate people who need pain relief and whisk them off to their home world every night to provide help in ways unknown to our science.
Judge Frank Easterbrook commenting on the Q-Ray bracelet
"For Gods sake you're an American! Stop thinking of the consequences and blow something up" - Stan Smith, American Dad!
the barcelona study showed that asparteme converts to formaldehyde - which in turn causes cancers.