You have probably heard the news from a few days ago about Aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal) being found to be a possible carcinogen. Some of us remember there were similar or same concerns about Sweet 'n Low “back in the day.” Frankly I buy whatever sugar substitute has the best price (I don’t really notice a difference). Does anyone plan to switch? Any recommendations for alternatives?
I don’t have any plans to change. I am allergic to stevia and Splenda. They both give me very debilitating migraines. I don’t use artificial sweetener often. A little in my coffee, maybe a soda once a month. Everything else is regular sugar. I just adjust my insulin. Just yesterday I attended a party where the only diet drinks had stevia. So, I had an A&W root beer. I just gave myself the right amount of insulin.
Similar to @homeschoolingmomof5 I rarely eat the sugar substitutes unless it’s in diet drinks. I just count for the “real” sugar. I only drink those drinks like once a month or a little more often in the summer. Hopefully you’ll get some more helpful responses!
I don’t intend to make any changes. My son and I are both t1d, and drink diet soda, crystal lite, etc. I remember the days of the pink packets being dangerous…and I’ve never heard about an actual link in the average consumer. The aspartame study was extremely high daily intake, and more common foods have higher scores as carcinogens than this does. I dont endorse excessive use, but I’m not worrying about it either.
Likewise, as I recall from the Sweet & Low study, the amount tested on rats was proportionately far higher than humans consume. I’ve used all different types with no problems, so I’m not planning on changing.
The Sweet & Low study used doses that were too high for humans and gave them to rats. Not even proportional. It also failed to account for humans having an enzyme the rats lack which breaks down the chemical in question, making it safe.
Aspartame is an even less worrisome case. What they actually said is that they saw a few studies that show there’s maybe a slightly increased risk of liver cancer in people who consume a lot of aspartame. So they issued a call for that link to be researched more. Is there actually a link? Is aspartame the cause, or is it a matter of people who consume a lot of aspartame also having some other risk factor? For example, it could be that being diabetic makes you more likely to consume aspartame but also increases the risk of liver issues for other reasons. Or it could be that people who eat keto or paleo diets consume aspartame but also consume large amounts of red meat. The same report that listed aspartame as needing further study also said that current evidence says it’s safe to consume aspartame within the current recommended limits. All of that was in the same report that just gets the “Oh no! Aspartame causes cancer!” headlines. It’s poor journalism, going with sensationalistic headlines instead of actually communicating what’s going on.
All that said… Aspartame isn’t my first choice. Unlike other sweeteners, it’s a protein, which is a complex molecule prone to breaking down over time or with heat. When it breaks down, it becomes bitter. So even if you don’t mind the taste of fresh aspartame, the flavor is ruined as it gets older. And you can’t bake or cook with it at all. Not to mention the issue of needing a warning label for the whole category of people who literally do get sick from consuming it.
We have much better alternatives now. Sucralose is chemically identical to sugar, but mirror imaged so our bodies can’t digest it. It makes a perfect 1:1 substitute with the same flavor and chemical properties. Stevia isn’t bad. Saccharine has a really strong sweetness that works well for some things. We don’t need aspartame anymore.
Honestly I think it’s weak science. If sweet & low really caused such high rates of CA I should be full of cancer but nada. Same with aspartame. Just as food pyramid impacted by large food lobby I have to question this and sugar forces. That’s who also promoted the cancer & sweet & low farce.
I have used artificial sweeteners for more than
70 years, starting with saccharin back in the 1940s. I now use Sweet and Low, which contains saccharin. Research in Canada showed saccharin caused cancer in rats. It was found that the rats were given huge amounts of saccharin in their food. If humans ate proportional amounts, cancer might also result. Saccharin was banned in Canada and in parts of Europe. It was also banned for awhile in the US, but the ban was canceled later. The basic sweetener on Sweet and Low is saccharin.
I think most artificial sweeteners have been said to cause cancer. Sucaryl was a sweetener I used many years ago. Cyclamates were supposedly the ingredient causing cancer. It was removed from the grocery store shelves.
I have thought that different companies selling these sweeteners have been saying that their competition sold cancer causing products without mentioning how the research was conducted.
I have not stopped using aspartame and sweet and low. I am healthy even though I am a T1D for 77 years.
I don’t normally use Aspartame because it gave my spouse migraines. If I am out and it is the sweetener offered, I would use it for myself though, if needed. I rarely add sweetener to my foods/drinks though.