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Health Risks of No-Calorie Sweeteners

Weight regulation is not a simple matter of "calories in, calories out". Sugar causes obesity disproportionate to its calories, and (surprisingly) no-calorie sweeteners actually cause weight gain. How can you gain weight from something with no calories? The body learns to associate the taste of a food with how much energy it gives. When sweet taste becomes associated with zero calories: (1) people’s metabolisms slow, (2) they eat more – and since their metabolisms are slowed, they gain more from what they eat.

That’s bad enough, but no-calorie sweeteners – even stevia – may contain other serious health risks. This article cuts through the complacency and hyperbole to give you the facts.

FDA-Approved No-Calorie Sweeteners

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved six no-calorie sweeteners as food additives – i.e., they are "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) when usage is limited to the FDA-specified "acceptable daily intake" (ADI). The approved no-calorie sweeteners are:

  • Acesulfame Potassium (Sunnett, Sweet One)
  • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)
  • Neotame
  • Saccharine (SugarTwin, Sweet ‘N Low)
  • Stevia extracts Rebaudioside A and Stevioside (Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf Stevia)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)

FDA approval does not mean zero risk; it just means that the risk was deemed acceptably low. However, mistakes can and do happen. For example, DES had FDA approval for decades and was given to millions of pregnant women before it was found to cause birth defects and approval was withdrawn.

The four no-calorie sweeteners in widespread use in the US today are aspartame, saccharine, sucralose, and stevia extracts, so these are the ones I’ll focus on. Some of the information comes from the Natural Health Sherpa, which has a series of well-referenced articles. They have a point of view, but the articles are thoroughly documented so you can check facts and draw your own conclusions. Other sources are referenced throughout.

I’ll start by debunking a myth: It’s not true that artificial sweeteners trigger an insulin response, and cause weight gain for that reason. They do cause weight gain, but for a different reason.

Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener – a chemical. A scientist at the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle discovered it by accident while working on a new ulcer drug. It’s used in many diet sodas, and sold separately under the brand names Equal and NutraSweet. Aspartame breaks down over time and under high temperatures, conditions that can occur during storage. At minimum this causes it to lose sweetness. Some say the breakdown products are toxic, even carcinogenic. One in particular, phenylalanine, is dangerous to people with the rare genetic condition Phenylketonuria (PKU).

One of aspartame’s main ingredients is an excitotoxin, which can cause headaches, dizziness, anxiety, and depression. No one disputes this. Aspartame also may cause more serious problems, notably brain tumors. This is unclear because testing was inadequate, data was hidden and altered, and the FDA approval process was flawed.

Searle first applied for approval of NutraSweet, their aspartame product, in 1973. It was approved for about a week in 1974, but the approval was quickly frozen when problems surfaced. Scientists from the FDA and an FDA-appointed Public Board of Inquiry blocked approval of aspartame for the next seven years. Donald Rumsfeld, a former member of Congress and Gerald Ford’s Chief of Staff, became president of Searle in 1977. The day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in January 1981, Searle reapplied for approval of aspartame. In April 1981, Reagan replaced the previous FDA Commissioner with Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr. Hayes set up a panel of five scientists to review the Public Board of Inquiry’s unanimous ruling against aspartame. On May 18, 1981, three of the five scientists wrote a letter stating they could not approve aspartame because the brain tumor data was "worrisome", and data in a key study appeared to have been altered. Hayes responded by adding a toxicologist to the team so the vote became 3-3. The panel lawyer pressured the panel to quickly come to a positive decision, even circulating an approval recommendation, but the scientists against approval would not budge. On July 18, 1981, Hayes overruled the Public Board of Inquiry himself, and approved aspartame for use in dry goods. Two years later, aspartame also was approved for use in carbonated drinks, and the ADI was increased by nearly 50%. Two weeks after that, Hayes resigned under a cloud, accused of accepting gratuities from FDA-regulated companies.

Saccharine

Saccharine, sold under the brand names Sugar Twin and Sweet ‘N Low, was discovered over 100 years ago by a chemist experimenting with coal tar derivatives. It, too, is an artificial sweetener – a chemical never intended for ingestion – and people have been arguing over its safety since it was discovered. Being that it’s made from coal tar combined with chlorine and ammonia, it wouldn’t seem safe on the face of it, and studies have shown that it causes a variety of cancers. Products containing saccharine had to contain a warning label from 1972-2000 because it caused an aggressive bladder cancer in rats. The warning was removed when it was found that rat urine is different from human urine and interacts with saccharine in unique ways, so the bladder cancer might not occur in people. But then again maybe it does. Also, saccharine can cause other types of cancers, as well as allergic reactions.

In 1997, in response to the National Toxicology Program (NTP) plan to delist saccharin as a carcinogen, the Center for Science in the Public Interest issued a report saying: "It would be highly imprudent for the NTP to delist saccharin. Doing so would give the public a false sense of security, remove any incentive for further testing, and result in greater exposure to this probable carcinogen in tens of millions of people, including children (indeed, fetuses). If saccharin is even a weak carcinogen, this unnecessary additive would pose an intolerable risk to the public. Thus, we urge the NTP on the basis of currently available data to conclude that saccharin is ‘reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen’ because there is ’sufficient’ evidence of carcinogenicity in animals (multiple sites in rats and mice) and ‘limited’ or ’sufficient’ evidence of carcinogenicity in humans (bladder cancer) and not to delist saccharin, at least until a great deal of further research is conducted." But they delisted it anyway.

Stevia extracts

Stevia was available only as a dietary supplement from 1995 until December 2008, when the FDA finally determined that a highly refined extract of stevia called rebaudioside A is safe for use as a food additive (GRAS). Whole leaf stevia and crude extracts of stevia are still deemed unsafe as additives.

The FDA has approved five sweeteners containing Rebaudioside A. At least two are sweetener blends where Rebaudioside A is not the only ingredient, and may not even be the main ingredient. The Cargill product, called Truvia, is sold by Coca-Cola. It also contains significant amounts of a sugar alcohol called erythritol, and the ever-mysterious "natural flavors". The Merisant subsidiary Whole Earth Sweetener manufactures PureVia for PepsiCo. It also contains dextrose (aka d-glucose, a caloric sweetener), cellulose powder, and "natural flavors".

Shortly after Truvia and PureVia received GRAS approval, Wisdom Natural Brands requested and received GRAS approval for its Sweetleaf Stevia product [PDF], which contains both Rebaudioside A, the sweetest part of stevia, and Stevioside. Stevioside also is sweet, but not as sweet as Rebaudioside A, and can have a bitter aftertaste.

Stevia is viewed as the "good" no-calorie sweetener because it’s derived from a plant and thus "natural". But "natural" is not synonymous with "good for your health". There are plenty of plant-based poisons, plus the label has no legal meaning. Consider this description of a "natural" food from the FDA:

From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

By this definition, high-fructose corn syrup is "natural", though it’s too highly processed to be recognizable as corn, and is very bad for your health – essentially because it’s so highly processed. Stevia-based sweeteners are just as highly processed and unrecognizable as the original plant.

Misleading as it is, the "natural" label has major selling power. Truvia was the second best-selling sweetener in 2011, behind sucralose-based Splenda. Now soft drinks with stevia-based sweeteners are becoming available. That doesn’t make them good for you. As with any other no-calorie sweetener, regular use will slow your metabolism and increase your appetite so you’ll tend to gain weight.

Last but not least, don’t use whole leaf stevia or crude extracts of stevia for significant sweetening on a regular basis. Although this is stevia at its most natural, studies show it may be dangerous. The FDA says, "Among these concerns are control of blood sugar and effects on the reproductive, cardiovascular, and renal systems." The plant world contains many natural toxins.

Sucralose

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener – a chemical – discovered accidentally while creating an insecticide. It’s sold under the brand name Splenda. Sucralose is so intensely sweet – 600 times sweeter than sugar – that Splenda is cut with dextrose (aka d-glucose, a sweetener with calories) so it has some bulk. A cup of Splenda has 96 calories; a serving of one packet has 4 calories. Since 4 calories is "less than 5 calories", it meets the FDA’s standard for "no calorie food".

Sucralose is made by replacing two of the sugar molecules with chlorine, a toxin. Some people experience side effects with sucralose, notably severe headaches and worsened migraines.

Some rats given sucralose showed toxicity, but they were huge amounts, way beyond what a person would eat. Moderate amounts over the short-term seem safe, but there have been virtually no long-term studies. In fact, there are relatively few studies of any kind, and that is the main problem with sucralose. It has been insufficiently studied, so we really don’t know whether it’s safe.

Splenda is by far the number one no-calorie sweetener, with a dominating 42.8% market share in 2011.

Artificial Sweeteners Contaminate Drinking Water

Even if you don’t want to use artificial sweeteners, to some extent you don’t have a choice. Certain artificial sweeteners are widespread in our drinking water.

Wastewater has been found to contain acesulfame, saccharin, sucralose, and cyclamates (cyclamates are still legal in Europe). The body can’t break them down, so they go right through you into the toilet. Wastewater treatment methods sometimes can’t break them down, either. The treatment process removes some saccharin and cyclamate, but no acesulfame and very little sucralose (12%). Studies show that both acesulfame and sucralose are widespread contaminants of groundwater and tap water:

"Acesulfame was consistently detected in untreated and treated wastewater (12−46 μg/L), in most surface waters, in 65% of the investigated groundwater samples, and even in several tap water samples (up to 2.6 μg/L) from Switzerland."

"…water samples from 19 United States (U.S.) drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) serving more than 28 million people were analyzed… Sucralose was found to be present in source water of 15 out of 19 DWTPs (47–2900 ng/L), finished water of 13 out of 17 DWTPs (49–2400 ng/L) and distribution system water of 8 out of the 12 DWTPs (48–2400 ng/L) tested."

You may think someone should tell the EPA that artificial sweeteners are contaminating our lakes, streams, and drinking water. Sadly, the EPA already knows and is delighted. They love that people drink so much diet soda that wastewater concentrations of artificial sweeteners are higher than for prescription medicines, and never break down. This means that artificial sweeteners can serve as "wastewater tracers", allowing scientists to follow the movement of water from sewage treatment plants into the environment. That lets them detect leaks and possible contamination.

There have been no studies on whether artificial sweeteners harm plants or aquatic life. Sucralose is toxic to dogs, however, and makes humans fat, so hopefully it won’t build up too much in tap water. The water filters on the market today do not remove artificial sweeteners.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them.

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9 comments to Health Risks of No-Calorie Sweeteners

  • Kay Kay

    I really find the whole artificial sweetener thing to be appalling. I find them scary and now after reading this, my fears seem justified. Whole, unprocessed foods. Why is that such a difficult concept for us to master?

    Thanks for writing, Sheryl. Very helpfu.

    K

  • Lynn Lynn

    Yikes – I never considered them in our drinking water supply. I avoid them because they don’t taste good and are spooky but apparently they are more ubiquitous than I realized. Engineering our food sounds smarter than it is!

    Always glad to learn more, thanks!

  • I first read about the drinking water contamination in a Rodale Press article, but it was presented as an environmental alert with a suggestion to write the EPA and let them know, like they didn’t already. There were also some other inaccuracies – like it was in the water supply because people were pouring diet soda down the sink? Ahem! That is not how it gets into the wastewater!!

    Anyway, I never take anything at face value so I looked up the original studies. I was astonished to realize that they were all ecstatic applause for this fabulous finding – including happy quotes from EPA representatives. “Yay! We have a new wastewater tracer that is better than anything before (even those great prescription drugs in the water) because it’s in super-high concentrations and NEVER breaks down!” I was appalled.

    The original article was already long and this was somewhat off-topic, but I wanted to put it in some article somewhere. That’s why I decided to write a second article about artificial sweeteners.

    Like you, I never used artificial sweeteners because they taste gross to me and creep me out. Even stevia tastes gross to me. If I’m going to eat something that risks my health, let it at least taste good! I eat the real thing if I want something sweet, but I eat sweets much more rarely since writing this series. I’m thinking of adding another article about that, too – what my personal experience has been with sharply reducing sweets.

  • Kelly Kelly

    What I find particularly telling is that most of the artificial sweetners were discovered by chemists/scientists as a by product of something else – insecticides and coal tar! Yuck!

  • Lisa Lisa

    Your downgrade on Stevia is very dissapointing.
    The introduction of your article specifically states “Stevia extracts, Rebaudioside A, and Stevioside”, but then in your detailed description you cite the infomation under the heading “Stevia”. Pure stevia and extacts made by mutating pure stevia are NOT the same ingredient. Their molecular structure is completely different. You are giving Stevia, a very healthy and safe product a black eye for stating unfounded facts for mutations of stevia under the “Stevia” heading.

    Stevia has been widely used throughout Asia (particularly Japan) and South America for thousands of years. (as will be later noted – Japan has one of the lowest cancer rates in the world and are consume more stevia than anywhere else in the world)

    While it may be used extensively in asia this is not so in the US, most of Europe, and Canada, where it is banned as a food additive. In the United States, and Canada it’s allowed as a supplement, but not in food. In Europe, it’s only allowed as an additive to animal feed.

    It is banned because the FDA has chosen to base its ruling on extracts of this plant and genetic mutations of this plant vs. pure stevia.

    The FDA’s seperation thing between food additives and supplements as seen in the US and Canada is actually very nebulous — and deliberately so. Although the rulings as written by the various government agencies might appear clear, government authorities choose to interpret them as the mood suits. A good example is the recent censure of Celestial Seasonings teas. Celestial Seasonings followed the letter of the law by labeling their Zingers tea an herbal supplement and including a supplements facts panel on the label, but as it turns out, that didn’t matter. To quote from the FDA notice, “Notwithstanding your use of the term ‘Herbal Supplement’ to identify the product and your use of a supplement facts label for nutrition labeling, your Zingers Tangerine Orange Tea is subject to regulation as a conventional food and not a dietary supplement… Therefore, your stevia-containing Zingers Tangerine Orange Tea is adulterated within the meaning of section 402(a)(2)(C) of the Act.”

    They chose to violate a company and a product for following the guidelines exactly as directed.

    Stevia has been studied extensively and has proven to offer substantial benefits in regard to obesity, glucose tolerance, and high blood pressure

    For example, a 1991 study in Thailand found that even at doses 1,000 times normal human dosage, hamsters demonstrated no difference in growth rate or sexual performance — even through three generations.

    In 2004, researchers at the KU Leuven (Belgium) organized an international symposium on ” The Safety of Stevioside.” Scientists from all over the world who attended concluded that stevioside is safe:

    •Stevioside is not carcinogenic. On the contrary, studies in Japan have proven that stevioside reduces breast cancer in rats as well as skin cancers in animals models.

    •Stevioside is not absorbed by the human gut. Only bacteria of the colon degrade stevioside to steviol. Part of this steviol is absorbed through the intestine but is quickly metabolized to steviol glucuronide and excreted in the urine. No free steviol is detected in the blood.

    •Although steviol showed a weak mutagenic activity in one very sensitive strain of bacteria, even high concentrations of oral steviol were harmless (up to 2 g/kg body weight)!

    What are the problematic studies?

    So is everything rosy for stevia? Not necessarily. There have been some problematic studies. For example:

    •A 1984 study found that although stevioside was not cancer causing, steviol, a metabolite of stevioside, is indeed mutagenic in the presence of a specific metabolic activation system — although subsequent studies have either not found it so, or found the effect to be so low as to be insignificant (1, 2). And again, as discussed earlier, any steviol that passes through the intestinal tract is metabolized to steviol glucuronide and excreted in the urine. In fact, some studies have shown that stevia may actually be cancer preventive.

    •There were also studies that indicated stevia might negatively affect fertility in rats, but those studies were later refuted by more reliable studies involving higher numbers of rats and more controlled protocols. And this merely reinforces the results of numerous other studies.

    The bottom line is that there is no compelling evidence that stevia in any reasonable dosage causes cancer. In fact, it is worth noting that the incidence of cancer in Japan is very low, although stevioside has been used there for over 25 years. And as for the fertility issue, there is no meaningful laboratory evidence that stevia has any effect on male or female fertility, nor on the development or state of the fetus. And again, despite a quarter of a century of use in Japan, there is no actual evidence of any negative effect on fertility or any other aspect of health for that matter.

    It should also be noted that all of the problematic studies have used purified stevia at levels far, far, far higher than would ever happen in a normal human diet. Is this important (after all, testing for mutagenic effects at high doses is standard procedure)? The problem is that just because it’s standard doesn’t make it meaningful. Keep in mind that even things that are healthy can become deadly if taken in large amounts. For example, if you have 100 times the normal dosage of protein each day, you will destroy your liver in short order. If you have a 100 times the normal dosage of water, you will die in a single day — in a rather messy explosion.

    The bottom line here is that all of the problematic studies have been conducted on rats and hamsters with absurdly high doses. In the real world, stevia has been in use with hundreds of millions of people throughout Asia and South America for as much as a quarter of a century. We’re talking billions of doses and no sign of increased cancer or lowered fertility. If only the alternative sweeteners that the regulators allow could match that kind of track record.

    But all that aside, it would at least be understandable if the regulating agency in this case had any credibility – but they absolutely do not. Think of all the prescription drugs that have been APPROVED by the FDA as ‘SAFE’ that are later recalled from causing a variety of mental health problems, physical health problems most notably cancer and most importantly DEATH.

    Why? Because there’s BIG money in it for the FDA when they approve a drug, yet ZERO money when they approve a supplement or GRAS list item. Hmmm… see the connection?

    On a positive note – here is an article written by Mike Adams – the “Health Ranger” citing the positive benefits of stevia:

    Extracts from the leaf of the Stevia plant have been found to be high in antioxidants that prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer, according to a new Indian study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. “These results indicate that Stevia rebaudiana may be useful as a potential source of natural antioxidants,” said lead author Srijani Ghanta, of the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in Kolkata.

    This is good news for stevia, the natural sweetener that has been suppressed for decades by the FDA, but which is now about to go mainstream thanks to interest from Coca-Cola and Cargill.

    Stevia rebaudiana is a South American shrub that grows in semi-arid areas of Brazil and Paraguay. The leaves of the plant have been used for generations as a sweetener, originally by the Guarani people and more recently throughout South America and Asia. A campaign of intimidation against stevia companies by the FDA has so far prevented the sweetener from being approved for use in foods in the United States or Europe, but it is currently sold as a supplement and has gained mainstream acceptance as a safe, natural, calorie-free sweetener.

    The FDA, of course, suppressed stevia as a way to propel the sales of aspartame, the artificial chemical sweetener that was pushed through FDA approval by none other than Donald Rumsfeld. Aspartame has never been shown to be safe for human consumption in any honest studies.

    Stevia as a powerful antioxidant
    In the research on stevia mentioned here, researchers used two different chemicals (methanol and ethyl acetate) to obtain extracts from the leaves of the stevia plant. These extracts were found to contain a variety of antioxidants including apigenin, kaempferol and quercitrin.

    The antioxidant activity of the extracts was tested with a 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay to determine how much extract would be needed to remove half of the free radicals from a solution. For methanol extract, 47.66 micrograms per milliliter extract were needed, while only 9.26 micrograms per milliliter were needed of ethyl acetate extract. When tested against hydroxide radicals, the amount of ethyl acetate needed dropped to 3.08 micrograms per milliliter.

    The researchers then tested the extracts’ ability to protect DNA strands against damage by hydroxide radicals. It only took 0.1 milligrams per liter of ethyl acetate extract to inhibit DNA strand damage. DNA damage has been linked to a variety of diseases, especially cancer, reproductive problems and developmental defects. Halting DNA damage is also a key to longevity.

    The recent research may add a boost to anticipated efforts to secure FDA approval for stevia as a food additive in the United States. Stevia extract has 300 times the sweetness of sugar, and it mixes easily into foods or beverages. It causes no significant increase in blood sugar levels, making it safe for diabetics. While many stevia extracts have a slightly bitter aftertaste reminiscent of licorice, a number of manufacturers claim to have figured out how to eliminate this.

    Already sold as a sweetener in a variety of countries including Brazil, Canada, China and Japan, stevia has not yet been approved for use in the United States or the European Union. Although stevia had been used for decades without any reports of health problems, the FDA labeled it an “unsafe food additive” in 1991 and restricted its use to dietary supplements. It also placed restrictions on the importation of stevia, even going so far as to demand that a recipe book publisher destroy its books that mentioned stevia in recipes.

    The FDA’s conspiracy to marginalize stevia
    The FDA says that “toxicological information on stevia is inadequate to demonstrate its safety.” Yet the regulation of stevia as unsafe was a break with FDA policy, which normally grants generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status to any natural substance used since 1958 or earlier with no reports of negative effects. The 1991 decision came in response to an anonymous petition! In other words, someone wrote the FDA and wanted stevia banned (guess who?) and the FDA obliged.

    A number of studies have suggested that stevia might cause problems with energy metabolism or the reproductive system, and that a component of stevia might transform into a mutagenic compound. But other studies have failed to find health consequences to stevia use, and have even suggested that it might be beneficial. In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded, after a thorough review of recent research on stevia and its related compounds, that stevia does not damage the genes of humans or other animals, and that many of the toxic effects seen in laboratory studies do not occur in living cells. The WHO also noted that stevia has shown some beneficial effects for patients with high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes.

    Even the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which supports more research into stevia before allowing its use as a food additive, says that there is no risk to the sweetener in small doses.

    “If you use stevia sparingly (once or twice a day in cup of tea, for example), it isn’t a great threat to you,” the CSPI web site says. “But if stevia were marketed widely and used in diet sodas, it would be consumed by millions of people. And that might pose a public health threat.”

    Here at NaturalNews, we disagree. Stevia is safely consumed by hundreds of millions of people around the world, with absolutely no adverse health effects. It’s as safe as drinking tea. And compared to the dangers of aspartame, Sucralose, saccharin, and other chemical sweeteners, stevia is by far the better choice.

    Under mandate from the European Commission, the European Food Safety Agency has recently begun a safety assessment and scientific evaluation of stevia. Meanwhile, the FDA has said that it expects to receive a petition for the sweetener’s use in food and beverages any day.

    The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill have teamed up to begin marketing a stevia-derived sweetener called Rebiana, and hope to gain approval for the product in both the United States and Europe. With its usual approach to intellectual property, Coca-Cola has already filed 24 U.S. patent ingredients for stevia.

    Ingredient companies are gearing up for when the ingredient gets approved in these two large markets. The Malaysian company PureCircle is raising $50 million to expand its stevia production threefold over two years, and the U.S. company Blue California is preparing its infrastructure for large-scale production.

    Without question, the days of the FDA being able to suppress stevia are finally coming to an end, and the reign of aspartame is nearly over. That’s great news for consumers, and bad news for the cancer industry, for once aspartame is replace with stevia, cancer rates will plummet.

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/023728_stevia_sweetener_FDA.html#ixzz28Tz9joQp

  • Lisa,

    There are so many inaccuracies in your post that I’m on the edge of deleting it and may still, but I’ll let it stand for now. I’ll just say that an “extract” is not a “mutation” (geesh). And the FDA does not make money from the sale of the additives and drugs it approves (huh?). The FDA director who oversaw the approval of Aspartame was forced to resign (as I described in this blog post) for accepting gratuities from FDA-regulated companies.

    The FDA approved an extract (component, not mutation) of stevia rather than the entire plant because studies showed that the entire plant wasn’t safe in “additive” quantities (it’s approved as a supplement). I linked to the FDA explanation in the blog post. I’ll quote the FDA here: “Among these concerns are control of blood sugar and effects on the reproductive, cardiovascular, and renal systems.”

    - Sheryl

  • Ruth Ruth

    I long ago decided that if I want a soda, I go ahead and have the real thing. Not the best for me, I know, but I only have maybe one can of soda a month. My husband has advanced degrees in chemistry and environmental biology, so I was already aware of much of this information, but it still just amazes me every time I read it.
    So much of what is available in our grocery stores as “food” is really frightening if you really stop to look at the ingredients and have any understanding of what they really are.

    Thanks Sheryl, for reminding us again to be more vigilant about understanding what we put into our bodies.

  • Sheri P Sheri P

    Great review and discussion as usual. Still really fighting this one, in fact the biggest stage 4 struggle so far. It helps to keep reading all I can about the negative health and even environmental effects. The FDA’s ability to keep us safe is so marred by politics that I value any actual research I can find and just read for myself. It is sad that getting to the actual research takes much digging- studies with outcomes that are desired (profitable, support the status quo) get lots of press, whereas ones that do not are lucky if they can get the funding for follow-up studies and the subject often ends in the “not enough research yet” file. IMHO. Thanks for doing the digging for research!

  • Thanks, Sheri. I always include links to the original research and references I use because I like it when articles I read have this.

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