Coca-Cola Wants You to Think Aspartame Safe

Cokey Low-keyIf the Coca-Cola company were first and foremost concerned with public health, they would have picked a different product. There’s just no way to argue that soda is healthy by any stretch of the imagination, and we doubt anyone is kidding themselves that it is.

With an ever-increasing interest in health and wellness, including an understanding of the dangers of sugar, refined carbohydrates and toxic chemicals, the most Coke can do is mitigate the public’s worry. In a new ad defending their use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners, the company seemingly acknowledges the widespread concern over calorie intake and artificial sweeteners, but brushes the issue aside.

Our use of high-quality, low- and no-calorie sweeteners, including aspartame, allows us to give people great-tasting options they can feel good about. Time and again, these low- and no-calorie sweeteners have shown to be safe, high-quality alternatives to sugar. In fact, the safety of aspartame is supported by more than 200 studies over the last 40 years.

They reference the International Food Information Council Foundation, and it’s hard to resist feeling swayed by the apparent soundness of their argument.

ABC News also commented,

Many large public health organizations say the sweeteners have no adverse health effects when used in moderation. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, regards aspartame as a safe food ingredient. The American Cancer Society notes that most studies don’t associate aspartame use with an increased risk of cancer. The American Heart Association, The American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics all have published position statements supporting the moderate use of artificial sweeteners.

We’ve been taught for years, though, that most artificial sweeteners are damaging to our health (just as we are now coming to fully understanding the risks associated with natural sugars, as well!). So what are we to think?

Truth be told, there are considerable studies pointing to the relative harmlessness of artificial sweeteners. But they are by no means healthy, either. Sucralose, for instance, has been associated to increased migraines. And according to Professor of Food Science Dr. Woodrow Monte, aspartame tastes sweet because it is attached to methanol, known to easily convert to cancer-causing formaldehyde. This alone might not be proof enough of the carcinogenic nature of aspartame, but it certainly begs some caution on the consumer’s part.

Ultimately, it is imperative to remember that Coca-Cola is selling a product. They are a multi-billion dollar corporation focused more on revenue than on public service. They should by no means be a go-to sources for health information. Do some research and determine for yourself whether artificial sweeteners are healthy for your diet.

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