For the personal rant portion of this post, click Summary below. Otherwise, enjoy the science.
Allow me to apologize in advance. I am approaching this otherwise perfectly sound scientific post from a place of equal parts amusement and frustration.
I’ve noticed on any given keto page that there’s one consistency you can always count on. Let me know how many times you’ve seen this in your digital travels. It goes a little something like this:
Person 1: Here’s a picture of this [insert edible thing here]. Is it OK for keto?
Person 2: That looks yummy and keto safe to me. Make sure it fits your macros.
Person 3: I’ve had that. It’s great! Doesn’t knock me out of ketosis.
Person 4: I have some in my fridge right now. I get it at Costco.
Person 5: IT HAS ASPARTAME IN IT! ASPARTAME HAS BEEN PROVED TO KILL KIDS FROM 30 YARDS AWAY AND WILL TURN YOUR INTESTINES INTO STRING BEANS, MAKE YOUR EYES FALL OUT AND YOU’LL GET HOLES IN YOUR BACK! AVOID IT AT ALL COST! IT’S ONE OF THE WORST CHEMICALS OUT THERE! JUNK JUNK JUNK! YOU GON’ DIE!
Person 6: My whole family likes them! Yum!
You get the idea. I physically cringe each and every time I see someone post a picture of something and ask if it’s “OK”. Then, like driving past a car crash, I refresh the page over and over waiting… knowing… that that person is out there and typing as I watch… it’s coming. I know it’s coming… refresh now? Nope, not yet. refresh How about now? Nothing ye… There it is. Well, shit… Every. Damn. Time.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate people looking out for others and their best interest, but it drives me insane when the myths and falsehoods fly with reckless abandon as if they were long-held truths.
Phew! Glad I got that out! And now for the post. Thanks for hearing me out. Have a great day. [/details]
Oh, and please do watch the video. That’s where the bulk of the information actually is. The PBS article parrots a few of the points mentioned in the video itself. Thank you.
Chemistry debunks the biggest aspartame health myths
Aspartame has a bad rap. It has been suspected of causing cancer and depression. However, a new video from the American Chemical Society pulls together the latest research on the food additive, and it’s not as bad as you might think.
This four-minute clip, which mentions several peer-reviewed studies, is part of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Reactions science video series. The American Chemical Society is a congressionally chartered, independent organization of chemists that publishes about 50 academic journals.
Questions about aspartame relate to its metabolites – the chemical products created when our bodies digest the sugar substitute. Critics have raised concerns about the metabolites methanol and phenylalanine.
Over time, methanol can produce the known carcinogen formaldehyde. While this might seem scary, the video claims that the body actually produces and uses 1,000 times more formaldehyde than you could consume through aspartame. After helping to make important proteins, formaldehyde gets turned into formic acid and exits the body through urine.
Some studies have shown that aspartame-made phenylalanine isn’t seeping into our brains and causing depression. Milk contains eight times more phenylalanine than aspartame, meaning your morning bowl of Fiber One cereal — which carries the chemical too — isn’t likely bringing you down. Aside from milk and cereals, aspartame is also found in some types of chewing gums, nutritional bars, yogurts and other foods.
Moreover, the video says recent studies debunk the idea that some people are hypersensitive to aspartame or that it causes cognitive impairments.
It is unlikely that a person could come close to reaching the aspartame levels deemed unacceptable by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To do so, you’d have to consume 97 aspartame sugar packets or more than 17 cans of diet soda in less than 24 hours.
Source: The Rundown | PBS
Sources for the embedded video in the article:
- Cancer & Health Risks - http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/aspartame
- Metabolites of Aspartame - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23553132
- C&EN What’s that Stuff - http://pubs.acs.org/cen/whatstuff/stuff/8225sweeteners.html
- Toxicology Studies of Aspartame - https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/gmm_rpts/gmm1.pdf
- Obesity - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892765/
- Methanol - http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/question5361.htm
- Aspartame Sensitivity Myth - http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0116212
- US Gov 2015 Evaluation of Research - http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/14-appendix-E2/e2-41.asp
- Methanol/Formaldehyde Relationship - http://www.andeal.org/topic.cfm?cat=4089
- Long Term Study, No Changes - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2802896
- Metabolism: http://www.cell.com/trends/endocrinology-metabolism/abstract/S1043-2760(13)00087-8
- Microbes and Diabetes - http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13793.html