The artificial sweetener aspartame has been the subject of controversy since its approval in 1981. Due to the claim that it may cause cancer, but also many other diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, it has become the most studied substance in the human diet.
The vast majority of studies, including some large reviews containing dozens of smaller studies, show that the allegations against aspartame are unfounded. Despite this, he continued to retreat through pseudoscience and alternative medicine websites, and was repeatedly identified as a poison.
As overweight today is one of the most dangerous epidemics, causing many serious diseases worldwide-from diabetes to vascular disease, it is very important to understand serious scientific research and the evaluation of aspartame by professionals.
One of the greatest studies This topic was conducted by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It includes 285,079 men and 188,905 women who participated in the NIH-AARP Nutrition and Health Study, between the ages of 50 and 71. The results showed that aspartame has nothing to do with the occurrence of brain cancer, leukemia or lymphoma.
Systematic review of 92 studies This includes 599,741 people from 2003 to 2014, indicating that there is no evidence that aspartame is related to cancer.
However, since aspartame is still on the Internet, especially on social networks, appearing as a poisonous demon, we asked Dr. Chemist. Tomislav Portada from the Ruđer Bošković Institute in South Carolina clarified the reasons and arguments behind this false impression.
Portada pointed out that the love for sweets is deeply rooted in human genes in evolution.
“Our ancestors were starving most of the time. In rare cases, when they encountered a food source, such as a tree full of ripe and sweet fruits, they had to eat as much as possible in a short time and store energy for the future. Hunger,” Portada said.
“Individuals with this habit have a significant evolutionary advantage, so we can say that humans are evolutionarily programmed to eat a lot of things, especially sweets.
Today, when most people in developed countries, at least in terms of access to food, live affluent, the once evolutionary advantage is becoming a problem for us. Many diseases and health problems of modern people-obesity, motor system diseases, dental caries, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, etc.-are caused by our excessive intake of sugar in the form of cakes, candies, and sweetened beverages. Various sauces, etc. will greatly reduce sugar intake, but it is not easy because, as we said, we like sweets, which has a good evolutionary reason,” our chemist explained.
How to solve the problem? One possible solution is to replace some sugar with alternative sweeteners. Alternative sweeteners are dietary supplements that mimic the taste of sugar, while having little or no energy value. We can say that here, with the ability of human cultural evolution, science has been able to correct the slow biological evolution that takes thousands of years.
“Today we have many alternative sweeteners, which can be classified according to several criteria. We can divide them into carbohydrates and non-carbohydrates according to their chemical structure, and according to their nutritional and energy value, they are divided into nutritional and non-nutritive according to their strength. The taste becomes intense—they are dozens, hundreds, or even a thousand times sweeter than sugar—all non-intensive, natural and artificial depending on the source,” Portada said.
The dose of aspartame is usually one pill instead of one teaspoon of sugar. Since this amount of sugar only contains 16 calories, you may ask why you want to replace it. But two teaspoons of coffee, a pair of lemonade, some strawberries, it will accumulate over time.