By Dean L. Jones
Created for diabetics, not dieters, Diet Soda was introduced to naive consumers in 1952, with a sugar-free ginger ale called No-Cal. With limited success, six years later Royal Crown Cola captured interested consumers with their Diet Rite. Dr Pepper followed, but it was the Coca-Cola Company that grabbed the largest market share with Tab, using cyclamates and saccharin as sweetening ingredients.
Subsequently, science found saccharin to cause cancer in animals, so in 1977, the government regulated warning labels be placed on saccharin-sweetened foods and beverages. Nevertheless, in December 2000, government officials back peddled by passing legislation removing warning labels, assuming that saccharin no longer posed a danger.
Naturally, artificial sweetener makers insist that chemicals like saccharin and aspartame are harmless, with zero health problems to humans who consume it. This is easy to say since all of the negative testing results come from animal use, as human testing is disallowed. Aspartame is linked to methanol toxicity and the formation of formaldehyde, a toxicity now showing science a potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
Though, there is scientific evidence studying women who consume greater amounts of dietary methanol during pregnancy (more than 142 mg per week) have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to a child with autism. Another review of this study shows how the introduction of aspartame in diet soda in 1983 closely matches the rapid rise in autism cases. In the U.S. and perhaps even globally, since aspartame’s introduction, autism cases continue to rise in direct proportion of its consumption.
Also related to this unprecedented era of the diet soda, artificial sweetener studies show that it has played a major part in actually worsening the obesity epidemic. Contrary to popular belief, researchers have found that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame increase and stimulate a person’s appetite. Using this chemical also increases the craving for carbohydrates; while at the same time stimulate fat storage and weight gain.
Pepsi may perceive the end to diet sodas as it has decided to remove the artificial sweetener aspartame from several of its diet sodas starting next month. Diet Pepsi, Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi, and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi sodas will flavor these drinks with a blend of sucralose and acesulfame potassium, replacing the aspartame-flavored drinks. While these replacement ingredients are less toxic than aspartame, for me it is still silly to make such a nothing product.
Artificially sweetened foods and beverages do not help in weight loss as depicted in some ad campaigns. For the sake of better health, Live SugarAlert! knowing that it is not just diet sodas that use toxic sweeteners like aspartame, but many other products include it as a main ingredient, including, but not limited to, breath mints, cereals, chewing gum, flavored water, hard candies, jams, jellies, nutritional bars, pudding, vegetable drinks, yogurt – both fat free and sugar free.
Dean Jones is an Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributing his view on certain aspects of foodstuff.