The internet is the most valuable source of information available today. Anyone can make a posting, so it can take some investigation to get to the truth about questionable findings. Many people, like myself have headed straight for Snopes to get clarity. After reading the following, I hope you will take their findings with as much skepticism and questioning as any other source.
I cannot reproduce the article without permission, but here is the link in question: http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/aspartame.asp
I am a holistic health advocate. I have had my own personal experiences with the health benefits of the avoidance of synthetic and petrochemicals in foods and personal care items. There are literally thousands of internet postings about the harmful effects of aspartame, also known as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc. Snopes flatly calls the claims false. I guess they didn’t count on anyone actually investigating their “evidence”. I wouldn’t have either, had it not been for my passionate belief that they are seriously wrong.
You can be the judge.
They use a host of persuasive and propaganda tactics in a list of seven bullet points including official sounding organizations. I will go down the list.
Scopes bullet points #1 and #5
For these they bring out the “big guns”, the FDA. This first link takes you to an FDA document that tells that they determined the safety of aspartame after reviewing research. If you dig deeper on the second link, you find out that the research that the FDA relied upon to determine aspartame’s safety was done by GD Searle. Well, SEARLE INVENTED ASPARTAME. On the following site that I have listed here, you can see the results of all Searle tests (They also call themselves NutraSweet). Funny, 100% of their tests showed no adverse effects. http://www.dorway.com/industry.html
One note of interest: A Dr. Friedman left the FDA in 1999 to become the Senior Vice President for the GD Searle Company.
Scopes bullet point #2
This is an article published in a medical journal called The Lancet. It states that they did discover thousands of websites alleging aspartame as the cause of multiple illnesses. They go on to say that “virtually” all the information was “anecdotal” and “scientifically implausible”. The article gives no proof as to how they could determine that it is implausible. On the contrary, in reality there are many independently funded studies that show the harmful effects of this artificial sweetener. You can see them for yourself at this link http://www.dorway.com/nonindus.html
If you go all the way to the bottom of this first link from this bullet point you discover an interesting thing: The site that has The Lancet article is owned by Ajinomoto Food Ingredients LLC, ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEADING MANUFACTURERS OF ASPARTAME.
Scopes bullet point #3
This bullet point is titled “ACSH Debunks Internet Health Hoax”. This organization is the American Council on Science and Health. Sounds official enough at first glance. This particular document is a real piece of classic propaganda. The founder of this organization is Elizabeth Whelan. She has made a career of defending companies who make products of low nutritional value. She has called people “toxic terrorists” who advocate organic foods and are against petrochemicals. She calls their evidence “voodoo statistics”. 40% of the funding of her organization COMES FROM CHEMICAL COMPANIES.
Scopes bullet point #4
This point is called “Beware the E-Mail Hoax: The Evils of NutraSweet (Aspartame) by Dr. Dean Edell. Dr. Edell is a well known radio talk show host, so he has credentials, but his “argument” contains the worst examples of propaganda and logical fallacies in the entire Scopes article. He tries to discredit the aspartame debate first by calling the information email a “chain letter”. Then he uses a clever technique meant to make you feel like he is your friend, just looking out for you, very condescending. He calls the science “untruth” and “scary”. He says to “be careful, because others know how to manipulate you”. Then paternalistic-ally states that something isn’t scientific just because it is “beyond your comprehension”. Again, no evidence to back up any claims.
Bullet point #6
This bullet point is about a study of NutraSweet done at MIT. Digging deeper reveals that the study was funded BY A GRANT FROM NutraSweet.
Bullet point #7
This is a Time magazine article. Here again are false arguments such as “right away, the long list (of illnesses caused by aspartame) warrants skepticism”. Well, since when does a long list do that in itself? Just look on the back of any medication, for example, and see all the reactions you can get from one drug. Here again, they offer no evidence to support their position.
So that is it. These are all the evidences that Snopes uses to debunk the assertion that aspartame is dangerous. The best test is the self-test. Just stop using any artificial sweetener and watch your health improve by leaps and bounds. It just might even save your life.
Gwendolyn Rodriguez, holistic health advocate