Most of the times when I politely decline a teaspoonful of sugar in my cup of tea/coffee or refuse a desert, I have often seen my hosts come up with a 'sugar-free' alternative. And invariably I am handed a yellow sachet, which comes under different brand names. If you take a closer look, and read what is said on the label, you find that it is actually Aspartame packed under different names.
Many a times when I tell people around that Aspartame is harmful than white sugar, I see the eye-brows raised. Shockingly, very rarely have I come across someone who really knows that the sugar-free Aspartame is actually more harmful.
I wonder whether the sexy siren Bipasa Basu knows this.
Nevertheless, my friend Mark Griffith from the UK has sent me this very well researched piece mostly drawn from a latest research conducted by Princeton University. I think this should serve as an eye-opener to all those who rely on the sugar-free substitutes.
New Food And Drink Research Finds More Problems
With Suspect Sugar Substitutes
Linkages To Premature Births And Obesity
"Mothers-to-be who down cans of fizzy drink containing artificial sweeteners could be at greater risk of having a premature baby. Research funded by the EU found a correlation between the amount of diet drink consumed and an early birth among the 60,000 women studied. Many had switched from sugary drinks to those with artificial sweeteners believing they were a healthier option. But this study suggests that drinks using sweeteners, such as aspartame, carried dangers for the unborn child. Some British public health experts are now advising expectant mothers to avoid food and drink containing the chemicals. It is rare for a mother-to-be to give birth before 37 weeks of a normal pregnancy. But the EU research suggests this low risk was increased by 38 per cent if the woman was drinking, on average, one can of diet drink a day. Routinely drinking four or more cans a day could increase the risk by as much as 78 per cent. However, the researchers said in a report in the journal of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition that there was no link associated with sugar-sweetened drinks."
Do sweeteners bring on early birth? How fizzy drinks can harm an unborn child
Daily Mail, 10 July 2010 says: 'Aspartame' - Changing The Name Not The Product - 'AminoSweet'. "Ajinomoto has unveiled a new brand name for its aspartame sweetener which draws on its origin from amino acids. Aspartame has been approved as a sweetener in Europe for some 25 years, and is used across food and beverage categories in products marketed as low calorie or sugar-free. Its reputation has been clouded somewhat by some negative perceptions amongst consumers and some studies that have investigated reports of ill-effects – despite regulatory and scientific authorities finding no just cause to reassess its status. On announcing at FiE last week that its aspartame will now be called AminoSweet..."
[You can also read: Ajinomoto brands aspartame AminoSweet, Food Navigator, 25 November 2009]
"A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same. In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States. 'Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests,' said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. 'When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight.' In results published online Feb. 26 by the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute reported on two experiments investigating the link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity. The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas. The second experiment -- the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals -- monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet....The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose..... In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year. 'Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic,' Avena said."
Ref - A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain; Princeton University, 22 March 2010