Today’s post has derived from an initial post I saw on Facebook a few weeks ago. It was one of those share posts that I generally just browse past but this one post made me stop and take notice and inspired me to write this piece.
I’m sure many of you would have heard of this before but what is aspartame?
Well…. aspartame (also known as E951 by the Foods Standard Agency), found in no/low sugar products including diet coke, no added sugar squash and chewing gum, is an intense, artificial sweetener used as a substitute to sugar to keep things low calorie, low in sugar and taste sweeter.
From a basic level we know there is a lot of known controversy surrounding ‘E’ numbers. E numbers are additives which can cause adverse reactions and side effects, particularly in children. But that’s a whole other topic of conversation. In terms of aspartame specifically, there has been a number of studies conducted around the impact on health, the debate of which continues. But in one shocking study rats being fed an acceptable daily dosage to humans found that it may increase the risk of blood related cancers and tumours. Although many are trying to disprove this theory with other studies conducted, surely we should be taking note, particularly when experts and organisations talk of these studies they use vague terms such as might, may, possibly, surely we’d see more definitive terminology if they believed it to be completely safe. In addition, we already know there is some known weariness when it comes to chemical based additives so why should aspartame be any different?
Now the Food Standards Agency have deemed this product safe, if consumed within the recommended guidelines– however, as evident through their website, they clearly have some concerns over this substance and the long term health effects are actually unknown since the use of aspartame wasn’t widely used until the 1970s. But comfortingly studies surrounding this additive are seemingly reviewed quite regularly.
I’m not trying to scaremonger. I simply want to raise awareness. A lot of the time we buy what we like, have grown up with or are use to- things we wouldn’t even consider a problem to consume and with regulations in place like the FDA we shouldn’t, really, have to worry, right?
What I ultimately hope this article does is make you think and check what it is that you are consuming/exposed to on a daily basis and in what quantities. Perhaps, next time when you do a food shop, take a look at the labels of brands, non brands, full fat, fat free etc. and compare the list.
If you find your symptomatic it may also be well worth doing a little research around those different additives that we find in our much loved food items. Some of us are more sensitive to chemical additives or we’re unaware of how much we’re consuming on a daily basis. For example, if you drink a lot of diet coke which contains 2 different sweeteners (including aspartame) you may exhibit symptoms such as unusual brain function, pain, exacerbate or cause asthma symptoms and cause an upset stomach.
I try as much as possible to natural, or as close to natural foods as possible but don’t get me wrong, I am enthralled by a Galaxy chocolate bar or packet of crisps or a takeaway. The thing to consider is would you rather consume chemical fuelled products filled with many of the ingredients we’ve not heard of or understand their full effects or manage the quantities of the full fat products which may be higher calorie but likely, overall, better for us in moderation?