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Aspartame - Dangerous or not ?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by MassiveJim, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 66,841

    See this is why I find it hard to be reassured - granted they don't seem to pose any specific dangerous health problems but as a kid (early 80s) I had sensitivity to certain E numbers (mostly tartrazine) - I'd change like flicking a switch between my normal quite passive and easy going to full on shouting and swearing at people, etc. full on hyperactivity - one time when I was in hospital having tonsils out IIRC the nurses in hospital pretty quickly swapped the medication I was on as they narrowed it down to the artificial flavouring in the medicine. At the time all the studies showed "no evidence" of anyone having sensitivity, etc. and there was a lot of dismissal it could even remotely be a possibility. These days as an adult I'm relatively tolerant to it though.

    Now there is a "possible" link https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/food-colours-and-hyperactivity with the commercial investment of the times with the increasing use of artificial colours and flavourings any problems were pretty much suppressed.

    So these days I am very very sceptical.
  2. spoffle


    Joined: Jul 4, 2012

    Posts: 16,417

    I avoid it like the plague, because it tastes like absolute arse. It's horrible in any drink it's in. It tastes bitter and empty to me and ruins any drinks it's in, so I don't consume anything with it in.
  3. MassiveJim

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 22, 2014

    Posts: 1,941

    Thanks for that, I take it from your post you have looked in to this in the past yourself ?

    personally I agree with you, but I have swapped out coke and ribena for the artifically flavoured versions and the sugar version now tastes wrong to me.
  4. Screeeech


    Joined: Dec 29, 2014

    Posts: 3,382

    Location: Dublin / LA

    Yeah I mean that's fair enough, I'm not going to disagree with anything you're saying, I also think there's a lot of truth to the commercial interests of the food industry taking a higher precedence than public health, even when it's known that certain food additives are dangerous.

    A good example would be trans fat, it's been known for years that trans fats are extremely bad for you - however, in order to avoid the stigma, the food industry messed around with the ingredients instead changing it to something similar, which does contain trans fat called "mono dyglicerides of fatty acids" https://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/trans-fats.html


    If you look at the commercial interests, trans-fats only exist because it makes it cheap, to produce junk and processed food, that's the only reason they exist - just like artificial colours...

    On Aspartame, I still think it's far too early to say that there are any heath risks from consuming it, BUT I'd certainly concede that it wouldn't surprise me if a link is found in future..

    There's been a number of threads on this subject before, I have read some of the studies - there is no evidence right now, however that doesn't prove anything is safe - it just proves that no link to any problems has been found *yet*

    I'd be more concerned with eating junk and processed food, containing tons of added sugar, trans fat and other rubbish foods, that are causing obesity and metabolic disease, than I would be Aspartame right now - I think artificial sweeteners are at the "tame" end of the scale, compared to some of the **** being sold to us right now.
  5. Nasher


    Joined: Nov 22, 2006

    Posts: 15,649

    Diesel is a LOT worse as it kicks out carcinogenic particles. It also lingers at ground level unlike petrol fumes, it gets inside buildings and becomes concentrated.

    It has been known for a long time. But looking "green" on the world stage was more important.
  6. 4K8KW10


    Joined: Sep 2, 2017

    Posts: 7,463

    Aspartame is not safe.

    Because its breakdown products include phenylalanine, people with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU) must be aware of this as an additional source.[7]

    Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an inborn error of metabolism that results in decreased metabolism of the amino acid phenylalanine.[3] Untreated, PKU can lead to intellectual disability, seizures, behavioral problems, and mental disorders.[1] It may also result in a musty smell and lighter skin.[1] Babies born to mothers who have poorly treated PKU may have heart problems, a small head, and low birth weight.[1]

    Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder inherited from a person's parents.[1] It is due to mutations in the PAH gene, which results in low levels of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase.[1] This results in the buildup of dietary phenylalanine to potentially toxic levels.[1] It is autosomal recessive, meaning that both copies of the gene must be mutated for the condition to develop.[1] There are two main types, classic PKU and variant PKU, depending on if any enzyme function remains.[1] Those with one copy of a mutated gene typically do not have symptoms.[1] Many countries have newborn screening programs for the disease.[3]

    Treatment is with a diet low in foods that contain phenylalanine and special supplements.[2] Babies should use a special formula.[2] The diet should begin as soon as possible after birth and be continued for at least 10 years, if not lifelong.[2][6] People who are diagnosed early and maintain a strict diet can have normal health and a normal life span.[4] Effectiveness is monitored through periodic blood tests.[4] The medication sapropterin dihydrochloride may be useful in some.[2]

    Phenylketonuria affects about 1 in 12,000 babies.[5] Males and females are affected equally.[7] The disease was discovered in 1934 by Ivar Asbjørn Følling, with the importance of diet determined in 1953.[8] Gene therapy, while promising, requires a great deal more study as of 2014.[9]
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  7. Poneros


    Joined: Feb 18, 2015

    Posts: 3,652

    For some reason I didn't get an alert for this, but now that I see your post I'm greatly amused by the confidence you have in your wilful ignorance. Go find me a single long-term study where they isolated aspartame for testing, and done with humans. I'll wait, hopefully aspartame won't get me by the time you're back. More importantly, it's funny to note these are all done for "is it gonna cause me brain cancer tomorrow" type tests, but says nothing else about other metabolic (or even hormonal) effects of the sweetener. For example, does it mess up your gut biome?


    To look at a few mice studies and tell me about how well researched this is - LOL! :D
  8. 4K8KW10


    Joined: Sep 2, 2017

    Posts: 7,463

    GHS signal word: Danger

    GHS hazard statements:
    H312: Harmful in contact with skin
    H332: Harmful if inhaled

    GHS precautionary statements:
    P260: Do not breathe dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray
    P261: Avoid breathing dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray
    P264: Wash ... thoroughly after handling
    P270: Do not eat, drink or smoke when using this product
    P271: Use only outdoors or in well-ventilated area
    P280: Wear protective gloves/ protective clothing/ eyes protection/ face protection
    P302+352: IF ON SKIN: Wash with soap and water
    P304+312: Call a POISON CENTRE or doctor/physician if you feel unwell
    P304+340: IF INHALED: Remove victim to fresh air and keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing
    P312: Call a POISON CENTRE or doctor/physician if you feel unwell
    P314: Get Medical advice/attention if you feel unwell
    P322: Specific measures (see ... on this label)
    P363: Wash contaminated clothing before reuse
    P501: Dispose of contents/ container to ...


    NFPA 704:
    Red 1: Materials that require considerable preheating, under all ambient temperature conditions, before ignition and combustion can occur (e.g. mineral oil, ammonia). Includes some finely divided suspended solids that do not require heating before ignition can occur. Flash point at or above 93.3 °C (200 °F).
    Blue 1: Exposure would cause irritation with only minor residual injury (e.g. acetone, sodium bromate, potassium chloride)
    Yellow 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water (e.g. helium, N2)

  9. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 66,841

    That isn't really saying what you think it is saying - many many substances that are perfectly OK to consumer in food have significant considerations when handling raw in bulk.
  10. 4K8KW10


    Joined: Sep 2, 2017

    Posts: 7,463

    The ferrocyanide that they put in the table salt is also highly unsafe.

    is the name of the anion [Fe(CN)6]4−. Salts of this coordination complex give yellow solutions. It is usually available as the salt potassium ferrocyanide, which has the formula K4Fe(CN)6. [Fe(CN)6]4− is a diamagnetic species, featuring low-spin iron(II) center in an octahedral ligand environment. Although many salts of cyanide are highly toxic, ferro- and ferricyanides are less toxic because they tend not to release free cyanide.[1] It is of commercial interest as a precursor to the pigment Prussian blue and, as its potassium salt, an anticaking agent.

    Table salt that doesn't contain it, is much more expensive.
    Look at the boxes for more information to avoid it.
  11. Werewolf


    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 28,119

    Location: Panting like a fiend

    There are probably tens of thousands of chemical compounds that are "dangerous" to handle in their pure, bulk form, but utterly safe at the levels found in things like food.

    I mean you wouldn't want to go and drink a glass of mercury, but a few milligrams in fish once a week is fine.

    Ferrocyanide is a good example given you're worrying about cyanide in table salt, but I suspect you have zero worries about apples, which also have cyanide in them and probably in higher doses than table salt as IIRC you can extract it from apple seeds fairly simply whilst you'd probably die of the effects of the salt long before the ferrocyanide in it reached a problem level..

    I note you missed out the bit about it's toxicity being very low and it not breaking down into the dangerous form of cyanide.
    So that (if I'm reading that right) would be lethal to someone at a rate of 6.4g per kilo of body weight, at that rate you'd probably be in as much trouble from the purest salt - you're talking about eating something like 300grams of salt for someone who weighs 50kg, or around 450g for someone at 75kg (or to put it another way, a mug of salt).
    I don't know about you, but i suspect the number of people who sit down and shovel spoonfuls of salt into their mouth is pretty low.

    Remember the Body deals with trace amounts of toxins every single day, even the best organic food hand picked by pure and virtuous maidens will have trace amounts of chemicals that are dangerous in volume or their pure form, many plants use those chemicals for things like colouration, to deter animals or protect the seeds etc, and many animals then have a much higher build up of those chemicals because they've eaten the vegetation and it builds up in their flesh.

    You appear to be showing an irrational fear of chemicals based on their name, or one component, whilst a complete ignorance of how chemical compounds work (and break down), or dosage levels.
  12. StriderX


    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 24,283

    OMG Di-hydrogen monoxide is everywhere, save the kids or something.

    Honestly, and if someone doesnt realise how close a mouse is to our genome, and why it's a pretty good indicator, then i give up on this conversation.
  13. shroomz

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 18, 2010

    Posts: 1,999

    Location: Bristol, UK

    1. You know, posting MSDS and listing the effects of a substance under exposure to bulk quantities is how the anti vaccine movement work. You are literally using anti-vaxxer logic.

    2. People with PKU (1 in 10000 ish) already have a long list of things to worry about and extensively manage their diet daily, having to avoid milk as one of them, cutting out sweeteners is a lot easier than milk. As for the rest of us, phenylalanine is a pretty useful chemical.
  14. d_brennen


    Joined: Jan 30, 2009

    Posts: 15,372

    Location: Aquilonem Londinensi

    Watch out for that dihydrogen monoxide too
  15. Minstadave


    Joined: Jan 8, 2004

    Posts: 25,803

    Location: Rutland

    This is a new low, even for 4Kwhateverhisnameis.

    Breast feeding kills children with Galactosemia, should we consider that dangerous too?
  16. SixTwoSix


    Joined: Sep 14, 2007

    Posts: 10,354

    Location: Rugby

    I was going to post exactly the same after I saw his post, I wouldn't be surprised if he is an anti vaxxer.
  17. Mercenary Keyboard Warrior


    Joined: Aug 4, 2007

    Posts: 10,247

    Location: Wilds of suffolk

    Problem is plenty of warnings are available on substances when they are pure
    I work where there are thousands of ingredients going into food flavours, most of them have hazardous signs on them.
    Eg some of the lemon oils are classified as highly flammable and very dangerous to the environment. OMG don't eat lemons ;)
  18. tom_e

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 26, 2003

    Posts: 26,635

    Location: West mids

    Large amounts of sugar will kill a diabetic, the sugar isn't the issue there though the underlying condition meaning they can't process it properly is.
  19. 4K8KW10


    Joined: Sep 2, 2017

    Posts: 7,463

    The levels found in food are not low, if this is what you want to tell. The toxicity is rats is low which means it still exists. Look, if you said the toxicity in rats is non-existent, then you would have been right.
    We don't eat chemical compounds. When a chemical compound like aspartame is eaten, it accumulates in your body. The more you eat, the more stays in your body.

    Just don't be the devil's advocate.
    Also, you didn't answer why there are table salts that are much more expensive and do not contain the pottasium ferrocyanid.
  20. Jonny2284

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Nov 1, 2009

    Posts: 1,332

    Ok I'll bite for a second. So the argument by certain parties is that it's unsafe and big soda is apparently buying off any and all proof that it isn't, and not one validated piece of research, not one scientist, not one country stood their ground, said no and outed this?