Aspartame & cancer.
The artificial sweetener aspartame aspartame: see sweetener, artificial.
Synthetic organic compound (a dipeptide) of phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It is 150–200 times as sweet as cane sugar and is used as a nonnutritive tabletop sweetener and in low-calorie (Nutra-Sweet, Equal) caused lymphomas (cancers of the lymph system Lymph System
When sickness or infection invades the body, the immune system is the first line of defense. A big part of that defense is the lymph system. Lymph is carried through the body by lymph vessels that have valves and muscles to help move the fluid. ) and leukemias (cancers of the blood-forming cells) in female--but not male--rats, according to a large Italian study.
The lowest level that increased risk was close to what many people consume in foods--equal to about eight cans of aspartame-sweetened diet soda a day for adults, or two cans a day for children.
What's more, brain tumors occurred in 12 of the 1,500 animals fed aspartame but in none of the 300 animals in the aspartame-free group--a difference not statistically significant but troubling enough to warrant further research.
However, lung cancer is the only cancer in women that has soared since aspartame hit the market in the early 1980s. That suggests that aspartame might not affect humans as much as it did the lab animals-though it's possible that it might take another decade for cancers to occur.
What to do: Until the dust settles, switch to foods without artificial sweeteners or ones sweetened sweet·en
v. sweet·ened, sweet·en·ing, sweet·ens
1. To make sweet or sweeter by adding sugar, honey, saccharin, or another sweet substance.
2. To make more pleasant or agreeable. with sucralose sucralose: see sweetener, artificial. (Splenda), which appears to be safe. And continue to avoid acesulfame potassium (which is often used together with Splenda) and saccharin saccharin (săk`ərĭn), C7H5NSO3, white, crystalline, aromatic compound. It was discovered accidentally by I. Remsen and C. Fahlberg in 1879. Pure saccharin tastes several hundred times as sweet as sugar. . Both may also promote cancer.
European Journal of Oncology 10:2005 (in press).