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Aspartame & cancer.

The artificial sweetener aspartame (Nutra-Sweet, Equal) caused lymphomas (cancers of the lymph system) 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 with sucralose (Splenda), which appears to be safe. And continue to avoid acesulfame potassium (which is often used together with Splenda) and saccharin. Both may also promote cancer.

European Journal of Oncology 10:2005 (in press).
COPYRIGHT 2005 Center for Science in the Public Interest
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:QUICK STUDIES
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2005
Previous Article:Fish, meat, & colon cancer.
Next Article:In a heartbeat.

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