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Aspartame is a sweetening ingredient used in diet soft drinks. It is FDA approved but the label needs to let customers know that the product contains phenylalanine which is one of aspartame's components. People with a disease called phenlyketonuria or pregnant women who already have high levels of phenylalanine in their blood don't remove phenylalanine as quickly from their body. Excess consumption of diet products can cause further phenylalanine levels which is capable of causing brain damage. Aspartame degradation also produces methyl alcohol which is poisonous in high doses. Experts say that the amount obtained from diet drink consumption is easily dealt with by the body. The biggest concern diet drinks present was due to a 30 year old study which claims that the injection of a compound from aspartame (aspartic acid) into an animals brain resulted in lesions. Some experts claim that the results are invalid as a direct injection to the brain will have a totally different effect to consumption of a diet drink. The long-term effects of aspartame use are still being studied. Sucralose received approval from the FDA in 1998 to be used as an artificial sweetener. Some people suffer digestive problems such as gas when the consume it. Sucralose is made from the addition of chlorine molecules to sugar molecules. Scientists still don't know if this bond remains stable under extreme heat such as when the product is cooked in a cake. The breakdown of the bond could result in a very different compound being formed.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Marshfield News-Herald
About: Long-term effects of artificial sweetener consumption still unknown
Date: 31 December 2004
Source: Marshfield News-Herald
Author: Matt Conn
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