Over-interpretation of studies in the anti-aspartame movement

Despite thirty years of research demonstrating aspartame to be safe, and no scientifically plausible reason to be concerned in the first place, there continues to be a large community on the Internet, as well as in the general population, that insists aspartame is dangerous. There are even a couple of documentaries available (one of them Sweet Misery, I have discussed elsewhere). I would like to focus this brief article on how that group has inflated the results of an actual study that is effectively neutral in its conclusions.

A “weak” aspartame/cancer study

Very recently a study (entitled “Consumption of artificial sweetener– and sugar-containing soda and risk of lymphoma and leukemia in men and women”) from Brigham and Women’s Hospital came out which looked at 22 years of data on consumption of soft drinks (both sugar- and aspartame-sweetened) and incidence of lymphoma and leukemia. Although the study is getting touted by the anti-aspartame community as convincing evidence demonstrating that aspartame causes these cancers, the actual study results are significantly less forceful. Their conclusion (emphasis mine):

Although our findings preserve the possibility of a detrimental effect of a constituent of diet soda, such as aspartame, on select cancers, the inconsistent sex effects and occurrence of an apparent cancer risk in individuals who consume regular soda do not permit the ruling out of chance as an explanation.

They were only able to tease out effects for lymphoma if they analyzed men and women separately, and even then only for men (RR 1.3 even then, the low end of the relative risk was 1.01, which means no increased risk). In fact, in men consumption of regular, non-diet soda was associated with lymphoma. For leukemia, on the other hand, they could only get an effect if they combined the sexes. The low end of increases risk (RR 1.4) there actually started at 1.00 or, in other words, no increased risk. Unless they had planned it from the start, it strikes me as odd that they would use different analyses for each of the illnesses, as that ends up feeling like pure data mining to find an effect.

So in essence the study found nearly no effect. In fact, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where the research was performed and promoted, ended up apologizing after it was published for pushing such a “weak” study (their words) to the media for reporting. It looks like it is scheduled to get published in the December 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, though interestingly the table of contents for the November issue of the journal lists an editorial commenting on the article.

The anti-aspartame community responds

It should come as no surprise that this study was not taken for what it is by the anti-aspartame folks out there. Instead, headline after headline says something along the lines of “Aspartame linked with cancer in 22-year study”. Sometimes the word “Landmark” is thrown in for extra effect. For example, one blog goes out of its way to quote from the results, except for studiously avoiding the part about regular soda also being linked. That same article also cites a cancer study which has been roundly criticized by both the FDA and the European Food Agency (EFSA).

Industry scare tactics?

Where it gets extra interesting is the bit of conspiracy-thinking that suggests that the reason the school came out with an “apology” and possible retraction was due to industry scare tactics, and not because its results show almost no effect. None other than Joe Mercola had this to say (emphasis my own):

After all, can you imagine the liability the food and beverage industries, not to mention virtually every public health agency in the US, would face were there convincing evidence that aspartame is carcinogenic? They simply cannot afford such evidence to be accepted.

As should be clear now, to call this “convincing evidence” is speaking well above what the evidence actually seems to demonstrate. There is also that hint of conspiracy theory that the only reason the hospital issued the release was through some unspecified action of the food and beverage industry. Actually finding a strong link between aspartame would, I think, garner enough attention to get lots of funding to look “deeper” into other products that have been deemed by the Internet to be unsafe.

But at the levels we are talking about in this study, even fruits and dairy products have been found to be linked with lymphoma. For example, in one study dairy and fried meat were associated (OR of 1.5 between lowest and highest) with NHL. Another study, looked at tobacco (3.5), barbecued meat (1.7), salted meat (2.4) and beer (5.5). The high end risk factor of those in some cases goes well into the 20s.

Summary

So was aspartame linked with leukemia and lymphoma? It seems so, but weakly, and so was regular soda. And both had lower risk numbers than other dietary factors that apply to the average person (even one avoiding soda). In other words, it seems that, as the cliche goes, nearly everything is in some way associated with various cancers. So to claim that aspartame has been found to be a particularly insidious culprit is simply untrue.

REFERENCES
1. Schernhammer, Eva S., Kimberly A. Bertrand, Brenda M. Birmann, Laura Sampson, Walter W. Willett, and Diane Feskanich. "Consumption of artificial sweetener–and sugar-containing soda and risk of lymphoma and leukemia in men and women." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2012).
2. Chang, Ellen T., Karin Ekström Smedby, Shumin M. Zhang, Henrik Hjalgrim, Mads Melbye, Åke Öst, Bengt Glimelius, Alicja Wolk, and Hans-Olov Adami. "Dietary factors and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in men and women." Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 14, no. 2 (2005): 512-520.
3. De Stefani, Eduardo, Luis Fierro, Enrique Barrios, and Alvaro Ronco. "Tobacco, alcohol, diet and risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: a case-control study in Uruguay." Leukemia research 22, no. 5 (1998): 445-452.
4. US Food and Drug Administration. “FDA Statement on European Aspartame Study”. CFSAN/Office of Food Additive Safety. April 20, 2007. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodIngredientsPackaging/FoodAdditives/ucm208580.htm. Accessed 6/13/2010
5. European Commission Scientific Committee on Feed. “Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food:Update on the Safety of Aspartame”. December 4, 2002. http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/scf/out155_en.pdf. Accessed 6/13/2010.

About Josh DeWald

I am a software engineer, husband and parent of two. I have been involved in the Skeptical movement for a few years now, especially since having children and so needing to fight pseudoscience related to parenting (vaccines, homeopathy, etc). I've been fortunate to attend TAM twice with my wife (who is also of a Skeptical bent). I also have a blog known as "What Does the Science Say?" (whatdoesthesciencesay.wordpress.com), where I have an odd habit of writing a lot about aspartame.
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34 Responses to Over-interpretation of studies in the anti-aspartame movement

  1. Freke1 says:

    Thanks for the update! Do You drink sugar or aspartame softdrinks please?

    • Josh DeWald says:

      Personally I’m a drinker of aspartame-sweetened drinks (though, like many programmers, previously I was a very large consumer of regular Mt. Dew). I haven’t finished a “regular” soda in quite a few years, I’m just too used to diet drinks. Who knows if I’d actually be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test however.

      I tend to use Splenda when sweetening my coffee but have no problem using NutraSweet, Sweet N’ Low, whatever is available.

  2. Barbara says:

    My daughter was going blind and having what looked seizures from aspartame. After extensive testing in Massachusetts and New Jersey, she was instructed to stop using aspartame. Luckily, the seizures stopped and her vision returned. She was fine for 12 years. Then, she began drinking diet soda again and had the same severe reaction. Once again she stopped and recovered. Aspartame gives me serious optic migraines. I personally know hundreds of people made ill by aspartame.

    • Josh DeWald says:

      Barbara –
      Very sorry to hear about your and your daughter! It seems that there is virtually no chemical that at least some small percentage of people don’t have reactions to, thanks to the amazing complexity of the body. Seems like you took the right approach in discontinuing, it looks like with doctor recommendation, which is always the right thing (in my opinion, anything on the Internet is just general info and reporting, and can never apply to individual people). That said, the studies demonstrate that, for the average person, there is nothing to be concerned about. In controlled studies of those who self-report aspartame-related headaches, double blind testing resulted in no effect from aspartame above placebo. So, usually, self-diagnosis of harm from aspartame is incorrect. Again, your experience with your doctor certainly does and should override general guidelines for the population at large. Thankfully, my own experience (as well as my wife and co-workers’) is no ill-effects from regular consumption of diet soda, yogurt, Skinny Cow ice cream, etc. But that is also simply anecdotal evidence and can only apply to those involved. But full-disclosure, a friend of mine says she feels “off” when drinking aspartame-containing diet sodas, so she avoids them. Mileage varies.

      In all seriousness, I would recommend that you see if those people would be able to participate in a double-blind study. There are plenty of credible scientists who would, I think, be able to make their careers if they could identify the gene, existing condition, etc that leads people to have this reaction. Hundreds of people are definitely a good sample, as most studies have between 50 and 100 people in it.

      • Barbara says:

        Our daughter’s ophthalmologist even spoke to other doctors at Grands Rounds at our local hospital about his many patients losing their sight from aspartame.

        I have closely studied it since it came on the market, and it is not safe. Studies that say it is safe are paid for by the manufacturers.

        A long/recent study at CPMC (NYC) in conjunction with a hospital in Florida found it can cause heart attacks and strokes.

        BTW, many people become addicted to it and can’t stop.

        Several large universities have even done studies showing that it causes weight gain.

        • Josh DeWald says:

          I’d be happy to look at the study out of CPMC if you have a citation, as well as any around long-term weight gain (there’s already evidence that there can be short-term weight gain from artificial sweeteners which seems to be due to internal confusion about caloric content in the body, but the effect disappears long-term).

          • Barbara says:

            I’ll find the info and send it.

          • Barbara says:

            Diet Soda Linked To Higher Risk Of Heart Attack, Stroke
            February 9, 2011 5:24 PM
             
            NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many people make the switch to diet soda to be a bit healthier when they indulge, but a new study suggests that diet soda drinkers could be more susceptible to heart disease or a stroke.
            The Columbia University study, which followed more than 2,500 New Yorkers, found that daily diet soda drinkers had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events – like heart attack or stroke – than those who abstained from soda altogether.
            The study also found a 48 percent increase in stroke, heart attack or cardiovascular-related death for those who drank diet soda when all other factors were held constant.
            “If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages for protection against vascular outcomes,” Dr. Hannah Gardener, lead author and epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, said. (And, Dr. Mitchell Elkind)
            The researchers presented the results of the nine-year study at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.
            Researchers surveyed 2,564 north Manhattan residents about age, sex, race/ethnicity, exercise and eating habits, and cigarette and alcohol consumption. The volunteers were also given physical check-ups to test for other factors that might affect the risk for vascular issues.
            Surprisingly, drinkers of non-diet soda were not shown to have a significant increase in risk for vascular events compared to non-soda drinker.
             

          • Barbara says:

            It is best for you that you stopped using it! Aspartame was discovered unintentionally when chemist James Schlatter of the G.D. Searle Company found he had developed an anti-ulcer drug, which did not help ulcers, but which happened to taste very sweet. The company seized upon the idea that this new substance might be a great way to earn money, even if not as a ulcer drug.

            http://www.dorway.com/metzler.html
             
            Stopping the sale of aspartame would lessen many mental and physical illnesses and would help insurance companies and employers!!!!!

  3. Freke1 says:

    I’ve seen a swedish scientist say that Aspartame ruins the bodys metabolism regulation (or something to that effect) and not only short time. She also said You don’t loose weight with Aspartame and recommended sugar based sodas. This was on national TV. I know the EU food scientists are studying Aspartame again since there is so much debate. Personally I’ve stopped using it and gained no weight whatsoever. But of cause we have to trust the scientists (if they are not payed by the company). I think it is important to be skeptic about investigations and check out who is paying for them. It is well documented that that has a dramatic effect on the outcome.

    Here’s some skeptic experiences from my life:
    1. “Chemtrails? Oh give me a break lol” And then I see a docu where there is documents detailing that they are infact spraying silveroxide.
    2. “Orbs, dire wolfs, holes in the sky, animal mutilation etc.?”. Then I read “Hunt for the Skinwalker” where these PhD scientists experience these things.
    3. “UFO’s?”. Then I see: “I Know What I Saw” where thousands of people tell how they saw this giant black triangle fly over Phoenix.
    to name just a few examples out of many.
    I’m sure skeptics don’t believe in these things. I just don’t know why. But I appreciate that somebody is digging for the truth a lot!

  4. Freke1 says:

    Great stuff Barbara, thanks for posting. I knew of some of this crazy american corporate crap but not like You.

    • Barbara says:

      Here’s more, that I have been trying to post ~~

      http://classactionblog.mdpcelaw.com/2011/07/07/can-diet-sodas-actually-cause-weight-gain/

      http://www.naturalnews.com/022785_food_sugar_sweeteners.html

      Editor: Barbara, you may not post copyrighted content here. You may link to the original article.

      • Josh DeWald says:

        Barbara – Your comments at this point have strayed well off topic. Nowhere in the article do I even discuss whether or not aspartame is effective for weight loss, yet the bulk of your long comments have been about that topic. My article was a discussion of a particular study and whether it demonstrates that aspartame, in light of others of a similar nature, leads to leukemia and/or lymphoma.

        If you have your own blog that you would like to link back to this article with for any long form entries that might touch on the content of this one, feel free to do so.

        • Barbara says:

          All I can say is that if you wish, drink all the diet soda you can. The day will come when you are sorry you did.

          Someone asked me for a quick look at some items, and I found them there. However, I first saw them in the news.

          People who get rich selling diet soda don’t care about others. I do.

          I really don’t have time to be abused when I am trying to help.

  5. Barbara says:

    My final comment. Yes, it will be short.

    On April 23, 2007, I drove to New York City to the Icahn Medical Building of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (1425 Madison Avenue at East 98th Street) to watch Philip J. Landrigan, M.D. confer the third Irving J. Selikoff Award on Morando Soffritti, MD for “his outstanding contributions to the identification of environmental and industrial carcinogens and his promotion of independent scientific research.” I also attended to hear Dr. Soffritti speak on “The carcinogenicity of aspartame: the lessons we still must learn.”

    Dr. Soffritti thoroughly discussed a second study on aspartame conducted by the European Ramazzini Foundation (ERF) that confirms the carcinogenicity of aspartame.

  6. Freke1 says:

    Please keep us informed regarding Aspartame. I’ve been trying to find out if it is dangerous, but I can’t come to a conclusion. While the danish FDA says it safe, they also says pregnant women shouldn’t use it because it increases the risk of premature birth 78% (in national news). There keep popping up news about research showing one thing or the other (safe/unsafe) and then there is the story Barbara tells and the one I saw on TV with the swedish scientist. I was kinda hoping You would cover everything in You post here.

    • Josh DeWald says:

      The format on the Skeptoid blog is meant to be short-ish, but I have written quite a bit more on aspartame (as have others). I have gathered some of it at http://whatdoesthesciencesay.wordpress.com/aspartame/. I address many of the concerns brought up by Barbara. I have never heard about any study about aspartame being linked with premature births.

      • Barbara says:

        Have you heard of this?

        I have an AUTISM CHART SHOWING AUTISM SKYROCKETING after ASPARTAME APPROVAL.
        A doctor found the chart and sent it to a friend of mine.
        The doctor has a nephew with autism and the child’s mother used diet pop with aspartame during pregnancy.

        When the ADD people, Feingold Association, were interviewed for a movie, they said that before the approval of aspartame, no one even use the terms ADD and ADHD.

        Another doctor said:
        The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has projected that with the rise of autism caused by toxic foods like Aspartame, soon, no one will be born in the Western World that does not have some degree have autism.

        Dr. Louis Elsas, pediatric professor, genetics, when he was at Emory University testified before congress about aspartame causing birth defects and went into detail about the 50% phenylalanine.
        Aspartame is especially devastating to offspring of pregnant women. The amount of toxic phenylalanine reaching the baby is twice as high as that in the mother’s blood because the placenta concentrates the toxin.

  7. bunsen68 says:

    Josh,

    I just stumbled on Skeptoid, and bravo! You’re part of a great site and you’re doing a great service.

    As a consumer of aspartame myself, I’ve been monitoring the toxicology literature for several years to see if there’s sound reason to change my behavior. (Disclosure: I’m not a toxicologist or a biochemist. I’m a scientist by training, with an advanced degree, though in a pretty distant field.) I must admit the Harvard study gives me pause, whatever its limitations. BUT there are also rather serious red flags.

    * The article was outright rejected *six* times by more prestigious journals (including JAMA and the Lancet) before being accepted at the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition (and only after significant pushback from the reviewers). That’s not a deal breaker — it does happen, even with good papers — but it’s not a good sign either.
    * Other experts — academics and researchers not affiliated in any way with industry — have expressed deep skepticism about these findings.
    * The findings, as you’ve pointed out, flirt suspiciously with chance in many cases. In fact, the confidence intervals (CIs) for the relative risks often include 1.0, or are just north of 1.0 (meaning quite possibly no increased risk at all).

    Three good stories that cover the controversy (links shortened for readability):

    * From WHDH (in Boston, where Brigham and Women’s is located): http://bit.ly/XCwTV9
    * From NPR: http://n.pr/TfZlbr
    * From NBC: http://nbcnews.to/PrmZC6

    I could write a long post about this paper and its context, but I’ll spare everyone. Just a couple of things to note, though (I can provide references for everything, but am dashing, so please excuse the lack of citations):

    * For cross-study interpretation purposes: Relative risks (RRs) and odds ratios (ORs) are mathematically different. For low probability events (like the blood cancers being studied here), they generally approximate one another. But for high probability events, ORs will be MUCH larger than RRs. A good (and brief) paper explaining the difference can be found here (free PDF): http://post.queensu.ca/~hh11/assets/applets/Understanding_the_OR_and_RR.pdf.

    * The mechanism that would lead from aspartame ingestion to blood cancer is totally speculative, but it is *in theory* plausible. The issue is not whether the metabolism of aspartame will cause methanol poisoning — nobody rational thinks that; the amounts required for toxicity are just too high. It’s also not about whether formaldehyde accumulates in tissue as methanol is metabolized. Again, nobody rational thinks that — its half life is too short (about 2 minutes). It is, however, highly reactive: It’ll interact with — and potentially damage — many organic molecules it collides with, even briefly. That said, our bodies produces voluminous quantities of the stuff for DNA synthesis and regulation; we’ve got evolutionarily old mechanisms for making sure it doesn’t wreak havoc. The question, then, is whether the exogenous (external) load of formaldehyde produced by metabolizing the methanol in aspartame could exceed the ability of cells to repair the damage sometimes caused by our endogenous (internal) load. That appears to be the case, at least under some circumstances: Industrial exposure to high levels of formaldehyde in air do produce a limited range of cancers. Could the metabolism of methanol from aspartame produce similar problems? Maybe: The data in the Harvard paper are somewhat consistent with that idea. But even if you accept their epidemiological data as showing a true signal (rather than just noise), a lot of other things would have to be demonstrated first before their account moves beyond speculation, and there’s little evidence yet that those other things are true.

    • Josh DeWald says:

      Edward –
      Thanks for your reply! I think your comments are spot on (and much more well-informed than I could venture into)…. there is always a chance that some chemical will cause cancer, but until there is any actual evidence of it, I see little reason to stop consuming food and beverages with aspartame. “We just don’t know” isn’t a reason without genuine prior plausibility, which is drastically low now thanks to all of the studies (and basic chemistry) which don’t appear to show real harm.

      Also thank you for the clarification on OR and RR, I believe at the levels discussed in the article that they approach each other, but I could be wrong.

  8. Rich Murray says:

    By year, recent peer-reviewed studies critical of aspartame (methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid): Rich Murray 2011.06.27 2011.09.02

    Compiled By Rich Murray, MA
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2012/05/by-year-recent-peer-reviewed-studies.html
    Room For All
    254-A Donax Avenue
    Imperial Beach, CA 91932 USA
    Telephone: 505-819-7388
    E-Mail: rmforall@gmail.com
    Skype: audio, video rich.murray11
    Blog: http://rmforall.blogspot.com
    Web Site: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM

    Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun 30. [Epub ahead of print] 8 pages Intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and risk of preterm delivery: a prospective cohort study of 59,334 Danish pregnant women.
    Halldorsson TI, lur@ssi.dk; Strøm M, mrm@ssi.dk; Petersen SB, marp@sund.ku.dk; Olsen SF. sfolsen@hsph.harvard.edu
    Centre for Fetal Programming, Division of Epidemiology
    Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark, Reykjavik, Iceland.
    Thorhallur I Halldorsson, Marin Strøm, Sesilje B Petersen, and Sjurdur F Olsen
    Abstract
    BACKGROUND:
    Sugar-sweetened soft drinks have been linked to a number of adverse health outcomes such as high weight gain. Therefore, artificially sweetened soft drinks are often promoted as an alternative. However, the safety of artificial sweeteners has been disputed, and consequences of high intakes of artificial sweeteners for pregnant women have been minimally addressed.
    OBJECTIVE: We examined the association between intakes of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks and preterm delivery.
    DESIGN: We conducted prospective cohort analyses of 59,334 women from the Danish National Birth Cohort (1996-2002). Soft drink intake was assessed in midpregnancy by using a food-frequency questionnaire. Preterm delivery (/=4 servings of artificially sweetened carbonated soft drinks/d was 1.78 (95% CI: 1.19, 2.66). The association was observed for normal-weight and overweight women. A stronger increase in risk was observed for early preterm and moderately preterm delivery than with late-preterm delivery. No association was observed for sugar-sweetened carbonated soft drinks (P for trend: 0.29) or for sugar-sweetened noncarbonated soft drinks (P for trend: 0.93).

    CONCLUSIONS:
    Daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks may increase the risk of preterm delivery. Further studies are needed to reject or confirm these findings. PMID: 20592133

    From the Centre for Fetal Programming, Division of Epidemiology, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark (TIH, MS, SBP, and SFO); the Unit for Nutrition Research, Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland (TIH), Reykjavik, Iceland; and the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. Boston, MA (SFO).

    Supported by the European Union (EU), Integrated Research Project, EARNEST (FOOD-CT-2005-007036). The EU project EARNEST http://www.metabolic-programming.org receives financial support from the Commission of the European Communities under the FP 6 priority 5: food quality and safety. The Danish National Birth Cohort has been financed by the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, the Danish Heart Association, the Danish Medical Research Council, and the Sygekassernes Helsefond, Danish National Research Foundation, Danish Pharmaceutical Association, Ministry of Health, National Board of Health, Statens Serum Institut.

    Address correspondence to TI Halldorsson, Centre for Fetal Programming, Division of Epidemiology, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, Building 206, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark. E-mail: lur@ssi.dk; Received November 19, 2009. Accepted for publication June 3, 2010. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28968.

    Of the 59,334 pregnant women,
    Over 4 artificially sweetened carbonated soft drinks daily __ 340 0.6 %
    noncarbonated soft drinks __ 1,753 3.0 %
    2-3 cans daily artificially carbonated _______________ 834 1.4 %
    noncarbonated ___________ 3,643 6.1 %

    So, over 3% of pregnant women in 1996-2002 used 4 or more artificially sweetened soft drinks daily, while over 6 % had 2-3 drinks daily.
    This does not include aspartame from other foods.

    “A monitoring survey from 2005 quantified artificial sweeteners in 76 soft drinks from the Danish market (30). For carbonated soft drinks, aspartame and acesulfame-K were primarily used in products from the major international brands, and the average concentration of these 2 sweeteners was around 2–3-fold higher in carbonated than in noncarbonated soft drinks (30).”

    “After ingestion, aspartame is broken down into aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Methanol is oxidized into formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which is considered responsible for the toxic effects of methanol. Despite arguments that aspartame intake should not affect blood methanol concentrations (34), animal studies have reported the accumulation of formaldehyde adducts derived from aspartame in tissue components (22). This might be one explaining factor for reports on headaches linked to the intake of aspartame (10). More relevant to our findings, a study in low dose methanol exposure through inhalation in nonhuman primates observed a significant decrease in the length of gestation in exposed animals compared with control animals (21). A shortening of gestation was even observed at methanol vapor concentrations that barely affected blood methanol concentrations in these animals (200 ppm; 2.5 h/d). Furthermore, 5 out of 28 exposed animals needed medical intervention and were delivered by cesarean delivery either because of vaginal bleeding (n = 4) or unproductive labor (n = 1). None of the 9 control animals required cesarean delivery. The authors suggested that the observed shortening of gestation could either be related to the effects of methanol on the fetal neuroendocrine system (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) or an indirect action of methanol on the maternal uterine environment. The latter explanation would be more compatible with our findings of an increased risk of medically induced preterm deliveries.”

    Rich Murray: They repeat a false claim, propagated for decades by industry funded scientists, that blood methanol is made, primarily in the liver, into formaldehyde and then quickly into toxic formic acid and then quickly into safe CO2 and H2O.

    In fact, folic acid is so safe that WC Monte used it in his lab as salad dressing for his lunches.

    In humans, blood methanol largely passes the liver to reach all parts of the body, whereas formaldehyde is too reactive to travel far via the blood, so cancers from inhaled formaldehyde occur in nasal tissues, and not in the brain or liver.

    In humans, where the cell catalase enzyme system in hundreds of peroxisomes in every cell is uniquely unable to process the methanol, the ADH1 enzyme in 19 specific tissues makes methanol quickly and easily into free floating, highly reactive acidic hydrolyzed formaldehyde, which quickly binds with and impairs DNA, RNA, and proteins, and diffuses out to harm nearby cells.

    Prof. Woodrow C. Monte, Food Science and Nutrition, Arizona State University, retired 2004,
    WhileScienceSleeps.com , gives a free online archive of 745 full text scientific research references.

  9. Rich Murray says:

    ” Another study, looked at tobacco (3.5), barbecued meat (1.7), salted meat (2.4) and beer (5.5). The high end risk factor of those in some cases goes well into the 20s.”

    3. De Stefani, Eduardo, Luis Fierro, Enrique Barrios, and Alvaro Ronco.
    “Tobacco, alcohol, diet and risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: a case-control study in Uruguay.” Leukemia research 22, no. 5 (1998): 445-452.

    Abstract

    To test whether high meat intake is associated with the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in the Uruguayan population, a case-control study was performed at the Instituto Nacional de Oncologia, Montevideo, Uruguay.

    After controlling for age, sex, residence, education, urban/rural status and the habit of drinking the beverage ‘mate’, red meat intake was associated with an increased risk of NHL of 2.5.

    This finding was similar in both sexes separately.

    Odds ratios (OR) for the highest tertile of barbecued meat was 1.7 among men,
    whereas salted meat was associated with an increased risk of NHL (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.4-17.7).

    The effect of processed and salted meat among women was of much less magnitude and the OR’s were non-significant.

    Also, cumulative exposure to ‘mate’ drinking displayed an OR of 2.4 (95% CI 1.0-5.6).

    Smokers of black tobacco and hand-rolled cigarettes were associated with an increased risk of 3.5 (95% 1.1-10.9),
    whereas beer drinkers showed an increased OR of 5.5 (95% 1.1-26.7) in men.

    It could be concluded that red or salted meat intake, smoking of black tobacco, and beer and ‘mate’ drinking are risk factors for NHL in the Uruguayan population.

    PMID: 9652731

    Wikipedia: Mate (beverage)
    ” It is prepared from steeping dried leaves of yerba mate (llex paraguariensis, known in Portuguese as erva-mate) in hot water.” 34 references — no methanol is reported

    A pack of unfiltered cigarettes gives as much methanol as a liter of aspartame diet drink, 60 mg, according to Prof. Woodrow C. Monte, Food Science and Nutrition, Arizona State University, retired 2004, in his January 2012 text “While Science Sleeps”.

    His paradigm is that in humans only, methanol is quickly made by the ADH1 enzyme into free floating, highly reactive acidic hydrated formaldehyde inside cells in 19 specific tissues with high levels of the ADH1 enzyme.

    Accordingly, many studies that find tobacco and wood smoke to be carcinogenic probably are giving evidence for methanol-formaldehyde toxicity in humans.

    Dark wines and liquors contain substantial amounts of methanol, over 100 mg per liter, but ethanol preoccupies the ADH1 enzyme, dropping 8 times every hour, until the ethanol is, all used up after about 8 hours — then the methanol, which drops 8 times every 8 hours, is down to 3% of its initial level in the blood — then the ADH1 enzyme, especially in the brain and eyes, makes formaldehyde, setting off the onslaught of hangover symptoms, “the morning after the night before”, for a few hours until the methanol is also used up — headache, sore and sensitive eyes, nausea, fatigue, weakness, aching muscles and joints, dizziness, anxiety, confusion, brain fog, irritability, poor memory — the common remedy is to quickly take another drink, supplying ethanol that quickly stops the production of formaldehyde from methanol.

    Another major methanol source are fruits juices vegetables sealed wet at room temperatures in closed cans jars and plastic containers — these sources also give even more ethanol, enough to block the production of formaldehyde from methanol for many hours.

    All these common methanol sources are sure to create weak, mixed and confusing signals in most research on people. Very little data on human exposures and symptoms has been reported. How many of you knew about these ubiquitous sources of methanol?

    Additionally, bacteria in the colon produce enough ethanol to protect many people. Taking a teaspoon (5 ml) of 80 proof (40% ethanol) gin or vodka every hour will protect most people without harmful effects.

    WC Monte gives two free book chapters, his 2010 review in Medical Hypothesis, and previous detailed articles, along with free audios, videos, graphics, and an online archive of 745 full text medical research references, to expedite rapid peer review by experts worldwide, at WhileScienceSleeps.com .

  10. bunsen68 says:

    I hesitate to feed a likely troll (“Rich Murray” has been banned on other forums for spamming). But I’ll do it anyway.

    The claim that methanol produces hangovers is demonstrably untrue. If that were the case, consumers of aspartame-sweetened beverages would, by your logic, have *constant* hangovers. But they don’t.

    True, phenylketonurics should not consume aspartame, and some people *may* be allergic to some of the components of aspartame. But the problems these conditions create are very different from hangovers.

    One final bit of logic. Given that a) drinking alcohol contains both ethanol and methanol, and b) ethanol is eliminated more quickly than methanol, then consumption of alcohol should always be a bad idea. Ethanol consumption would *delay* but not *prevent* the metabolism of methanol. And drinking yet more alcohol in the morning would just re-create the whole cycle.

    • Rich Murray says:

      Hello Bunsen68,

      I’ve often been excluded on forums, usually with claims that I was a troll or spammer — I give civil, specific detail oriented reviews of public evidence to sustain collaborative sharing for mutual benefit. However, for a few, shoot the messenger is the only acceptable rapid response that reestablishes a cherished sense of control… but even that shows something has been communicated.

      I’ve been learning there is a lot more to aspartame toxicity than aspartame — notably methanol toxicity is much more severe than has been the mainstream dogma — WC Monte has been putting voluminous detailed evidence in public view since fall, 2007. Few have assimilated the fact that methanol is a prominent part of cigarette and wood smoke, dark wines and liquors, fresh tomatoes, and fruits juices vegetables kept wet at room temperatures in sealed cans jars plastics, and many other sources — so research that considers all these co-factors is just starting…

      In addition, individual variations are huge: genetic, sex, age, obesity, diseases, diet, fitness, amount of use…

      For instance, about a quarter of alcohol drinkers report no hangovers. Since ethanol is a potent antidote, preventing the ADH1 enzyme from making methanol into formaldehyde inside cells in 19 specific tissues in humans, the natural production of ethanol by bacteria in the human colon may provide the level of a few mg ethanol per liter blood that is protective for a majority of people — shockingly little actual research data exists. I note that most people who testify to being aspartame reactors have been using 6 or more cans daily for years.

      Here are the only two studies in labs that correlate blood methanol levels with hangover symptoms:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1286
      methanol products (formaldehyde and formic acid) are main cause
      of alcohol hangover symptoms [same as from similar amounts of
      methanol, the 11% part of aspartame]: YS Woo et al, 2005 Dec:
      Murray 2006.01.20

      Addict Biol. 2005 Dec;10(4): 351-5.
      Concentration changes of methanol in blood samples during
      an experimentally induced alcohol hangover state.
      Woo YS, Yoon SJ, Lee HK, Lee CU, Chae JH, Lee CT, Kim DJ.
      Chuncheon National Hospital, Department of Psychiatry,
      The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
      http://www.cuk.ac.kr/eng/ sysop@catholic.ac.kr
      Songsin Campus: 02-740-9714 Songsim Campus: 02-2164-4116
      Songeui Campus: 02-2164-4114
      http://www.cuk.ac.kr/eng/sub055.htm eight hospitals

      [ Han-Kyu Lee ]

      A hangover is characterized by the unpleasant physical and mental
      symptoms that occur between 8 and 16 hours after drinking alcohol.

      After inducing experimental hangover in normal individuals,
      we measured the methanol concentration prior to
      and after alcohol consumption
      and we assessed the association between the hangover condition
      and the blood methanol level.

      A total of 18 normal adult males participated in this study.

      They did not have any previous histories of psychiatric
      or medical disorders.

      The blood ethanol concentration prior to the alcohol intake
      (2.26+/-2.08) was not significantly different from that
      13 hours after the alcohol consumption (3.12+/-2.38).
      [ ppm = mg/liter — note the huge range ]

      However, the difference of methanol concentration
      between the day of experiment (prior to the alcohol intake)
      and the next day (13 hours after the alcohol intake)
      was significant (2.62+/-1.33/l vs. 3.88+/-2.10/l, respectively).

      A significant positive correlation was observed
      between the changes of blood methanol concentration
      and hangover subjective scale score increment when covarying
      for the changes of blood ethanol level (r=0.498, p<0.05).

      This result suggests the possible correlation of methanol
      as well as its toxic metabolite to hangover. PMID: 16318957

      [ The "toxic metabolite" of methanol is formaldehyde. ]

      This study by Jones AW (1987) found next-morning hangover
      from red wine with 100 to 150 mg methanol
      (9.5 % w/v ethanol, 100 mg/l methanol, 0.01 %).
      Fully 11% of aspartame is methanol —
      1,120 mg aspartame in 2 L diet soda,
      almost six 12-oz cans, gives 123 mg methanol (wood alcohol).

      Pharmacol Toxicol. 1987 Mar; 60(3): 217-20.
      Elimination half-life of methanol during hangover.
      Jones AW. wayne.jones@RMV.se;
      Department of Forensic Toxicology,
      University Hospital, SE-581 85 Linkoping, Sweden.

      This paper reports the elimination half-life of methanol in human
      volunteers.
      Experiments were made during the morning after the subjects had
      consumed 1000-1500 ml red wine
      (9.5 % w/v ethanol, 100 mg/l methanol)
      the previous evening. [ 100 to 150 mg methanol ]
      The washout of methanol from the body
      coincided with the onset of hangover.
      The concentrations of ethanol and methanol in blood were
      determined indirectly by analysis of end-expired alveolar air.
      In the morning when blood-ethanol dropped
      below the Km of liver alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH)
      of about 100 mg/l (2.2 mM),
      the disappearance half-life of ethanol was 21, 22, 18 and 15 min.
      in 4 test subjects respectively.
      The corresponding elimination half-lives of methanol
      were 213, 110, 133 and 142 min. in these same individuals.
      The experimental design outlined in this paper can be used
      to obtain useful data on elimination kinetics of methanol
      in human volunteers without undue ethical limitations.
      Circumstantial evidence is presented to link methanol
      or its toxic metabolic products, formaldehyde and formic acid,
      with the pathogenesis of hangover. PMID: 3588516

      It's better to attend to the free referenced information at WhileScienceSleeps.com .

  11. I’m pleased to review all these comments, and find that none of mine have been deleted, and that overall the discussion has been civil, reasonable, and specific evidence based.

    So, here’s new evidence —

    [ reference in EFSA draft aspartame report 2013.01.08 ]
    line 6137
    Lu K, Gul H, Upton PB, Moeller BC and Swenberg JA, 2012.
    Formation of hydroxymethyl DNA adducts in rats orally exposed to stable isotope labeled methanol.
    Toxicological Sciences, 126, 28-38.”

    http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/12/08/toxsci.kfr328.full.pdf+html
    free full text

    #3, methanol leaves retained formaldehyde, with similar symptoms as
    multiple sclerosis for eye and brain, comment re EFSA aspartame
    review: Rich Murray 2013.01.17
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2013/01/3-methanol-leaves-retained-formaldehyde.html

    [ 3771 characters ] line 4054
    “4054 When 14C-methanol or [14C-methyl]-aspartame were given orally to
    rats or monkeys in equimolar doses…(Oppermann, 1984)…In rats,
    about 40% and in monkeys about 30% of the dose was not accounted for.”

    Many reports cite similar eye harm from methanol as associated with MS:

    http://multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.com/

    The aim of this Blog is for the Barts and The London Neuroimmunology
    Group to update you on the latest research in MS with an emphasis on
    the research we are involved in.

    Research: Eye Problems in MS
    Posted: 08 May 2012 11:08 PM PDT
    Epub: Gelfand et al. Microcystic macular oedema in multiple sclerosis
    is associated with disease severity. Brain. 2012 Apr 25.

    “Macular oedema has been reported in MSers on fingolimod (Gilenya);
    this study shows that this can occur spontaneously in a small number of MSers.
    This was worse in MSers with more advanced disease and occurred more
    in people that have had optic nerve disease in the past.
    Visual disturbances can occur result from macular swelling in addition
    to that which may also relate to influences on the nerve fibre layer
    (ganglion cells), which are damaged as nerves in the optic nerve are
    damaged…The observation that inflammation occurs in the retinae of
    MSers, where there is no myelin questions the dogma that the
    autoimmune target in MS is myelin…”
    Posted by Prof. Gavin Giovannoni at 07:00

    Prof. Woodrow C. Monte,
    page 17, Chapter 3, “While Science Sleeps” textbook 2012 January
    (Kindle Locations 806-812)

    “The ADH enzyme is found dissolved in the cell’s fluid, or cytosol. 531
    This makes ADH a free agent that can float around the cell
    unencumbered, releasing formaldehyde from methanol wherever it happens
    to be within the cell at the time.
    Nothing can then restrain the reactive formaldehyde;
    it is free to leave the cell or travel to the nucleus or other
    sensitive areas within the cell, where serious damage (such as
    methylation [ of DNA and RNA]) can be done.
    Whether within the cell or outside it, the necessary enzyme that would
    [ safely] convert formaldehyde to the next metabolite, formic acid,
    is, at the very least, a considerable distance away…

    Vision is the one major responsibility of ADH that is well understood,
    and the retina is one of the sites where ADH is located.
    In fact, ADH is the enzyme that makes vision possible 663 by
    metabolizing the alcohol form of Vitamin A, which begins the process
    that initiates the eye’s signal to the brain.
    This connection of ADH to vision can account for the phenomenon of
    blindness, both temporary and permanent, and other strange visual
    signs and symptoms associated with both methanol toxicity and multiple
    sclerosis.”

    http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/pdf/663.pdf
    663. free full text pdf 10 pages [ total 745 free references available ]
    Eur. J. Biochem. 267, 4315-4324 (2000) c FEBS 2000
    Families of retinoid dehydrogenases regulating vitamin A function
    Production of visual pigment and retinoic acid
    Gregg Duester

    WSS text, pages 35, Chapter 4.2 (Kindle Locations 1300-1306):

    “Formaldehyde is slowly being produced within the lining of the
    circulatory system of the brain and diffusing outward into the tissue,
    and attaching itself to the MBP.
    The macrophages are then called in to remove all the
    formaldehyde-damaged MBP that is in its wake. [ Myelin Basic Protein ]

    It is the intermittent production of formaldehyde in the lining of the
    circulatory system of the brain, beyond the blood brain barrier, that
    turns on when methanol from the diet is high and ethanol [which
    prevents formaldehyde formation] from [fermentation by bacteria in]
    the colon is low, that [then] is more likely to lead to the slow
    progression of the perivascular plaque, which is the discerning
    feature of multiple sclerosis.”
    [ end of comment 3 ]

    comment 2 on 5.1 methanol Alzheimer’s cause from formaldehyde formed
    by ADH1 enzyme at “perivascular loci” in brain, EFSA aspartame draft:
    Rich Murray 2013.01.15
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2013/01/comment-2-on-5.html

    comment 1 on 5.1 methanol metabolism, EFSA aspartame draft : Rich
    Murray 2013.01.14
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2013/01/comment-1-on-51-methanol-metabolism.html

    The half life of methanol in human blood is about 3 hours. Actually,
    the huge oral dose is enough to saturate the rats’ catalase defense
    system, resulting in their ADH1 enzyme making methanol into toxic
    formaldehyde inside cells in many tissues, whereas in humans only,
    whose defective catalase enzyme fails to safely metabolize
    formaldehyde inside the many protective peroxisomes in every cell, the
    ADH1 enzyme, in high levels in 19 specific tissues, quickly turns
    bloodborne methanol into uncontrolled free floating highly toxic
    formaldehyde inside cells, according to Prof. Woodrow C. Monte, Food
    Science and Nutrition, Arizona State University, retired 2004, in text
    “While Science Sleeps” 2012 January, with 2 free chapters, “Multiple
    Sclerosis” and “Autism and other birth defects”, summary in Medical
    Hypothesis 2010 (not peer reviewed), 3 articles from Fitness Life,
    fall 2007, other articles, audio and video lectures and interviews,
    slideshows, backed by a free online archive of 745 mostly full text
    medical research references:
    http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/
    http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/references/
    http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/pdf/586.pdf
    Monte W.,
    Methanol: A chemical Trojan horse as the root of the inscrutable U.
    Med Hypotheses 2010;74(3):493-6.

    confirms WC Monte paradigm: ingested methanol becomes toxic
    formaldehyde-induced hydroxymethyl DNA adducts in all tissues in rats,
    sensitive C13 test, Kun Lu, James A Swenberg, UNC Chapel Hill
    2011.12.08 Toxicol Sci: Rich Murray 2013.01.11
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2013/01/confirms-wc-monte-paradigm-ingested.html

    you can give EFSA 1 page public comments — EFSA panel says aspartame
    safe, takes public comments until 2013.02.15, 245 page draft report,
    2.9 MB pdf: Rich Murray 2013.01.08
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2013/01/you-can-give-efsa-1-page-public.html

    http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/consultations/call/130108.pdf
    free full text, 245 page EFSA draft report

    http://www3.efsa.europa.eu/cf/consultation.cfm?doc=98
    Submit comments

    • Barbara says:

      People like Rich Murray warn others about aspartame for one reason ~~ to HELP THEM AVOID ILLNESS. People addicted to aspartame don’t want to know the truth.

      Many members of my family also have noticed a reaction to NutraSweet.
      I get severe classic migraines from diet soda – my son, who is a physician,
      can’t see to drive if he drinks diet soda – another young man in the family,
      a lawyer, had double vision. His ophthalmologist thought he had a brain tumor, but all the tests were negative. He stopped drinking diet soda, and
      within 3 months, the double vision was gone. My sister-in-law acted like a
      “raving maniac” when she drank diet soda.

      And, by talking to others in my community for 30 years, I have learned that
      reactions to NutraSweet are quite common and horrible.

      Unfortunately, most physicians are clueless when it comes to connecting the
      many symptoms of NutraSweet poisoning/toxicity with the consumption of what
      is supposedly a safe substance.

      By approving NutraSweet, the FDA caused many problems for many innocent
      people.

      The FDA should be protecting Americans, but sadly, Americans have to protect
      themselves.

  12. rmforallblog says:

    ethanol is an antidote that prevents ADH1 enzyme from making methanol (11% of aspartame — liter diet soda or smoke from cigarette pack give 60 mg) into formaldehyde right inside cells in 19 specific human tissues, including pancreas — major cause of hangovers, probable diabetes 2 co-factor — WC Monte paradigm: Rich Murray 2013.02.08
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2013/02/ethanol-is-antidote-that-prevents-adh1.html

    So, hangovers and other formaldehyde toxicity disorders start only when blood ethanol levels fall to 16 times less molar concentration than blood methanol, “the morning after the night before”, as blood ethanol half life is 1/3 hour, while blood methanol half life is 3 hours, reaching all parts of the body and the fetus every minute with the blood circulation.

    Human ADH1 enzyme is high within the cells of 19 specific tissues: inner walls of blood vessels, retina rods and cones, skin and bone marrow fibroblasts, and the islands of Langerhans in the pancreas.

    Also, the smoke from a pack of cigarettes gives as much methanol, 60 mg, as from a liter aspartame diet soda — so this may be the actual toxin that causes the correlation of cigarettes with Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, diabetes 2, many chronic diseases, many cancers, and birth defects spina bifida, autism, preterm birth.

    ADH1 is “unusually highly concentrated” in the million tiny “islands of Langerhans” in the pancreas, where the beta cells make insulin — cigarette use pairs with diabetes 2 risk, with a doubling of risk for smoking over a pack daily.
    [ page 172, “While Science Sleeps”, 2012 January, Prof. Woodrow C. Monte, Food Science and Nutrition, Arizona State University, retired 2004 http://www.WhileScienceSleeps.com includes free online archive of 745 full text medical research references:

    http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/references/

    http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/pdf/637.pdf 5 pages
    637. Bühler R., Pestalozzi D., Hess M., Von Wartburg JP.
    Immunohistochemical localization of alcohol dehydrogenase in human kidney, endocrine organs and brain.
    Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1983;
    18 Suppl 1:55-9 1983;18(Suppl 1):55-9.

    http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/pdf/648.pdf 12 pages
    648. Willi C., Bodenmann P., Ghali WA., Faris PD., Cornuz J.
    Active smoking and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
    JAMA 2007;298(22):2654-64. carole.willi@hospvd.ch

    http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/pdf/283.pdf 5 pages
    283. Wei M, Gibbons L, Mitchell T, Kampert J, Blair S.
    Alcohol intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes in men.
    Diabetes Care 2000;23(1):16-21. Ming Wei mwei@cooperinst.org ]

    All these diseases, including diabetes 2, are twice as harmful for
    those who never drink ethanol, compared to those who have just one standard drink a day, due to the inhibition of formation of formaldehyde.

    Ethanol is also made by fermentation by bacteria in the colon.

    Other methanol sources include wood and peat smoke, fresh tomatoes, unfresh fruits juices vegetables cut up and preserved wet at room temperature in sealed cans jars plastic containers, some dark wines and liquors, smoked fermented spoiled foods, jams jellies marmalades.

    diet soda (mostly aspartame, 11% methanol — becomes formaldehyde inside cells, WC Monte paradigm) pairs with increased diabetes 2 in 66,118 women 1993-2007, Francoise Clavel-Chapelon, Guy Fagherazzi AJCN: Rich Murray 2013.02.08

    http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/study-diet-soda-increases-risk-diabetes-why-still-192600358.html

    Study: Diet Soda Increases the Risk of Diabetes. Why Do We Still Drink This Stuff?
    By Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Healthy Living – 8 hours ago

    Why do we keep drinking diet soda? (Photo: Getty Images)

    Yet another study confirms what people have been saying for ages:
    Stop drinking diet soda.
    Like, right now.
    Drinking just one 12-ounce can of an artificially sweetened fizzy
    drink per week can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 33
    percent, French researchers found.
    And given that most people don’t stop at a single weekly serving, your real risk for diabetes could actually be much higher.

    Diet Soda May Increase Risk of Depression

    The study, which was announced Thursday and will be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research and covered 66,118 middle-aged women whose dietary habits and health were tracked from 1993 to 2007.

    Diet Soda May Be Making You Fat

    The results were unexpected.
    Though it’s well-known that people who consume a lot of sugar are more likely to develop diabetes, the researchers found that participants who drank “light” or “diet” soft drinks had a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those who drank regular, sugar-filled sodas.
    Those who drank 100 percent natural squeezed fruit juices instead had no additional risk.
    Women who choose artificially flavored soft drinks usually drink twice as many of them as women who choose regular soda or juice — 2.8 glasses per week compared to 1.6 glasses.
    “Yet when an equal quantity is consumed, the risk of contracting diabetes is higher for ‘light’ or ‘diet’ drinks than for ‘non-light’ or ‘non-diet’ drinks,” the researchers, epidemiologists Francoise Clavel-Chapelon and Guy Fagherazzi, said in a statement.

    Women who drank up to 500 milliliters (about 17 ounces) of
    artificially sweetened beverages per week were 33 percent more likely to develop the disease, [ about 2.4 ounces daily ] and women who drank about 600 milliliters (about 20 ounces) per week had a 66 percent increase in risk. [ about 2.7 ounces daily, a quarter of a 12-oz can — aspartame [ E951 ] also is in packets, many foods and medicines, and most chewing gums. ]

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23364017

    Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jan 30. [Epub ahead of print]

    Consumption of artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages and incident type 2 diabetes in the Etude Epidemiologique aupres des femmes de la Mutuelle Generale de l’Education Nationale — European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort.
    Fagherazzi G,
    Vilier A,
    Saes Sartorelli D,
    Lajous M,
    Balkau B,
    Clavel-Chapelon F.
    Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U1018,
    Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health,
    Villejuif, France.

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND:
    It has been extensively shown, mainly in US populations, that
    sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), but less is known about the effects of artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs).

    OBJECTIVE:
    We evaluated the association between self-reported SSB, ASB, and 100% fruit juice consumption and T2D risk over 14 y of follow-up in the French prospective Etude Epidémiologique auprès des femmes de la Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale — European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort.

    DESIGN:
    A total of 66,118 women were followed from 1993, and 1369 incident cases of T2D were diagnosed during the follow-up.
    Cox regression models were used to estimate HRs and 95% CIs for T2D risk.

    RESULTS:
    The average consumption of sweetened beverages in consumers was 328 and 568 mL/wk for SSBs and ASBs, respectively.

    Compared with nonconsumers,
    women in the highest quartiles of SSB and ASB consumers
    were at increased risk of T2D with
    HRs (95% CIs) of 1.34 (1.05, 1.71)
    and 2.21 (1.56, 3.14) for women who consumed
    >359 and >603 mL/wk of SSBs and ASBs, respectively.

    Strong positive trends in T2D risk were also observed
    across quartiles of consumption for both types of beverage
    (P = 0.0088 and P < 0.0001, respectively).

    In sensitivity analyses, associations were partly mediated by BMI, although there was still a strong significant independent effect. [ Body Mass Index ]

    No association was observed for 100% fruit juice consumption.

    CONCLUSIONS:
    Both SSB consumption and ASB consumption were associated with increased T2D risk.

    We cannot rule out that factors other than ASB consumption that we did not control for are responsible for the association with diabetes, and randomized trials are required to prove a causal link between ASB consumption and T2D.
    PMID: 23364017

    Rich Murray,
    MA Boston University Graduate School 1967 psychology,
    BS MIT 1964 history and physics,
    254-A Donax Avenue, Imperial Beach, CA 91932-1918
    rmforall@gmail.com
    505-819-7388 cell
    619-623-3468 home
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com

  13. Rens Metaal says:

    I heard Aspartame is also closely linked to drought in Sub Sahara Africa, an increase in religiosity, the decline of Coral reefs, more cases of athlete’s foot and that is just the beginning. It also affects the brain in a way that consumers can be easy programmed for war by their governments and it causes people to become easily susceptible to crazy unproven theories.

  14. Rich Murray says:

    “But at the levels we are talking about in this study, even fruits and dairy products have been found to be linked with lymphoma.
    For example, in one study dairy and fried meat were associated (OR of 1.5 between lowest and highest) with NHL.
    Another study, looked at tobacco (3.5), barbecued meat (1.7), salted meat (2.4) and beer (5.5). The high end risk factor of those in some cases goes well into the 20s.”

    All this data suggests that lymphoma correlates with the many carcinogens and cell growth hormones in dairy and cooked meat, milk products, burned meats, as well as methanol in tobacco smoke, methanol from wood and charcoal smoke, and methanol impurity in beer.

    Methanol is strongly supplied by fruits juices vegetables cut up and preserved wet at room temperature in sealed cans jars plastic containers — released from the pectin molecules.

    All these uncontrolled methanol sources make it hard to establish strong statistical proof for each of them for the many toxic effects of methanol, with a half-life in human blood of 3 hours, easily entering all cells in the the adult and fetus, being made in humans only by the ADH1 enzyme into uncontrolled formaldehyde inside cells of 20 specific human tissues — WC Monte gives 782 free mostly full text mainstream scientific research references at WhileScienceSleeps dot com …

    Let me know if you think this is spam or that I am a troll …

    • Eric Hall says:

      The problem is you continue to cite one person on all of these posts. While this might be a starting point for considering the premise, it seems no other science is able to confirm Monte’s data. I would then discount Monte’s science because it has not been repeated or confirmed.

      • jlpsquared says:

        He didn’t site just one person, he also cited himself!!!!

      • Rich Murray says:

        Scientists always cite quality studies by others — WC Monte cites from hundreds of such studies and provides a huge free archive of 782 mostly full text medical research papers at WhileScienceSleeps dot com — it is really fun to read his paradigm and look at the many references to almost every paragraph — however, even 1 % is 8 studies, which can take an hour or two to understand — but at least you don’t have to camp out at a university medical library or spend $ 35 each to order full text papers online — he also gives his own detailed credentials — try checking him out on PubMed for his dozens of standard toxicology research studies since about 1980…

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