Aspartame: Coming to a Milk Carton Near You (Without a Label)

Rightly or wrongly, aspartame is a highly controversial artificial sweetener.  I’m no scientist and I haven’t researched it throughly enough to come to my own conclusion, but generally I try to eat minimally tampered with foods.  This is where this story begins to present serious issues for me.  The debate here is not whether aspartame will be allowed in milk; it already is.  The issue is whether or not dairy producers will have to let consumers know that it is there.  In a world where tuna isn’t tuna and beef is increasingly horse meat, we should demand more information than ever before as far as the substances we put in our bodies.  As usual, I would expect the FDA to side with the lobbyists and corporate America rather than consumers’ best interests.  From the Huffington Post:

Got diet milk? The dairy industry for the past three years has been hoping to sell you some under the guise of just plain “milk,” so that chocolate and strawberry varieties that contain artificial sweeteners would no longer need to carry a special label.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged a 2009 petition from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation that seeks to drop the FDA requirement to label milk and other dairy products as “artificially sweetened” when they contain sweeteners such as aspartame.

Aspartame is used in a range of products, including diet soda and yogurt, and is sold to consumers under the brand-name Equal (which also includes some other ingredients). Some researchers have found that artificial sweeteners alter people’s brain chemistry, making them crave higher-calorie foods, which in turn makes them more prone to obesity and diabetes.

The dairy lobby argues the opposite, claiming that allowing aspartame in milk would make it a healthier product and reduce childhood obesity by offering milk with fewer calories.

Seriously, what is so difficult about letting consumers know what is in their food and drink, particularly when the ingredient under discussion is controversial?  Just ridiculous.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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3 Comments

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  1. Is transparency that valuable if no one demands it enough for the producers to respond? Why hasn’t the market recognized that people want to know what they’re eating?

    I think there are two potential answers. Either no one cares about what they eat, or for some reason the demand is being artificially lowered.

    If no one cares, then I guess we just buy the things that suit us (e.g. labelled milk) and let others decide themselves what they want.

    But maybe the existence of a regulatory body on food (e.g. the FDA) removes consumers’ direct economic pressure on producers and places it on inept and slow-to-adapt government agencies. In this case, consumers are probably communicating their values through legislation and regulation instead of just not buying things they don’t want.

  2. Check out Russell Blaylock’s ‘Excitoxins’ on msg and aspartame. I believe the man knows of what he speaks, and is honest. Or his book ‘Health and Nutrition Secrets’ for a briefer treatment of the topic, with lots of other subjects covered as well.

    A good basic principle: just don’t eat food with chemical additives.

    Totalrockage, good points.

    My experience is that Americans by and large just don’t want to know. I have various family members with health problems that are clearly linked to nutrition, but they don’t want to hear it. It’s as if the American mind has been inoculated against good health info. If it doesn’t come from someone in a white frock (mis-educated in sick-care industry-funded universities, and ignorant of nutrition), then it must be quackery. I specify Americans, because I live in Latin America now, and people here prefer to try home remedies before seeing a doctor, and they are more open minded and interested in learning how to be more healthy. Apparently due to the fact that until recently many didn’t have access to modern medical doctors and so haven’t yet elevated them to the status of priesthood.

    As for the FDA, it is a clear example of a regulatory agency captured by those it is supposed to regulate. Most Americans can’t conceive of this, and so they suppose that ‘they’ would never allow highly toxic things to be put in our food.

    Look into the connection between Donald Rumsfeld, JD Searle, and aspartame! As if his warmongering weren’t enough.

    Mercola.com is a good starting point for alternative health views.

  3. A bit more, continuing with the ‘don’t eat chemical additives’ thought.

    Given the resistance to labeling, and the corruption of gov’t, this means we need to take much more responsibility for our own food and health.

    Emphasizing food that is locally produced by people you know and trust is the next best after producing it yourself.

    Mike, I believe that this will become a huge movement, and a powerful force for positive change in our communities and economy, in keeping with your 2013 mission statement.

    I’m a biologist, but more of the ecological than medical variety. But I’ve been reading up on nutrition and natural medicine for the last few years, and the as-yet unrealized potential for improving our lives is mind-blowing.

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