Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More Scientific Scare Tactics

Today's New York Times contained this editorial, on the safety of aspartame, a follow up to last weeks news of an Italian study that purports to connect the artificial sweetener to cancer. The editorial tell us,

There is no reason for panic, but surely good reason for regulatory authorities to look again at this much-studied sweetener.

Uhhhhh huh. So after hundreds (thousands?) of studies that have shown aspartame is perfectly safe, we're supposed to spend more taxpayer money to conduct yet another study? That's just nonsensical, especially considering that this study involved giving rats the equivalent of 4-5 20 ounce bottles of diet soda per day to an 150 pound person. By the way, that's about 3 quarts of diet soda per day. If your drinking that much diet soda only containing aspartame on a daily basis, I would suggest a little more variety in your life.

But the point really is to just think about this logically. If hundreds of scientific studies told you that small amounts of a substance caused cancer, you probably wouldn't start using that substance if one new study suggested that those small amounts might not be harmful. It's just as illogical to do the reverse, and eliminate aspartame from your diet as the Times suggests you may wish to do. Actually, what the Times tells us is quite telling- they mention sucralose, as a sugar substitute food activists deem safer. Just who are food activists? From my best guess, probably people who are scared very easily, and don't like food all that much.


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