If you believe everything you read on the Internet, then is seems that a chemical found in thousands of products is causing an epidemic of severe neurological and systemic diseases, like multiple sclerosis and lupus. The FDA, the companies that make the product, and the “medical industrial complex” all know about the dangers of this chemical, but are hiding the truth from the public in order to protect corporate profits and avoid the pesky paper work that would accompany the truth being revealed.
The only glimmer of hope is a dedicated band of bloggers and anonymous email chain letter authors who aren’t afraid to speak the truth. Armed with the latest anecdotal evidence, unverified speculation, and scientifically implausible claims, they have been tirelessly ranting about the evils of this chemical for years. Undeterred by the countless published studies manufactured by the food cartel that show this chemical is safe, they continue to protect the public by spreading baseless fear and hysteria.
Hopefully, you don’t believe everything you read on the Internet, and you don’t get your science news from email SPAM, where the above scenario is a common theme. While there are many manifestations of this type of urban legend, I am speaking specifically about aspartame — an artificial sweetener used since the early 1980s. The notion that aspartame is unsafe has been circulating almost since it first appeared, and like rumors and misinformation have a tendency to do, fears surrounding aspartame have taken on a life of their own. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*
Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., Distinguished Professor of Nutrition (Department of Nutritional Sciences, Penn State University) about what she learned at the American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Chicago.
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Penny’s take home messages:
1. Corn is not evil. The vegetable itself can be quite nutritious, though high fructose corn syrup is an empty calorie food additive.
2. There is no magic food that will melt your fat away.
3. There is no magic pill that will help you lose weight. You must decrease your calorie intake and increase your exercise.
4. Increasing protein a little bit can increase satiety.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids and iron can improve brain health.
6. Regular fatty fish consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease (2 servings/week).
7. Food first – try to get all your nutrients from the foods you consume. Consider vitamins and supplements only after you’ve been unable to get your dietary needs met from food.
8. Fish oil supplements are safe and pure. There are differences in the amount of omega-3 fatty acids that the supplements deliver, so read the label carefully.
9. A healthy diet is about eating a broad range of nutritious food (don’t scrimp on your veggies), it’s not about supplementing a poor diet with some supplements.
10. Accurate nutrition information is really important. Two trusted sources are: MyPyramid.gov and the American Heart Association
**Listen to the podcast**