Coming as I do from a big sugar-producing area (Far North Queensland), I always read carefully the little sachets that one gets with one’s coffee in coffee lounges. I make sure that I am putting real sugar in my coffee and not some substitute junk. So I should be in sympathy with the campaign against aspartame, right? Wrong! As far as I can see, the campaign is founded on little more than the usual self-glorifying belief that if something is popular it must be bad.

There is a list here of 13 recent anti-aspartame studies and, unless I have missed something, there is not one study of the type that would be decisive: A double-blind study in humans. There are plenty of in vitro (“test tube”) and in vivo (rats and mice) studies but that’s about it.

And even some of the studies listed there admit that some of the potentially bad byproducts of aspartame metabolism can be broken down rapidly by other food components or metabolites. So showing that rats on a rat diet cannot handle aspartame well tells us nothing about humans. What is needed are studies of humans on a human diet as it seems probable that the human metabolism CAN safely break down aspartame. One has to look at the bottom line, not intermediate processes in isolation.

Since a double blind study in humans should not pose any great difficulty, I think it is the absence of such a study which is most telling.

The attention-seeking studies have however had an effect. There are now various bans on aspartame, particularly in Europe and the UK. Seeing how crazy such places also are about “obesity”, it is strange indeed that something which could help combat obesity is restricted on such flimsy grounds. It reinforces the impression that the attack on obesity is insincere too. It adds to the evidence that the anti-obesity campaign is really an expression of middle-class contempt for the working class, who are indeed fatter on the whole: Good old class-prejudice again. The more things change ….

The amusing thing is that all the food and health rhetoric goes right over the heads of most working class people. They very wisely just don’t listen. They just eat what they like and damn the consequences. I do too. But my father was, after all, a lumberjack. Heh!

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

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