Tests on rats conducted by the European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences in Italy have found aspartame, a common sugar substitute, to be carcinogenic.
The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer reports that other studies strongly suggest aspartame poses a cancer risk for humans. Commonly marketed as NutraSweet, aspartame is used in more than 5,000 products, especially diet soft drinks.
A significant increase in lymphomas and leukemia was seen in rats dosed with 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. That's lower than the dose for people allowed by law.
The Dutch food and nutrition magazine Ortho (number 4, 2005) reports on another remarkable result of the study: The rats ate less the more aspartame they were fed but weighed no less than the rats that didn't receive the sweetener. The scientists conclude that more research is urgently needed to determine whether legislation on aspartame should be revised to protect public health, particularly for children.
Not yet convinced? Take a look at The Ecologist (September 2005), which put the Aspartame story on the cover. That article quotes Dr. H.J. Roberts, director of the Palm Beach Institute for Medical Research in Florida and author of a book called Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic (Sunshine Sentinel Press, 2001):
"Hundreds of thousands of consumers, more likely millions, currently suffer major reactions to products containing aspartame. Today, every physician probably encounters aspartame disease in everyday practice, especially among patients with illnesses that are undiagnosed or difficult to treat."
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