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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ACSN Press Release Re: Framingham Study of Diet Drinks & Heart Attack



U.S. Consumer Group Calls for FDA Reevaluation of Aspartame Based on Latest Scientific Studies Showing Evidence of Potentially Serious Reactions 

Dallas -- The safety of the artificial sweetener aspartame is questioned again following the release of a report connecting diet drinks to heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. 

Aspartame Consumer Safety Network founder, Mary Nash Stoddard said, “The new Framingham study follows on the heels of an eight year study on experimental rats.” Author of Italy’s Ramazzini Cancer Research Institute’s study, Dr. Morando Soffritti found aspartame causes lymphoma, leukemia and breast cancer.

Authors of a major study published July 23rd in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, found that one or more sodas per day increases risk of new-onset metabolic syndrome (a cluster of factors that boosts the chance of having a heart attack or stroke and developing diabetes) by about 45 per cent. "It did not seem to matter if the soda was regular or diet," Dr. Ramachandran Vasan, senior investigator for the Framingham Heart Study, said Monday from Boston. 

“In the 1970s, Food and Drug Administration toxicologist, Dr. Jerome Bressler discovered unreported heart and other life threatening problems in the laboratory animals, showing how the original drug company tests could have been manipulated to gain approval for the sweetener,” said Stoddard.

American Heart Association scientists said in the study, 6,039 middle-aged participants without “metabolic syndrome”,an umbrella term for excess waist circumference(obesity),hypertension and glucose intolerance(pre-diabetes)who daily drank one soft drink of any kind,in a 4-year follow-up,had a 50% higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome than those who didn't drink 1 soda (12-ounces) a day. 

The link to diet soda found in the study was “striking” says Dr. Vasan, because it shows artificially sweetened diet sodas could be harmful. “That association was evident even when the researchers accounted for other factors,such as levels of saturated fat, calorie intake, smoking and physical activity.”

While authors of the study are still somewhat mystified about why there seemed to be no difference between the adverse effects of drinking regular or diet sodas sweetened with the artificial sweetener, aspartame, Stoddard proposes: “part of the answer lies in the Cephalic [Pavlovian] response that may be elicited by both high fructose corn sweeteners and artificial sweeteners.” 

In the study, it is stated, “The high sweetness of diet or regular soft drinks may lead to conditioning for a greater preference for intake of sweetened items.” This speculation is based on a study by T.L. Davidson, S.E. Swithers titled A Pavlovian approach to the problem of obesity, in the Internal Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders, published in 2004.

By way of further explanation, author Dennis Remington, M.D. said in the book, The Bitter Truth About Artificial Sweeteners, “Another problem arises from using highly sweetened products of any type, whether used by themselves with few calories, as in a diet drink, or whether used to sweeten real food. Frequent ingestion of highly sweetened products forces the senses to become used to the extremely sweet taste. The sweetness causes a number of changes to occur, including release of insulin and release of endorphins and contributes to the sense of satiety caused by eating.” A scientific study done by Dr. T.L. Powley titled The ventromedial hypothalamic syndrome, satiety, and a cephalic phase hypothesis, published in Psychology Review in 1977 explains this response in more detail. Dr. Remington also cites the study by J.E. Blundell and A.J. Hill in Lancet, May 10, 1986 titled: Paradoxical effects of an intense sweetener [aspartame] on appetite. to show how subjects in a study gained weight while using aspartame.

“Foods that are not as sweet may no longer cause adequate insulin and endorphin release and may no longer be satisfying to the consumer. Also, foods that are not as sweet may no longer taste good. Using highly sweetened foods on a frequent basis will thus rob one of the pleasure normally derived from eating good wholesome food.” Dr. Remington also points out that there seems to be a clear cut relationship between weight gain and the use of artificial sweeteners, which should be further investigated.  
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The report is titled: Soft Drink Consumption and Risk of Developing Cardiometabolic Risk Factors and the Metabolic Syndrome in Middle-Aged Adults in the Community - Ravi Dhingra, Lisa Sullivan, Paul F. Jacques, Thomas J. Wang, Caroline S. Fox, James B. Meigs, Ralph B. DAgostino, J. Michael Gaziano and Ramachandran S. Vasan

Circulation published online July 23, 2007; published by the American Heart Association.
http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.689935v1 
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http://www.aspartamesafety.com
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network


[ACSN, a U.S. consumer group, with international affiliations, has been publishing information for over two decades, that supports the findings in the new study showing risk factors associated with aspartame in diet beverages.]