A new report has listed the common artificial sweetener aspartame which is found in fizzy drinks, baked goods and in many other foods as a sugar substitute, as a ‘possible’ cause of cancer. The findings have been released by the World Health Organisation. Here Viridian re-affirms its position on avoiding additives and excipients in its food supplements.
In the advent of the industrial revolution and the necessity to feed a growing population, Western food processing has become big business. The increase in Western food availability has led to an increased caloric intake. Plus, a combination of increasingly sedentary lifestyles and not only increased, but easy to obtain food availability has led to an upturn in body size across the population.
The rise of artificial sweeteners in the Western diet
Food businesses have driven food technology development to improve taste, mouth feel and sweeten processed foods while maintaining the caloric content. This age has seen the introduction of compounds such as sweeteners, artificial flavours and preservatives increase into widespread use throughout food production. It is increasingly common to see sugar substitutes used throughout drinks, desserts and ready meals.
Multiple sweeteners have approved use in the UK, these include acesulfame K (E950), aspartame (E951), sorbitol (E420) and sucralose (E955) to name a few. As part of the evaluation process, the government sets an acceptable daily intake which is the maximum amount considered safe to consume. However, it would be easy to exceed these limits when drinking multiple diet sodas each day.
The World Health Organisation announces its findings into aspartame
Despite the inferred safety of these compounds, aspartame has won the attention of the World Health Organisation (WHO) due to several observational research findings that reported an increased risk for certain cancers. Subsequently, the WHO have published a hazard and risk assessment that concluded a possibility for carcinogenicity in humans. This stance has caused an uproar in the food industry, especially as it is an ingredient in Coca-Cola and Mars’ Extra chewing gum. In fact, many supermarket items are riddled with aspartame.
Those that know Viridian well, will know that we do not use any form of artificial additive or excipient in the manufacture of our food supplements. In fact, from the start of Viridian in 1999, we’ve used exclusively 100% active ingredients in every food supplement. All artificial additives, excipients and sweeteners are strictly avoided. These compounds are void of nutrition and now with the WHO questioning the safety of these compounds, it further adds to the importance of choosing foods that avoid these non-nutritive substances.
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Author: The Nutrition Support Team at Viridian Nutrition