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Beverage Industry Responds To Journal Article On Sweeteners; Body Of Science Does Not Support Latest Inconclusive Findings

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/-- In response to "Consumption of Artificial Sweetener and Sugar Containing Soda and the Risk of Lymphoma and Leukemia in Men and Women," a study published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the American Beverage Association issued the following statement:

Statement:

"The authors said it best:  their study has 'limited application' and their findings may be 'due entirely to chance.' We agree.

The fact is:  Aspartame, which is an ingredient found in many beverages as well as thousands of foods, has been deemed safe for decades by the world's leading toxicologists, as well as the National Cancer Institute and other regulatory agencies and public health experts around the world.  Let's stick to the facts."

Additional Background Information:

On Aspartame:

  • The bottom line is that consumers should have complete confidence in aspartame based on the findings of the vast body of available studies, conducted by some of the world's leading toxicologists.
  • Aspartame is one of the most thoroughly tested ingredients of all time with more than 200 scientific studies confirming its safety. 
  • It has been repeatedly reviewed and approved by regulatory agencies around the globe, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the British Food Standards Agency, the European Union Scientific Committee on Food, and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives.
  • Quite simply, aspartame is a safe ingredient for human consumption that provides an effective way to reduce caloric intake without sacrificing taste and helps consumers maintain a healthy weight, a position supported by the American Dietetic Association. The only exception is that people born with phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine and therefore should avoid aspartame from any source.
  • There is no credible evidence linking aspartame consumption in beverages to cancers of any kind.
  • In 2006, the National Cancer Institute published a long-term study of almost 500,000 people that showed no link between aspartame consumption in beverages and cancer.  
  • In 2007, an expert panel of some of the world's leading toxicologists looked at more than 500 studies, articles and reports on aspartame's health effects spanning the last 25 years.  The renowned experts found "no credible evidence" that aspartame is carcinogenic, neurotoxic or has any adverse health effect, even when consumed in amounts greater than the established average daily intake (ADI). 

On Study:

  • The authors note that there are limitations to their paper, including self-reporting and imperfect assessment of aspartame intake.
  • Importantly, the authors also reference previous work by the European Ramazzini Foundation, whose findings are controversial and not based in sound science.  In fact, the laboratory practices, animal health conditions, methods and conclusions of previous studies from this same group of researchers have been questioned by respected scientific and regulatory organizations, including the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency, the European Food Safety Authority and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Furthermore, they have consistently failed to provide all of their data on their previous studies to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or other independent bodies for review. 
  • It is important to note that the author's own conclusions that, because of the differences observed in the study outcomes, the findings might be due entirely to chance and not real associations.

On Leukemia:

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, "scientists don't understand the exact causes of leukemia." In fact, the Mayo Clinic website notes that it "seems to develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors."
  • Nowhere is consumption of sweeteners listed as a risk factor.

On Lymphoma:

  • The National Cancer Institute does not list consumption of sweeteners among the risk factors. 
  • However, according to the Mayo Clinic, a factor that may increase risk is older age.  Importantly, the study participants were tracked over 22 years.

On Sugar:

  • The body of available science has not shown that sugar intake causes adverse health effects in humans. 
  • Glucose, a simple sugar and part of the ingredient sugar (sucrose), is the essential fuel source for every cell in the human body.  Without an adequate supply of glucose, whether taken directly from the diet or produced by one's body, life is not possible.

The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.  For more information on ABA, please visit the association's Web site at www.ameribev.org or call the ABA communications team at (202) 463-6770.

SOURCE American Beverage Association

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