Monday, June 21

A Different 'Motivation Monday' - Aspartame

For several weeks, I have taken time off from my weekly exercise posts known as Motivation Mondays. After twelve weeks, there is a good variety of workouts to choose from and, without a lot of time invested in photos or videos, I feel limited on what I can include moving forward.

So, I now offer a different focus for inspired living. This series will highlight food and nutrition issues you may not be aware of but that could be affecting your health. I will not aim to give a comprehensive account of each but rather present facts to get you thinking about ways to achieve greater health through what you eat. 

Week One - Aspartame

What it is: an artificial sweetener commonly known as NutraSweet or Equal
Where you can find it: Lots of places inculding the obvious -- 'diet' soft drinks and reduced-calorie/reduced-sugar foods -- and the not-so-obvious such as pharmaceuticals, vitamins and toothpaste
How it came into use: Read the troubled timeline of its FDA approval here or the wiki here and here. Remember, it is customary for products to be approved based only on manufacturer-submitted research. 
Why you may want to avoid it:
  • As referenced in the first link above, the National Soft Drink Association lobbied in 1985 against aspartame's approval for beverages because it converts to formaldehyde at temperatures above 85˚F. Trusting that the chemical was kept cool at every step of the production chain is a leap of faith I just can't make. 
  • Further, it is noteworthy that as aspartame (and other artificial sweetener) use has sky-rocketed, so have the ranks of overweight and obese populations. Certainly, this is not to be blamed on these chemicals but it sure hasn't helped either. If there is no benefit to the risk of consuming aspartame, then why accept that risk? 
Honestly, the gross negligence and corporate greed evident in the approval process and the artificial-ness of the product is enough for me. But I don't drink soda and am very willing to be active enough to afford to indulge my sweet tooth on occasion. That that may not be enough for you is certainly understandable. As always, dear reader, my aim is to be, and help you be, an informed eater. 

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