Aspartame

Is this sugar substance really evil?

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Re: Aspartame

#181  Postby Take4Granted » Apr 08, 2014 7:50 am

Interesting discussion.
That Monte is a deluded, tinfoil-hat-wearing, pseudo-scientist does not implicitly mean that he is wrong.

There IS a lot of anecdotal material. There ARE a lot of tangential studies that can be cited to support an argument either way. There are ALWAYS conspiracy theories when profits are involved.

Being a skeptic (of skeptics), I really wonder how this debate would have unfolded if it started with a headline "Aspartame is SAFE". Just a thought.

If you were diagnosed today with MS, what actions would you take. I can promise you that, proof or not, you will have drank your last diet drink.
So...there have been a couple of fruitless attempts to get this discussion on-topic, let me throw another one out there.

Ignoring his writing and referencing skills, W.Monte's primary assertion is that dietary methanol leads to formaldehyde in places that you really, really don't want it to be. Can or has this been proven/disproven and if not, what would it take to get there. It seems his entire argument hinges on this, the rest is mostly noise.

Personally, I am bit on the side of 'where there is smoke there is fire'...especially since there is no side-effect to not having aspartame in my diet. Also, every comment about safe/toxic levels seems completely irrelevant. If, as he his saying, it is a cumulative effect, the safe level would also be cumulative and be more akin to radiation exposure.
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Re: Aspartame

#182  Postby lucek » Apr 08, 2014 8:23 am

Formaldehyde (Metalalcohol) is pretty well under stood and many foods break down into it not to mention contain small amounts of it. Wine, and beer for example and is a breakdown product of countless organic compounds.

That said given our bodies turn formaldehyde into formic acid, then water and CO2 bioaccumulation etc is highly unlikely.
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Re: Aspartame

#183  Postby Sendraks » Apr 08, 2014 9:45 am

Take4Granted wrote:There IS a lot of anecdotal material.

Anecdote is not evidence.
And the plural of anecdote is not data.

Take4Granted wrote:There ARE a lot of tangential studies that can be cited to support an argument either way.

Yes there are no evidence based studies that show aspartame to be harmful.

Take4Granted wrote:Being a skeptic (of skeptics), I really wonder how this debate would have unfolded if it started with a headline "Aspartame is SAFE". Just a thought.

It wouldn't be much of a discussion, except for the woo heads who think there is some sort of massive conspiracy at work.
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Re: Aspartame

#184  Postby DavidMcC » Apr 08, 2014 1:42 pm

Sendraks wrote:
Take4Granted wrote:There IS a lot of anecdotal material.

Anecdote is not evidence.
And the plural of anecdote is not data.
...

That is only the case when there is some co-ordination between the sources of anecdote. There is no difference between multiple, INDEPENDENT "anecdotes" and data, IMO. Having said that, in this case, there may be such co-ordination, whether deliberate or not. I personally, try to avoid aspartame, on the grounds of "better safe than sorry".
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Re: Aspartame

#185  Postby Sendraks » Apr 08, 2014 2:05 pm

DavidMcC wrote: There is no difference between multiple, INDEPENDENT "anecdotes" and data, IMO.

That's nice, but the independence of anecdotes counts for squat.

Multiple, independent anecdotes, which are verifiable and replicable can = data.
After 30years, no one has yet replicated any of the scare scenarios related to aspartame.

DavidMcC wrote: I personally, try to avoid aspartame, on the grounds of "better safe than sorry".

Given the number of scares about so many different foodstuffs, not to mention technologies, I'm guessing you're writing this post from a cave somewhere?
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Re: Aspartame

#186  Postby lucek » Apr 08, 2014 3:58 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Sendraks wrote:
Take4Granted wrote:There IS a lot of anecdotal material.

Anecdote is not evidence.
And the plural of anecdote is not data.
...

That is only the case when there is some co-ordination between the sources of anecdote. There is no difference between multiple, INDEPENDENT "anecdotes" and data, IMO. Having said that, in this case, there may be such co-ordination, whether deliberate or not. I personally, try to avoid aspartame, on the grounds of "better safe than sorry".

Actually uncountable anecdotes aren't data. The nature of anecdotes is that there is no way to check their veracity even if they are coordinated. The bystander effect comes to mind. Many anecdotes surface to support that in a coordinated way and for decades now but many of the large scale ones fall flat on the effects face. It boils down to biases.

Now with aspartame sure you can avoid it. Unfortunately a lot of people have to like my sister. There are plenty of other options. The danger is in the use of such an argument. When we allow scare tactics and talk about the persistants of them we open the doors to all the cranks. Creationist have been pointing out coordinated anecdotes for over a century now and blaming it on evolution. Should we pay their baseless assertions the slightest mind because they won't shut up? Hell some even argue that there is no harm in not teaching evolution because we'd still have computers and hybrid cars.

You know I started writing that as a false anthology but it picked up it's own momentum.
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Re: Aspartame

#187  Postby DavidMcC » Apr 09, 2014 10:58 am

Sendraks wrote:
DavidMcC wrote: There is no difference between multiple, INDEPENDENT "anecdotes" and data, IMO.

That's nice, but the independence of anecdotes counts for squat.

:scratch:
Multiple, independent anecdotes, which are verifiable and replicable can = data.

That's exactly what I am saying. Replication of anecdotes requires nothing more than multiple, independent sources. Yiou are wrong to calim that each one has itself to be replicated - that woulkd be "overkill", IMO.
After 30years, no one has yet replicated any of the scare scenarios related to aspartame.

I prefer not to take needless chances with food "science", which is notoriously unreliable.
DavidMcC wrote: I personally, try to avoid aspartame, on the grounds of "better safe than sorry".

Given the number of scares about so many different foodstuffs, not to mention technologies, I'm guessing you're writing this post from a cave somewhere?

No, but I try not to make myself a guinnea pig for agribusiness, if it can be helped.
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Re: Aspartame

#188  Postby Sendraks » Apr 09, 2014 11:07 am

DavidMcC wrote:That's exactly what I am saying. Replication of anecdotes requires nothing more than multiple, independent sources. Yiou are wrong to calim that each one has itself to be replicated - that woulkd be "overkill", IMO.


That's not what I am saying.
I am saying that in order for an anecdote to be considered evidence, then the occurrences in that anecdote need to be verifiable and replicable. If you cannot replicate through science what an anecdote claims to have occurred i.e. "aspartame caused my aunt's best friend to give birth to a goat child" then the anecdote is discarded for what it is.

Just because a lot of anecdote's say the same thing, does not mean they are verifiable or replicable. Only that the anecdote is being repeated.

DavidMcC wrote:I prefer not to take needless chances with food "science", which is notoriously unreliable.

Who said anything about "food sciences." We're talking medical research here.

DavidMcC wrote:No, but I try not to make myself a guinnea pig for agribusiness, if it can be helped.

For a product that has been in widespread use for 30 years, with no evidence to support any of the claims that it is harmful, you're quite a long way from being a guinea pig.
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Re: Aspartame

#189  Postby DavidMcC » Apr 09, 2014 11:37 am

Sendraks wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:That's exactly what I am saying. Replication of anecdotes requires nothing more than multiple, independent sources. Yiou are wrong to calim that each one has itself to be replicated - that woulkd be "overkill", IMO.


That's not what I am saying.
I am saying that in order for an anecdote to be considered evidence, then the occurrences in that anecdote need to be verifiable and replicable. If you cannot replicate through science what an anecdote claims to have occurred i.e. "aspartame caused my aunt's best friend to give birth to a goat child" then the anecdote is discarded for what it is.

Just because a lot of anecdote's say the same thing, does not mean they are verifiable or replicable. Only that the anecdote is being repeated.

That doesn't make as much sense as you seem to think, because, without co-ordination between sources, there would not be any way by which replication couild be by anything other than pure chance.
DavidMcC wrote:I prefer not to take needless chances with food "science", which is notoriously unreliable.

Who said anything about "food sciences." We're talking medical research here.

DavidMcC wrote:No, but I try not to make myself a guinnea pig for agribusiness, if it can be helped.

For a product that has been in widespread use for 30 years, with no evidence to support any of the claims that it is harmful, you're quite a long way from being a guinea pig.

I agree there is little risk, but, as food hazards can be dependent on the individual's genetic make-up, I still don't like to over-indulge unnecessarily. It's almost as if you are trying to sell the stuff!
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Re: Aspartame

#190  Postby Sendraks » Apr 09, 2014 12:20 pm

DavidMcC wrote:That doesn't make as much sense as you seem to think, because, without co-ordination between sources, there would not be any way by which replication couild be by anything other than pure chance.


A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has got its shoes on.
Such is the way with anecdotes.

DavidMcC wrote:I agree there is little risk, but, as food hazards can be dependent on the individual's genetic make-up, I still don't like to over-indulge unnecessarily. It's almost as if you are trying to sell the stuff!


If you're concerned that you might have a genetic propensity for some sort of aspartame related risk, then how would you test for that? And what else are you concerned about?

My point is that there isn't any evidence for considering aspartame to be harmful. Avoiding it because you don't like the taste? Fair enough. That's why I don't like it much and avoid it.

Avoiding it because you think that a product safely used for 30 years might suddenly pose a risk to you = not rational.
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Re: Aspartame

#191  Postby lucek » Apr 09, 2014 4:54 pm

DavidMcC wrote:That doesn't make as much sense as you seem to think, because, without co-ordination between sources, there would not be any way by which replication couild be by anything other than pure chance.

First the independence of the anecdotes can't be checked. It's very hard for them to be blinded. Note alien abductees. The stories they tell are very similar and quit striking but also an artifact of their society.

Next we have to watch out for cherry picking in the data. When you have millions of data points and you pull out a few hundred that seem similar there is a clear problem.

ETC.

They are so weak because they are so easy to bias.

In the end anecdotes belong at one point and only one point of the scientific method. Before the hypothesis has been drafted.
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Re: Aspartame

#192  Postby DavidMcC » Apr 10, 2014 5:15 pm

lucek wrote:...

In the end anecdotes belong at one point and only one point of the scientific method. Before the hypothesis has been drafted.

You seem to have a more detailed definition of "anecdote" than I do.
In see it as simply an uncorroborated story or data point.
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Re: Aspartame

#193  Postby Sendraks » Apr 10, 2014 5:54 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
lucek wrote:.
I see it as simply an uncorroborated story.


FIFY.
Anecdotes are not "data points."
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Re: Aspartame

#194  Postby lucek » Apr 10, 2014 11:43 pm

Sendraks please correct your post.

DavidMcC wrote:
lucek wrote:...

In the end anecdotes belong at one point and only one point of the scientific method. Before the hypothesis has been drafted.

You seem to have a more detailed definition of "anecdote" than I do.
In see it as simply an uncorroborated story or data point.

Uncorroborated data isn't data.

How can uncorroborated anything be used to make a decision. As said biases in reporting, selecting, and documenting information crop in with the slightest provocation.
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