Aspartame

Is this sugar substance really evil?

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Aspartame

#1  Postby indy » May 20, 2012 10:36 am

I regularly have arguments with housemates about certain chemicals in products, flouride in toothpaste, MSG etc. But the recent one has been aspartame. If you believe some online sources aspartame is an ex-world war 2 nerve agent smuggled under the FDA and causes numerous auto-immune diseases, if you read others, it is a perfectly harmless sugar substitute that has been thoroughly tested and approved by many countries. I suspect the latter and if so some debunking is in order...

Has anyone any knowledge on the subject that would help me resolve this debate?

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Re: Aspartame

#2  Postby chaggle » May 20, 2012 10:56 am

Wiki says:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame_controversy#Safety_and_health_effects

The safety of aspartame has been studied extensively since its discovery with research that includes animal studies, clinical and epidemiological research, and post-marketing surveillance,[55] with aspartame being one of the most rigorously tested food ingredients to date.[56] Peer-reviewed comprehensive review articles and independent reviews by governmental regulatory bodies have analyzed the published research on the safety of aspartame and have found aspartame is safe for consumption at current levels.[8][55][20][57] Aspartame has been deemed safe for human consumption by over 100 regulatory agencies in their respective countries,[57] including the UK Food Standards Agency,[58] the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)[59] and Canada's Health Canada.[60]


Obviously shouldn't be taken as gospel but it looks pretty straightforward. The burden of proof would be on a claimant who said it was dangerous.
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Re: Aspartame

#3  Postby Doubtdispelled » May 20, 2012 11:12 am

The only thing I know about aspartame is that it should be avoided by those with phenylketonuria, as it contains the amino acid phenylalanine. Many aspartame-containing drinks and foods have a warning on them, 'contains phenylalanine', and as this is associated with aspartame, I think many people believe that both are dangerous to everyone.

After all, how many people have heard of phenylketonuria? It's believed that it was originally the cause for every village having an idiot in residence.
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Re: Aspartame

#4  Postby RichMurray » May 21, 2012 4:57 am

methanol from aspartame, wood and cigarette smoke, and many sources is
made by ADH1 enzyme into formaldehyde within human blood vessels and
cells, creating many modern diseases, the WC Monte paradigm: Rich
Murray 2012.05.20


The 200 mg aspartame in a 12-oz can of aspartame drink is 11% by
weight methanol, 22 mg, which is soon released from the GI tract into
the blood, where quickly any tissues with high levels of the ADH1
enzyme within the cells of blood capillary walls and adjacent tissues,
especially liver, kidney, brain, retina, etc., in humans only, turn
the methanol into formaldehyde within these cells, which, being highly
reactive, quickly binds with and disables DNA, RNA, and proteins
inside the cells, causing cell death, attracting macrophages (white
blood cells), which also die, creating durable, cumulative, evolving
complex micro lesions.

This affects the fetus, as well, or not so well...

So, there are many resulting novel modern "diseases of civilization"
in humans only, for each type of damaged tissue, including
Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, lupus, arthritis, the birth defects
spina bifida, autism, and Asperger's, many specific cancers, and
chronic ailments of liver, kidney, heart, lung, joint, skin, muscle,
etc.

The Monte methanol/formaldehyde toxicity paradigm MMFTP is backed by
740 references, given free online as full pdf texts by Prof. (retired
2004, Arizona State University, Nutrition and Food Sciences) Woodrow
C. Monte, www.WhileScienceSleeps.com, along with his 2012 January 240
page text "While Science Sleeps", with two free chapters on "Autism and
Other Birth Defects", and "Multiple Sclerosis", and free full earlier
articles and references on MMFTP.

Other methanol/formaldehyde sources include wood, peat and cigarette
smoke, fermented and smoked foods, fruits juices vegetables heated in
sealed jars and cans, some dark wines and liquors, bacteria in the
colon, genetic flaws in metabolism, vehicle fumes, leaky fossil fuel
stoves and heaters, processed wood products of all kinds, mobile
homes, old Ditto type purple ink mimeograph duplicating machines in
schools and offices, chemical biology autopsy mortuary facilities,
heated wood in particleboard, pressed wood and paper factories, and
many personal care cleaners and products...

methanol/formaldehyde paradigm for multiple sclerosis, free full 56
page chapter 9 pdf, While Science Sleeps, 146 full text references
online, Prof. Woodrow C. Monte: Rich Murray 2012.03.20
http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2012/03/me ... m-for.html
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/as ... ssage/1642


Rich Murray,
MA Boston University Graduate School 1967 psychology,
BS MIT 1964 history and physics,
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Re: Aspartame

#5  Postby RichMurray » May 21, 2012 11:09 pm

brief: Prof. Resia Pretorius letter re aspartame to EJCN cites Prof. Woodrow C. Monte "While Science Sleeps" text, re methanol/formaldehyde toxicity paradigm: Rich Murray 2012.05.21
http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2012/05/pr ... er-re.html
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/as ... ssage/1649


"In a Science article late in 2011, Wu et al. 1 discussed the fact that various dietary factors have an impact on gut bacteria, including the controversial dietary sweetener, APM.

Recently, in the October 2011 Science Perspective Section, Uri Gophna 2 commented on this observation, stating that it is surprising that even minor concentrations of the artificial sweetener APM, can modify bacterial communities."

"The observations of Wu et al., as well as a renewed interest in the APM debacle, spurred on by a new prepublication book released by Woodrow Monte 4, entitled ‘While Science Sleeps: A Sweetener Kills’ might urge scientists and regulatory bodies to look at APM again."

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 May 16. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2012.47. [Epub ahead of print]
GUT bacteria and aspartame: why are we surprised?
Pretorius E.
Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences,
University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.
PMID: 22588636

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
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Re: Aspartame

#6  Postby CdesignProponentsist » May 21, 2012 11:19 pm

I love these stories about what we use or eat will kill us or our pets.

I remember getting an viral email from my mom warning of using some disposable mop product because it can cause liver failure in your pets if they lick the floor. They cited a particular chemical that is found in antifreeze is in this product. OMG! I'm poisoning my cat with antifreeze!

Turns out the chemical they cited WAS found in antifreeze. It is also found in just about ever food preservative we consume. My liver is still just fine, as is 99.99% of the population's.

EDIT: I know nothing about aspartame or the consequences of long term usage but just thought demonstrate how, just because it is associated with a dangerous chemical, does not necessarily mean that it itself is dangerous.
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Re: Aspartame

#7  Postby Just A Theory » May 21, 2012 11:29 pm

The amount of methanol found in aspartame is hundreds of times lower than the lower bound on toxic dosage. Yes alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) converts methanol to formaldehyde but this reaction occurs every time we eat an apple as well. Formaldehyde is toxic but not at the dosage that occurs when we eat fruit or use aspartame.
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Re: Aspartame

#8  Postby Doubtdispelled » May 22, 2012 8:40 am

RichMurray wrote:Other methanol/formaldehyde sources include wood, peat and cigarette
smoke, fermented and smoked foods, fruits juices vegetables heated in
sealed jars and cans, some dark wines and liquors, bacteria in the
colon, genetic flaws in metabolism, vehicle fumes, leaky fossil fuel
stoves and heaters, processed wood products of all kinds, mobile
homes, old Ditto type purple ink mimeograph duplicating machines in
schools and offices, chemical biology autopsy mortuary facilities,
heated wood in particleboard, pressed wood and paper factories, and
many personal care cleaners and products...

I love this bit. I think what it's saying is that you should never go near the mimeograph machine in an autopsy room which contains a boiler and furniture made of wood, not to mention cleaning products, whilst eating your smoked ham sandwiches and washing them down with oj, otherwise you will die!!!
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Re: Aspartame

#9  Postby RichMurray » May 23, 2012 6:52 am

A major paradigm successfully throws a clarifying and unifying light on many long-standing puzzles, suggests many new studies to explore promising avenues, and opens up unexpected and wondrous vistas.

However, if you have a ounce of vodka, which preempts the ADH1 enzyme for hours in humans, thus preventing the conversion of methanol into formaldehyde inside cells, you will be certain to survive "the mimeograph machine in an autopsy room which contains a boiler and furniture made of wood, not to mention cleaning products, whilst eating your smoked ham sandwiches and washing them down with oj" !!!
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Re: Aspartame

#10  Postby byofrcs » May 23, 2012 7:38 am

RichMurray wrote:methanol from aspartame, wood and cigarette smoke, and many sources is
made by ADH1 enzyme into formaldehyde within human blood vessels and
cells, creating many modern diseases, the WC Monte paradigm: Rich
Murray 2012.05.20


The 200 mg aspartame in a 12-oz can of aspartame drink is 11% by
weight methanol, 22 mg, which is soon released from the GI tract into
the blood, where quickly any tissues with high levels of the ADH1
enzyme within the cells of blood capillary walls and adjacent tissues,
especially liver, kidney, brain, retina, etc., in humans only, turn
the methanol into formaldehyde within these cells, which, being highly
reactive, quickly binds with and disables DNA, RNA, and proteins
inside the cells, causing cell death, attracting macrophages (white
blood cells), which also die, creating durable, cumulative, evolving
complex micro lesions.

.....


Hold on - 22mg of methanol at 0.7918 g cm−3 is about 28 uL which is 1000th of a minimum fatal dose. So you would have to drink 12000 fluid oz or 375 litres of aspartame drink.

Have you heard of a disease called drowning ?
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Re: Aspartame

#11  Postby I'm With Stupid » May 23, 2012 8:55 am

This reminds me of that story about someone who managed to get several senators behind a campaign to get water banned by giving it its chemical name and mentioning some of the things that can happen if you use it in excess.
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Re: Aspartame

#12  Postby Doubtdispelled » May 23, 2012 9:08 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:This reminds me of that story about someone who managed to get several senators behind a campaign to get water banned by giving it its chemical name and mentioning some of the things that can happen if you use it in excess.

Oh yes, dihydrogen monoxide. :nono: Never go near the stuff myself. Unless it's got vodka in it, of course. :)
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Re: Aspartame

#13  Postby RichMurray » May 24, 2012 1:36 am

Making trivial disparaging comments about a breakthrough paradigm for 19 specific novel modern "diseases of civilization"?

So, go to www.whilesciencesleeps.com and peruse the online archive of 740 free full text pdf medical research references...
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Re: Aspartame

#14  Postby byofrcs » May 24, 2012 1:52 am

RichMurray wrote:Making trivial disparaging comments about a breakthrough paradigm for 19 specific novel modern "diseases of civilization"?

So, go to http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com and peruse the online archive of 740 free full text pdf medical research references...


But given how you presented the data here then I think we can say that you are misrepresenting the data in a false or fraudulent manner.

Modern civilisation has never had it better.
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Re: Aspartame

#15  Postby RichMurray » May 24, 2012 2:29 am

Hello byofrcs,

I appreciate your calculation re the drowning dose of aspartame diet drink to supply acute toxicity doses of methanol, according to the standard concepts about the toxicity of methanol products in humans -- namely the outdated paradigm is that the methanol in turned into formaldehyde by the ADH1 enzyme in the liver, and then somehow the formaldehyde is dispersed and diluted in the blood to all parts of the body.

But, formaldehyde is so reactive that it cannot travel in blood.

The Monte methanol/formaldehyde toxicity paradigm is that most of the methanol is dispersed throughout the body by the blood, including brain blood vessel cell walls, where the methanol readily enters those cells, to be immediately turned into formaldehyde right inside the cells by the copious ADH1 enzyme that happens to be in those cells.

Formaldehyde in the cells is like a bull in a china shop, permanently binding to and disabling DNA, RNA, and proteins, killing the cells, while some of the formaldehyde diffuses outward a short distance to enter and damage adjacent brain tissue cells.

So, with this concentrated toxic process, only a little methanol causes a lot of permanent cumulative damage as complex micro lesions in brain and many other tissues with high ADH1 levels.

Monte gives the references for 19 human tissues with high ADH1 levels, which are the locations for 19 different novel modern "diseases of civilization".

Go on, jump right to www.whilesciencesleeps.com -- he's a lucid, entertaining writer...
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Re: Aspartame

#16  Postby Mr.Samsa » May 24, 2012 3:40 am

RichMurray wrote:Formaldehyde in the cells is like a bull in a china shop, permanently binding to and disabling DNA, RNA, and proteins, killing the cells, while some of the formaldehyde diffuses outward a short distance to enter and damage adjacent brain tissue cells.


You understand that formaldehyde is naturally produced by all the cells in our body, right? And that it is necessary for cell metabolism? It often reaches concentrations of 6-12mg/kg, but doesn't cause any problems in the body because formaldehyde is so quickly broken down by our bodies.

Why would such a natural and necessary chemical produced by cells, be so damaging and destructive to cells? The key here, presumably, is dosage and the levels produced by the aspartame in drinks is clearly negligible. Byofrcs is correct in saying that we should be more concerned about water intoxication from drinking these beverages, before we should be concerned about negative effects from aspartame or formaldehyde.
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Re: Aspartame

#17  Postby RichMurray » May 24, 2012 4:22 am

Hello Mr. Samsa,

The human body does make and utilize formaldehyde in a number of carefully organized reactions, not allowing it to escape narrow confines to wreck havoc inside cells.

Once again, the new Monte paradigm is that methanol, the smallest organic molecule, readily penetrates the walls of all human cells, to be quickly turned into free floating formaldehyde right inside the cytoplasm, if that cell happens to have a lot of ADH1 enzyme also available inside the cytoplasm.

This reality has only in recent years been proved, so the news has not reached many professional ears.

Any alert citizen is aware of the reluctance of huge vested interests to embrace this discovery: wood products that involve heating wood, cigarettes, fruit juice vegetables preserved by heating in sealed cans and jars, many dark wines and liquors, aspartame, fermented and smoked foods, vehicle fuels, paper factories, solvents and cleaners, medical and mortuary facilities, and many more.

within mutual service, Rich
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Re: Aspartame

#18  Postby byofrcs » May 24, 2012 7:59 am

RichMurray wrote:Hello byofrcs,

I appreciate your calculation re the drowning dose of aspartame diet drink to supply acute toxicity doses of methanol, according to the standard concepts about the toxicity of methanol products in humans -- namely the outdated paradigm is that the methanol in turned into formaldehyde by the ADH1 enzyme in the liver, and then somehow the formaldehyde is dispersed and diluted in the blood to all parts of the body.

But, formaldehyde is so reactive that it cannot travel in blood.

The Monte methanol/formaldehyde toxicity paradigm is that most of the methanol is dispersed throughout the body by the blood, including brain blood vessel cell walls, where the methanol readily enters those cells, to be immediately turned into formaldehyde right inside the cells by the copious ADH1 enzyme that happens to be in those cells.

Formaldehyde in the cells is like a bull in a china shop, permanently binding to and disabling DNA, RNA, and proteins, killing the cells, while some of the formaldehyde diffuses outward a short distance to enter and damage adjacent brain tissue cells.

So, with this concentrated toxic process, only a little methanol causes a lot of permanent cumulative damage as complex micro lesions in brain and many other tissues with high ADH1 levels.

Monte gives the references for 19 human tissues with high ADH1 levels, which are the locations for 19 different novel modern "diseases of civilization".

Go on, jump right to http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com -- he's a lucid, entertaining writer...


Stop the bullshit then. Everyone knows Formaldehyde is bad. Humans have known this for decades. Everyone knows that aspartame goes to methanol (10% of the v plus two acids) and then that goes to formaldehyde. This aspartame to formaldehyde has happened to humans for decades and with no data to support this as having any ill effects or even noticeable over natural products. Our bodies have evolved well before modern times to handle these metabolites.
Same with the Aspartic Acid - we know it causes brain damage but does the amount from aspartame (40% by mass) enough ? I don't think so but studies please. And then there is Phenylalanine which we do know is a problem for some people. Again other than phenylketonuria there is no issue here.

Quite simply show us the studies that show increased blood levels of formate or methanol or of Aspartic Acid crossing blood-brain membrane or of phenylketonuria -like problems in non phenylketonuria humans when consuming routine (or even excessive) amounts of soda/aspartame.
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Re: Aspartame

#19  Postby Just A Theory » May 24, 2012 8:11 am

Had a quick look at the website linked by Rich Murray and it displays all the hallmarks of crank science.

Accusations of scientific conspiracy abound supported (poorly) by non-peer reviewed letters to journals and references from nearly 30 years ago. No experiments have been conducted, not even meta-review of extant literature to determine if there is some sort of statistical trend that has gone unnoticed.

The article in question draws heavily on the causal link between smoking and various conditions (labelled therein as DOC - diseases of civilization), notes that methanol is found in cigarettes and attempts to lever that into some sort of conclusion about the overall dangers of methanol.
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Re: Aspartame

#20  Postby trevp » May 24, 2012 9:20 am

RichMurray wrote:methanol from aspartame, wood and cigarette smoke, and many sources is
made by ADH1 enzyme into formaldehyde within human blood vessels and
cells, creating many modern diseases, the WC Monte paradigm: Rich
Murray 2012.05.20


The 200 mg aspartame in a 12-oz can of aspartame drink is 11% by
weight methanol, 22 mg, which is soon released from the GI tract into
the blood, where quickly any tissues with high levels of the ADH1
enzyme within the cells of blood capillary walls and adjacent tissues,
especially liver, kidney, brain, retina, etc., in humans only, turn

the methanol into formaldehyde within these cells, which, being highly
reactive, quickly binds with and disables DNA, RNA, and proteins
inside the cells, causing cell death, attracting macrophages (white
blood cells), which also die, creating durable, cumulative, evolving
complex micro lesions.

[/quote]

To put some sort of perspective on this, it is well accepted that one of the metabolic products of aspartame is methanol - and methanol is indeed very toxic. A common source of methanol ingestion is the consumption of alcoholic drinks (Gnekow and Ough tested French red wines in 1976 and found an average methanol concentration of 168 mg/l). The maximum tolerable concentration of methanol was determined by Paine and Davan (Hum Exp Toxicol 2001 Nov 20(11) 653 - 568) to be 2% based on ethanol concentration. Current EU limits for methanol in alcoholic drinks are half of this value at 10 g of methanol per litre of ethanol. Moderate drinkers consuming 4 UK units of alcohol per day (40 ml of ethanol) could consume up to 400 mg of methanol per day under current EU law (although typically this is more likely much less than this. Taking the example of the wine above, 4 units of alcohol would be approximately one third of a litre or around 50 mg of methanol per day.

Taking the upper EU limit, this would correspond to the consumption of 20 cans per day of an aspartame containing drink (at 22 mg per can). However, taking the amount that a drinker would probably consume (ie 50 to 100 mg of methanol), this would be reached by only 2-4 cans of aspartame containing drink.

The conclusion I would draw from this (assuming the validity of the research quoted above and the EU limits) is that unless consumption of aspartame containing drinks is taken to extremes, it is likely to be safe - at least in terms of methanol toxicity.

EDIT:

After some further searching, I found this:

Estimated intake of the sweeteners, acesulfame-K and aspartame, from soft drinks, soft drinks based on mineral waters and nectars for a group of Portuguese teenage students.
Lino CM, Costa IM, Pena A, Ferreira R, Cardoso SM.
Source
Faculty of Pharmacy, Group of Bromatology, CEF, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. cmlino@ci.uc.pt
Abstract
In a survey of levels of acesulfame-K and aspartame in soft drinks and in light nectars, the intake of these intense sweeteners was estimated for a group of teenage students. Acesulfame-K was detected in 72% of the soft drinks, with a mean concentration of 72 mg l(-1) and aspartame was found in 92% of the samples with a mean concentration of 89 mg l(-1). When data on the content of these sweeteners in soft drinks were analysed according to flavour, cola drinks had the highest mean levels for both sweeteners with 98 and 103 mg l(-1) for acesulfame-K and aspartame, respectively. For soft drinks based on mineral water, aspartame was found in 62% of the samples, with a mean concentration of 82 mg l(-1) and acesulfame-K was found in 77%, with a mean level of 48 mg l(-1). All samples of nectars contained acesulfame-K, with a mean concentration of 128 mg l(-1) and aspartame was detected in 80% of the samples with a mean concentration of 73 mg l(-1). A frequency questionnaire, designed to identify adolescents having high consumption of these drinks, was completed by a randomly selected sample of teenagers (n = 65) living in the city of Coimbra, in 2007. The estimated daily intakes (EDI) of acesulfame-K and aspartame for the average consumer were below the acceptable daily intakes (ADIs). For acesulfame-K, the EDI was 0.7 mg kg(-1) bw day(-1) for soft drinks, 0.2 mg kg(-1) bw day(-1) for soft drinks based on mineral waters, and 0.5 mg kg(-1) bw day(-1) for nectars, representing 8.0%, 2.2%, and 5.8% of the ADI, respectively. A similar situation was observed for aspartame. In this way, the EDI for soft drinks was 1.1 mg kg(-1) day(-1), representing only 2.9% of the ADI. In respect of nectars, the EDI was 0.2 mg kg(-1) bw day(-1), representing 0.5% of the ADI. Soft drinks based on mineral waters showed the lowest EDI values of 0.3 mg kg(-1) bw day(-1), accounting for 0.7% of the ADI.
PMID: 19680835 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


It appears from this that you have overstated the average aspartame content of drinks so you could consume more than 40 cans per day and still be within EU limits for methanol.
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