Commentary

Which Is Junk: The Aspartame, or the Science?

Marie-Eileen Onieal’s September editorial on the ills of aspartame consumption resonated with our readers, some of whom say the additive affected their health. But others argue that the data just aren’t there.


 

A DIETARY DIAGNOSIS

I’m a hospital CEO and came across an NP colleague’s issue of Clinician Reviews; your September editorial on aspartame (2017;27[9]:6-7) caught my eye. While mine is another “n = 1” experience with the effects of aspartame, it was life-changing.

About 10 years ago, my former wife’s seizures suddenly increased in frequency after a fairly lengthy period without them. The problem was severe enough that she was faced with losing her ability to drive a car.

I had a good business relationship with the Massachusetts General Hospital and sought help from a prominent neurologist there. He asked us to keep a dietary journal before the appointment.

Though he ordered routine diagnostic tests, the journal told him all he needed to know: He told her to eliminate aspartame from her diet. It felt like a miracle when the seizures disappeared—no longer did I need to maintain bumpers on every sharp edge in the house!

Since this experience, I read every article that I can about this chemical additive and was interested to learn of your experiences.

Doug Jones
Ellsworth, ME

Aspartame image

THE SCIENCE IS JUNK

I had to write because I can’t believe they allowed you to publish such a ridiculous article based on junk science. Anecdotal reports have no place in medicine. Aspartame is one of the most studied food items around. Many of these claims about the alleged danger of aspartame have been debunked by real scientists.

I am very disappointed.

Darlene Elliott, MSN, RN, CNP
Albuquerque, NM

STOP IGNORING THE BODY OF KNOWLEDGE

Thank you for addressing an issue that I believe to be of great importance. There is a huge body of knowledge that the medical community is ignoring regarding the correlation between diet and health in general, in particular the diabetes epidemic. As NPs, we are in a great position to lead.

I encourage you to read Jason Fung’s book, The Obesity Code. The entire book is eye popping, but chapter 15 (“The Diet Soda Delusion”) is particularly pertinent. He has the most thorough understanding of carbohydrate metabolism of all the authors I have read. However, Gary Taubes and Eric Westman have also published valuable resources; their books have changed my life, and I believe their knowledge could apply to many of our patients. If doctors will not embrace science, perhaps NPs will.

Martha DelGiudice, CNM
Smithtown, NY

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