Coming soon to a cup of coffee near you, NutraSweet (as if it wasn't enough having it in the '80s)

According to a NutraSweet news release "The NutraSweet Company announced today that it has entered into an alliance with American Sugar Refining, Inc., owner of the Domino® brand of sugar products, to produce and distribute a line of new tabletop sweeteners in the US."

The first love child of this partnership? The re-launch of the NutraSweet tabletop brand.

Here we go again!

NutraSweet (think Aspartame, the unrelenting resident on the ingredient list of all sorts of diet drinks, such as Diet Coke), which was first introduced in the '80s is back. And the question now is the same as it was then: Is NutraSweet safe or isn't it?

Is NutraSweet safe?
No one can prove that it is definitively, without any doubt what-so-ever, totally and completely not safe.

Of course, on the other hand, no one can prove that it is definitively, without any doubt what-so-ever, totally and completely safe.

Which leaves us with a cloud of doubt. doesn't it? A helluva cloud, indeed.

Well, what do the experts say?
The FDA obviously granted approval for NutraSweet to be sold. So their vote is “yes,” it is safe. But there are researchers who quite clearly vote “no,” it is NOT safe. Such as the Italian cancer researcher whose seven year study concluded that it may cause cancer. In fact, according to a New York Times article “The research found that the sweetener was associated with unusually high rates of lymphomas, leukemias and other cancers in rats that had been given doses of it starting at what would be equivalent to four to five 20-ounce bottles of diet soda a day for a 150-pound person.”

Of course, there are those who pooh pooh these studies. Such as the Calorie Control Council which is, big surprise, a trade group for organizations that make artificial sweeteners.

But if there are such questions of safety, why is NutraSweet being reintroduced?
Craig Petray, NutraSweet CEO, says "... there is tremendous opportunity to leverage the NutraSweet brand in consumer markets throughout the world." In fact, he believes with the partnership, NutraSweet "...will be positioned to become a major player in the billion dollar retail sweetener business."

In other words, there's gold in them thar hills.

So should we eat aspartame?
Here is what Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the nutrition advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest said in the New York Times article: "For a chemical that is used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, it should be absolutely safe. There shouldn't be a cloud of doubt."

Eating aspartame is, clearly, a gamble. Your gamble. With your health. And the health of your family.

Personally, I don't want to throw the dice. The stakes are just too high.