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September 2009

Acesulfame Potassium Is It Safe

If you're like me, you drink a lot of zero-calorie and low-calorie beverages that tend to have artificial sweeteners in them.  My preference is always towards those that use sucralose (also marketed as Splenda) because it is generally considered safe. 

In case you were wondering, aspartame was recently identified in some studies from Italy as possibly increasing the risk of leukemia, lymphoma and breast cancer (CSPI's Nutrition Action cover story Chemical Cuisine: A Guide To Food Additives, May 2008).  The problem is that it's getting harder and harder to find sucralose without another chemical paired with it known as Acesulfame Potassium (a.k.a Ace-K).

Thumbs down

So what's the big deal about Acesulfame Potassium?  It's been "poorly tested" and those tests from the 1970's showed that it may cause cancer, yet the FDA has refused to require more and better testing according to The Center For Science In The Public Interest, publishers of the excellent non-advertiser supported Nutrition Action's May 2008 issue, and when these guys say something is questionable, as an independent, not-for-profit organization, it gets my attention.

For awhile I tried to tell myself, it's okay if at times I drink something with Acesulfame in it, but when I took a good look at what I was drinking, I realized I was subjecting myself to the chemical a lot more than I thought.  So out went the Powerade Zero I was drinking almost daily, all those powdered "flavor on the go" sticks for my bottled water, Lipton Diet Citrus green tea and so on.

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