Acesulfame Potassium (Acesulfame K) the the artificial sweetener in almost everything is highly acclaimed for its safety and is the sweetener of choice in most diet sodas. However, I suggest avoiding it at all cost. I know most of you know better than to give your children diet pop. The thing is, it’s everywhere. It’s not just in diet pop; it’s in products that the average American child ingests daily.
Human studies haven’t really been conducted on the safety of acesulfame K though. In some animal studies though, it produced lung tumors, breast tumors, rare types of tumors of other organs (such as the thymus gland), several forms of leukemia and chronic respiratory disease… and here’s the clincher… even when less than maximum allowed doses were given. Various other studies in animals have been done that say the studies claiming toxicity are untrue. Though when you read the fine print of the aspartame studies, you learn that scientists were using a shortened testing time model which was new to them. In the scientists’ fine print, they mention that because they used a new shortened testing model, there is uncertainty whether the study possessed sufficient sensitivity to detect a carcinogenic effect and whether any potential cancer could have grown in the time allowed during the study.
All this back and forth leads me to believe basically no one.
So, I’m left to think for myself yet again.
Here’s what I do know: Acesulfame K contains the carcinogen methylene chloride. Long-term exposure to methylene chloride is known to cause headaches, depression, nausea, mental confusion, liver effects, kidney effects, visual disturbances, and cancer in humans.
Children without dietary restrictions supposedly can safely ingest a maximum dosage of 6.8 mg of acesulfame K per pound of body weight each day. It’s called the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI.) I guess we’re all just supposed to know this and keep a tally of the amount of ace-K we let into our children’s bodies.
Though, I’m not really sure how, since I can’t seem to find the mg amount listed on any of the packages that contain it.
At any rate, ignoring the studies that show that even “safe levels” can cause all sorts of cancers, let’s just be good complacent citizens for a second and focus on what our government is telling us is safe. We can safely ingest (according to our government’s ADI ration) about 6.8 mg of acesulfame per pound of body weight per day. My daughter weighs 30 pounds, so she supposedly can safely ingest 204 mg of acesulfame K a day. How safe is my 30 pound daughter to eat normal foods at the grocery store? Keep in mind that 1 sweetener pack has 50 mg of acesulfame K. So, my daughter can have the equivalent of about four sweetener packs during the day and still be “safe.”
At first, one would assume that’d be easy to stay under the ADI of ace-K. Until one checks the labels on every item in their grocery cart.
Products that contain acesulfame K, besides diet soda that I noticed with a passive search of the grocery aisles include:
- Chewing gum
- Almost all OTC medicines
- Crystal Light
- Minute Maid Lemonade and juices
- Hawaiian Punch
- Fuze “Healthy Infusions”
- Ocean Spray “light” everything
- Kool-Aid Jammers
- Arizona Iced Teas
- Sugar free candies of every kind
- Cough drops
- V8 Splash light
At any rate, I could go on and on and on. I just touched on the items containing acesulfame K. The list goes on to include multiple brands of dairy products, ice creams, desserts, jams, jellies, preserves, baked goods, marinated meats and fish, breakfast cereals, salad dressings, condiments, relishes and snack foods.
Besides for what we’ve discussed, there’s also the issue of how this artificial sweetener (and almost all artificial sweeteners for that matter) alter a human being’s pH in their body. A human being’s pH in their body should be slightly alkaline. For good health, our bodies should have a pH range from 7.36-7.44. This is controlled in large part by our diets. If our bodies become too acidic, we become sick. If they become to0 acidic for too long, we become diseased. Just because a food has a lot of acid in it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. What matters is what that food does to our body once we are ingesting it. Artificial sweeteners form a very acidic pH in your body. In fact, to neutralize a beverage sweetened with acesulfame K, you would have to drink an average of around 30 glasses of water.
I promise you with my whole heart, I believe that I am not being over dramatic when I say that the people who process your average grocery store foods and the governmental agencies that oversee them, do not care about your child. Somebody has to. Check your labels as they go into the grocery cart.