Acesulfame is often used in combination with such artificial sweeteners as aspartame, saccharin, or cyclamates. It is currently used in over 4,000 foods, beverages, oral hygiene, and pharmaceutical products in about 90 countries. In the United States, acesulfame was granted general purpose approval in December, 2003, and now can be found in virtually anything that appeals to consumers.
According to the book Safe Food (1993) by Michael F. Jacobson, Lisa Lefferts, and Anne Garland, The public is waiting for an artificial sweetener that is unquestionably safe. But this one is not it. Even compared to aspartame and saccharin (which are afflicted with their own safety publems), acesulfame K is the worst.
A derivative of acetoacetic acid, acesulfame consists of of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur, and potassium atoms. It was discovered in Germany in 1967 and found to be 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Since is not digested, acesulfame is considered to be calorie free. However, trading calories for other health problems should not be an option.
Numerous tests have shown that it rapidly produces tumors: lung, breast, and rare types in other organs, especially the thyroid and thymus glands. It also apparently produced several forms of leukemia and chronic respiratory disease in several rodent studies, even when less than maximum doses were given.
If that be not enough, acesulfame also stimulates insulin secretion in a dose dependent fashion, thereby possibly aggravating reactive hypoglycemia (“low blood sugar attacks”). Despite these tests falling short of even the FDAs own standards, acesulfame was approved for human consumption.
In spite of test results and vigorous complaints from scientists and others (see CSPI below), acesulfame is still being idealized as completely safe to use and with complete disregard for scientific findings: Acesulfame potassium has been thoroughly tested in several long-term animal studies. The tests, which used amounts of the ingredient that are far higher than a person would normally consume, clearly found no evidence of cancer or tumors (IFIC). CSPI also noted that ever since Canada approved acesulfame for sweetening soft drinks, the artificial sweetener is being consumed in much higher amounts.
- Calorie Control website http://www.caloriecontrol.org/acesulf.html
- CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) quotes from cancer experts on acesulfame testing http://www.cspinet.org/reports/asekquot.html
- Dr. Janet Starr Hulls information on acesulfame and other artificial sweeteners http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-sweeteners.html
- Quotes from scientists http://www.cspinet.org/reports/asekquot.html
- Safe Food quote from http://www.holisticmed.com/acek/ (Acesulfame Toxicity Information Center)
- Whole Foods Market article
This page was updated in December 2005.