The Campaign for Artificial Sweetener Free Fizzy Pop

The Campaign for Artificial Sweetener Free Fizzy Pop doesn't actually exist. Yet. In the meantime, here is the rationale behind the idea.

It all started when a friend nipped to the corner shop to buy a bottle of fizzy pop to keep our carbohydrate and fluid levels up during the long car journey we were about to set off on. To his horror, he was completely unable to find any which didn't contain any artificial sweetener, and most contained both saccharine and aspartame. Understand this: we're not talking about diet drinks here, but the regular kind. People want a sugar-free drink, for whatever reason (I have enough diabetic friends and relatives to appreciate that it's not just buying into the diet cult, or having poor control over calorific intake) and there's no reason they shouldn't have it, but why should everyone else also have to put up with nasty tasting and potentially harmful additives?


has been around for years. It was the first "artificial" food addative, and has a pretty good track record. The MSDS database may have bad things to say about it, but MSDS is notoriously paranoid. However, there is little question that saccharine leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, otherwise why would there by a market for other artificial sweeteners?


fulfils this role, usually under the trade name of NutraSweet. One component of it is phenylalanine, and it is this in particular which gives cause for concern. It's a little difficult to separate the hysteria from the facts, but there is an increasingly large body of evidence that the metabolites of aspartame/phenylalanine include a number of toxins (such as methanol) and that it is possible to ingest sufficient quantities through soft drinks for them to be harmful. There is something of an anti-aspartame campaign going, but when issues like this are presented in such a form, it can be hard to take them seriously. A quick web-search on "aspartame" will find you public awareness and other pages.

The irony is that during the artificial-additives scare of the late '80s, which amongst other things removed useful preservatives from our foods, aspartame, possibly the only really dangerous chemical of the lot, came through virtually unscathed. Don't ask me why, but I suspect it may be something to do with the wonderful, and largely natural, foodstuff known as sugar being seen as a health-defeating villain.