Deceptive Dieting: Aspartame’s Bittersweet Epidemic

Summer is right around the corner, and you may want to soak up some sun while sipping a refreshing, sugary drink. But, before you do, you may want to think twice. Presently infiltrating upwards of six-thousand products, aspartame was developed by James Schlatter, a chemist at G.D. Searle & Company, in the mid-1960s. Following Searle’s experiments concerning aspartame on rats, which developed malignant tumors, the FDA deduced that aspartame was unsafe for public consumption. Shortly thereafter, Donald Rumsfeld (then-CEO of G.D. Searle) – affiliated with the Reagan Administration – appointed a new FDA commissioner (Arthur H. Hayes, Jr.) who immediately approved aspartame. Months after aspartame’s clearance for mass-ingestion, Hayes retreated to Burson-Marsteller: the public-relations firm for both G.D. Searle and Monsanto. Divergent interests, much?

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