Tom Philpott got much more of a reaction to his February 10, 2011, aspartame article than he expected. He reports, "I guess in the back of my mind, I was thinking, people still drink that stuff?"
Well, they do—by the bucketful. Overall, U.S. soda consumption is declining slowly, but Americans still drink more soda than anyone else on the planet, by a wide margin. According to one reckoning, the average American drinks 736 "eight-ounce servings" each year.
Adam Ozimek of the Modeled Behavior blog quickly mounted a vigorous defense of aspartame, the artificial sweetener of choice for the soda industry, claiming, "the unnecessary stress caused by worrying about the aspartame in your diet soda is far more dangerous for you than the aspartame in your soda."
Ozimek also compared warnings about aspartame's danger to 9/11 conspiracy theories, claiming the FDA "adequately followed its food additive approval process in approving aspartame."
Philpott goes on to point out recent studies that shed new light on aspartame's dangers to your health (including risk of cancer, stroke, and type 2 diabetes), as well as discussing the pro-business and regulatory-shy Obama administration that has failed to recognize "public health is being harmed by agency practices that defer to business interests."