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To The Editor:
While I applaud efforts to reduce obesity and its related chronic health conditions, I urge you to consider whether a sugar tax might not favor drinks with even more harmful chemical sweeteners. From a marketing perspective, a sugar tax is like doing a free, soft promotion of aspartame.
While not an expert on all health effects of FDA-approved artificial sweeteners, I do know the aspartame is particularly toxic. I encourage you to read "Direct and indirect cellular effects of aspartame on the brain" here: www.drclaudiaanrig.com/research/Sweeteners/Direct%20and%20indirect%20cellular...%20European%20Journal%20of%20Clinical%20Nutrition%20(2008)%2062,%20451-462.pdf.
And please also consider how pressure is on the dairy industry to allow adding aspartame without a label. See www.activistpost.com/2013/02/aspartame-in-milk-without-label-big.html.
A childhood friend of mine shared his views on the issue as follows, and I cannot say I do not disagree with him. In the past I was a "liberal" and he a "Republican," but today we mostly meet right there in the middle:
"The sugar tax is another government over reach to infringe on individual freedom. Let a handful of central planners tell people what should and shouldn't put in their body... on the aspartame question, interesting that the government scientists have pretty much said that aspartame is fine (BIG website). If I were a conspiracy theorist I might say the tax and the position on aspartame could be related... hmmm. Easy answer... government needs to stop telling what we can and cannot (and sometimes must [vaccines]) put in our bodies... IMHO."