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Aspartame : artifice and the science of sweet

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dc.contributor.advisor Philip J. Hilts. en_US MacLachlan, Allison (Allison Stollery) en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Graduate Program in Science Writing. en_US 2012-01-12T19:30:41Z 2012-01-12T19:30:41Z 2011 en_US 2011 en_US
dc.description Thesis (S.M. in Science Writing)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Humanities, Graduate Program in Science Writing, 2011. en_US
dc.description Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 37-40). en_US
dc.description.abstract Aspartame has become an extremely popular artificial sweetener since its entry into the American market in 1981. Humans have an evolutionary preference for sweet tastes, and artificial sweeteners became a mainstream alternative to cane sugar in the 2 0 th century for people looking to cut calories. Saccharin and cyclamates, both discovered accidentally in early chemistry labs, set the scientific precedent for low-calorie sweeteners and also built the consumer base that would lead to aspartame's rise after its own accidental discovery in 1965. This thesis takes a journalistic look at how artifice came to satisfy the human sweet tooth. Drawing on expert interviews, scientific papers, historical accounts and congressional records, it also examines some of the health complaints like headaches and seizures that have been attributed to aspartame's breakdown products, such as phenylalanine. Even after extensive FDA testing has found little scientific proof for many of these claims, controversy and uncertainty about aspartame persist. There are also new challenges: researchers are now investigating the idea that consuming diet drinks may actually contribute to weight gain. At the same time, as obesity rates climb and schools and cities look to ban calorie-dense sodas, many public health experts welcome aspartame because it poses a less clear-cut risk than sugar. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Allison MacLachlan. en_US
dc.format.extent 40 p. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject Graduate Program in Science Writing. en_US
dc.title Aspartame : artifice and the science of sweet en_US
dc.title.alternative Artifice and the science of sweet en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Science Writing en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Graduate Program in Science Writing. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 769911473 en_US

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