Aspartame is one of those controversial additives that causes trouble wherever it goes. Some think it is perfectly safe, others are wary of it, some even wonder if it causes cancer; all in all, it’s an artificial sweetener with both fans and foes. But fortunately, you can often avoid it by not consuming products like diet drinks where it is used very frequently. Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid it for long — particularly if you’re down with dairy.
The dairy industry is presently requesting permission from the Food & Drug Administration to add aspartame to skim milk without having to add it to the front of the package. They say that by making it artificially sweetened, kids will be more likely to choose milk over sodas and other drinks.
As of now, artificially flavored milk exists — it just can’t be called milk. The dairy industry hopes to change this, effectively making diet milk products. While there are those who might say this is a good thing — less calories going into kids bodies and whatnot — there’s a great deal of proof that artificially sweetened drinks actually help cause weight gain, so this would be detrimental rather than positive.
There’s enough terrible and excess stuff that goes into a lot of milk coming from factory farms; does there really need to potentially be one more? Plus, kids should get used to not eating things that are so sweet all the time. The more sugary-tasting stuff children eat, the more they don’t have as much interest in foods that aren’t tasty in the same way and sadly, many of the best foods for you aren’t naturally sugary. As of yet, the FDA has not made a decision. Personally, I hope they say no, but we’ll see how this battle swings soon, I am sure.