Recently did a Skype session with a client, who told me something I've heard before. He said "If chemical sweeteners weren't safe, "wouldn't they be prohibited?" It makes sense to some extent. There are inspection arrangements that check if what is sold in the market is safe for consumption. For example, for drugs, there are national organizations for medicines that inspect if the drugs contain substances that do damage to our health. There should be something similar for foods too. Not exactly. There are some inspection arrangements, but surprisingly, the ones that check if the chemical ingredients contained in the foods are safe are the companies that add them to the foods they sell. In plain words, the company that sells the soft drink that contains aspartame is the company that decides if aspartame is safe. If this is the first time you've heard this, don't be surprised. In a research carried out last year among consumers in the US, only 29% of the participants knew that the companies themselves evaluate the safety of the chemical ingredients of their foods. In fact, a very high percentage, 31%, believed there were state bodies that inspected the safety of these ingredients. Namely, they believed there was a body similar to the national organization for medicines that evaluated if aspartame was safe or not. Unfortunately, there's no such organization. Is there anything wrong with this? To me, it sounds like letting the wolf protect the sheep. The company that sells the soft drink containing aspartame, cyclamic acid, sucralose and other chemical sweeteners carries out studies to find out if these sweeteners are safe. However, it's possible that it interprets the results of these studies in a way that does not contradict its financial interests. Surely, if something is clearly dangerous and may kill people, they won't add it to their soft drinks. But if it's marginally safe, or even unsafe under certain circumstances, it may interpret the results of the safety studies in its favor, or even not carry out studies on specific populations, such as children, teenagers or people under medication. Of course, this is a global phenomenon and it doesn't only concern Greece. Surely, we can't change this. What we can do, however, is avoid the products that contain chemical additives, colors, sweeteners and other chemical ingredients. This benefits us in two ways. We protect our health from substances that are potentially dangerous, and we show the food and soft-drink industry that we don't want foods and soft drinks with chemical additives. A chemical substance that we find often in fish is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a cancerogenic substance that you'd better not eat. If you eat fish, it's worth watching the video on my right, where I explain what formaldehyde is and how it ends up in the fish, and what you can do to protect yourselves. Thank you!

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