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Pepsi is going to remove aspartame from its sodas. Chipolte is going to stop serving GMO food. It appears lots of people still aren't watching Healthcare Triage. This is Healthcare Triage News.

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Pepsi's gonna remove aspartame from its sodas. Chipotle's gonna stop serving GMO food. It appears lots of people aren't watching Healthcare Triage. This is Healthcare Triage News.

[intro plays]

First up, let's talk about Pepsi, or rather PepsiCo Incorporated, which makes a ton of drinks, including Mountain Dew. They're changing their formulas. Specifically, they're going to stop sweetening many of their diet drinks with aspartame.

You may remember aspartame from one of a gazillion chain emails or Facebook posts labeling it a poison or a toxin. Yeah, not so much. They're going to switch over to sucralose, which you might know as Splenda, or acesulfame potassium, which I bet you don't know as Ace K. Acesulfame potassium is the sweetener also used in Coke Zero, which is my diet soda of choice, so I should stop acting all high and mighty here.

Now, if you've watched our episode on artificial sweeteners, you already know that there's a ton of research on aspartame, and no one has found an association between it and cancer or any other significant health problem. I'm not going to waste your time going over the research again. Go watch the video.

But the customers have spoken. Evidently getting aspartame out of their sodas was the number one request Pepsi received from its consumers. They answered. 

Soda consumption has been declining pretty steadily for a decade. I don't think that this was the only reason why. And I'm not sure that this will change that trend.

Our second story isn't that different. This week, Chipotle announced that soon it will only be preparing food that is free of genetically-modified ingredients, or GMOs. You may remember GMOs from our Healthcare Triage episode on... GMOs. I'm not gonna waste your time going over the research again. Go watch the video.

The bottom line is that the research to date, and there's a ton of it, and a lot of does come from non-industry sources, please go watch the video, and it shows that there is no evidence that GMO foods are any less safe than conventional foods.

So, like Pepsi, Chipotle is bowing to pressure from its customers. That's fine. This is a free country, and if Chipotle, like Pepsi, thinks it can benefit from selling food that appeals to people, even if I don't understand why, that's their right.

But as some have pointed out, all corn is pretty much GMO. Modern corn, or maize, simply cannot reproduce on its own. All its kernels are wrapped up in a tough husk that requires us to rip it open and sow it. It's an engineered crop. It can't exist in nature.

Chipotle doesn't care about that, and neither do a lot of other people. They're OK with the old engineered corn, just not the newer stuff. That has to be GMO-free. But they're only taking it out of their burritos and such. They'll still be selling GMO-laden soda in their stores. Maybe someday it'll be free of aspartame.

If I sound a little exasperated, it's 'cause I am. You're all free to eat whatever you want. Really. But I'd like for all of us to have some common ground in science. You can't demand and revere it in some cases, and then ignore it in others. I see too many people argue that science shows that climate change is real, and then somehow act completely differently when it comes to food. We should be consistent. 

The overwhelming science to date shows us that aspartame  and GMOs are safe. Bowing to popular pressure when it runs counter to science sets a  that may come back to haunt us.

[outro plays]