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Green MP takes fizz out of professor's claims

Green MP takes fizz out of professor's claims

Green MP Sue Kedgley is incredulous that a senior public health researcher from Auckland University is urging New Zealanders to drink soft drinks containing artificial sweeteners.

Professor Rod Jackson from the university's school of population health says in media reports today that lives could be saved if people switched from soft drinks containing sugar to those using artificial sweeteners.

"Professor Jackson should be calling on New Zealanders to stop drinking fizzy drinks of any kind and to switch to drinking water," Ms Kedgley said.

"Artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks are among the most controversial additives in our food supply, with thousands of consumer complaints about adverse reactions to aspartame.

"A widely used artificial sweetener cyclamate is still prohibited in the United States, while saccharin causes cancer in rats and is considered a possible carcinogen by the American Environmental Protection Agency."

Ms Kedgley said she agreed with Professor Jackson that fizzy drinks contribute to disease and death in New Zealand, and called on him to join the campaign to remove all fizzy drink vending machines from schools in New Zealand.

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