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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 11:53 AM
Original message
Orin Hatch (R-UT), Nutrasweet, and the "Nutritional Supplement" conspiracy
Edited on Mon Jan-03-05 11:55 AM by IanDB1
Let me start by saying that NOT all nutritional supplements are bad. NOT all nutritional supplements are worthless.

With that out of the way...

The free reign nutritional supplements have is a Republican plot that many on both the right (and especially) the left have fallen for.

They have used a Roveian trick on us: Republican style de-regulation has been spun into "medical freedom" and "medical choice."

The chief architects of this fiasco called "The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) were Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

THIS IS THE SAME Orin Hatch that people (especially the left) cite when they claim Nutrasweet is dangerous!
Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) for using his influence to kill a bill introduced by Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) to fund a non partial study on the effects of aspartame by NIH /

However one year later under the new Reagan administration, Searle resubmitted their app with "new" evidence and it was accepted by the FDA and held from congressional scrutiny by Orin Hatch and other Reagan Republicans - who also fostered it's expanded use into children's vitamins and soft drinks less than two years later.

Between 79 and 82 four FDA officials who took part in the aspartame approval process left for jobs in the industrial nutrasweet community - Senators Hatch, Heflin and Byrd reportedly received numerous campaign contributions thereafter from Searle

Personally, I'm skeptical of the whole "Nutrasweet is bad for you" campaign.

But the point I am trying to make is this: Why do the same people who believe Orin Hatch lied to us about Nutrasweet believe he acted honorably in de-regulating nutritional supplements?


From The National Council Against Health Fraud:

Orrin Hatch takes two media hits. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), whose 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act has greatly weakened the FDA's ability to protect consumers, has been rebuked for suggesting that the FDA has not done enough to protect the public from ephedra's dangers. Calling Hatch's remarks "a dazzling display of hypocrisy," Time senior science writer Leon Jaroff said, "The time has come for drastic revision of DSHEA, the re-empowerment of the FDA and the rejection of cynical proposals by legislators like Orrin Hatch." Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times noted:

* From 1998 to 2001, while Hatch's son Scott worked for a lobbying firm with close ties to his father, supplement industry clients paid the company more than $1.96 million, more than $1 million of it from clients involved with ephedra.
* In 2002, Scott Hatch opened his own lobbying firm in partnership with two of his father's close associates. So far, the firm has received at least $30,000 in retainers from the National Nutritional Foods Association and a major manufacturer of ephedra (Twinlab) , both of whom were clients of the previous firm.
* During the past decade, Orrin Hatch has received nearly $137,000 in campaign contributions from the supplements industry.

For more good information:

Why the FDA Does Not Approve Supplements
David A Kessler, M.D, J.D.
This article is a slightly condensed version of a talk given at the Good Housekeeping Institute Consumer Safety Symposium on Dietary Supplements and Herbal Remedies, held in New York City on March 3, 1998. Dr. Kessler was FDA Commissioner from 1990 through 1997 and currently is dean of Yale University School of Medicine.

How the Dietary Supplement
Health and Education Act of 1994
Weakened the FDA
Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Most people think that dietary supplements and herbs are closely regulated to ensure that they are safe, effective, and truthfully advertised. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although some aspects of marketing are regulated, the United States Congress has concluded that "informed" consumers need little government protection. This conclusion was embodied in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 -- commonly referred to as "DSHEA" -- which severely limits the FDA's ability to regulate these products.
Background History

In the early 1990s, Congress began considering two bills to greatly strengthen the ability of federal agencies to combat health frauds. One would have increased the FDA's enforcement powers as well as the penalties for violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act <1>. The other would have amended the Federal Trade Commission Act to make it illegal to advertise nutritional or therapeutic claims that would not be permissible on supplement labels <2>. During the same period, the FDA was considering tighter regulations for these labels.

Alarmed by these developments, the health-food industry and its allies urged Congress to "preserve the consumer's freedom to choose dietary supplements." To whip up their troops, industry leaders warned retailers that they would be put out of business. Consumers were told that unless they took action, the FDA would take away their right to buy vitamins. These claims, although bogus, generated an avalanche of communications to Congress <3>.

The end result was passage of DSHEA, which defined "dietary supplements" as a separate regulatory category and liberalized what information could be distributed by their sellers. DSHEA also created an NIH Office of Dietary Supplements and directed the President to appoint a Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels to recommend ways to implement the act <4>. The Commission's final recommendations were released on November 24, 1997 <5,6>.

The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines "drug" as any article (except devices) "intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease" and "articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or function of the body." These words permit the FDA to stop the marketing of products with unsubstantiated "drug" claims on their labels.

To evade the law's intent, the supplement industry is organized to ensure that the public learns of "medicinal" uses that are not stated on product labels. This is done mainly by promoting the ingredients of the products through books, magazines, newsletters, booklets, lectures, radio and television broadcasts, oral claims made by retailers, and the Internet.

DSHEA worsened this situation by increasing the amount of misinformation that can be directly transmitted to prospective customers. It also expanded the types of products that could be marketed as "supplements." The most logical definition of "dietary supplement" would be something that supplies one or more essential nutrients missing from the diet. DSHEA went far beyond this to include vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids; other dietary substances to supplement the diet by increasing dietary intake; and any concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any such ingredients. Although many such products (particularly herbs) are marketed for their alleged preventive or therapeutic effects, the 1994 law has made it difficult or impossible for the FDA to regulate them as drugs. Since its passage, even hormones, such as DHEA and melatonin, are being hawked as supplements.

The rest at:

United States Senate Special Committee on Aging
Hearing on Swindlers, Hucksters and Snake Oil Salesmen:
The Hype and Hope of Marketing Anti-Aging Products to Seniors
September 10, 2001

U. S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
December 1, 1995

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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. Vegetables, Fruit, Lean Meats & Fish, Milk & Whole Grains
The other "nutritional supplement."

Personally, I don't need the FDA to tell me that I don't want to pump a bunch of questionable chemicals into my body. And the ones that I do choose, I choose of my own free will, knowing both that they're possibly bad for me, and that I chose to use them, myself.

Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, don't smoke, drink organic iced tea and coffee instead of "Diet Coke," excercise and eat a bowl of Total Raisin Bran every morning, and you don't need to worry about what Orrin Hatch is doing.
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. oh & I wanted to add
I agree with the other posters that Hatch is scum, and I do worry about some of the other crazy things that he stands for -- like Utah.
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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. That's a great idea in theory
"Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, don't smoke, drink organic iced tea and coffee instead of "Diet Coke," excercise and eat a bowl of Total Raisin Bran every morning, and you don't need to worry about what Orrin Hatch is doing."

Except for people like me.I've done the whole eat/drink healthy for the past 15 years. But Auto-Immune disorders run in my family. My sister suffered from Lupus. I have a cousin with ankylosing spondylitis which has fused his spine. I was suffering from something all the Dr.s I went to couldn't pin down, possibly RA, possibly Sjogrens...And they didn't offer me a damned bit of advice other than: Take some NSAIDs and hope it doesn't get worse. If it does, we'll try some precription meds.

Well, screw them. I did the research...on my own. And after 18 months of taking various vitamins, medicinal herbs and further dietary restrictions, I am feeling better than I have, literally, in years. I don't like Hatch. But allowing people like me to manage my own health has saved both me and the government money. And I'm not just a collection of weird symptoms to a med. student. I'm aware of my body and it's needs and I know how to best address that.

Don't paint all supplements and those who take them with the same - psychosomatic, hypocondriac, too lazy to eat well, uninformed lemming- brush.
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leesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
2. Well, seeing as how Nutrasweet was on the DODs list to be tested
as a WMD, I think there might be something to it. If it does cause short-term memory problems and faulty reasoning, it would be an excellent toy for mass behavioral control.

Who would trust ANYTHING Orrin Hatch does?? Especially if Rumsfeld, The Murderer, is involved?
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gulfcoastliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. Hatch is scum
If the repugs want to talk aboutmedical freedom, why don't they campaign for medical marijuana? Hypocritcal scum. Excellent post.
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dreamcollector Donating Member (180 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
I didn't read your whole post. Knowing how aspartame got approved should make you suspicious enough. < > is a rather messy and sensational seeming web site but I'd trust the content more than some of the professional journals. I am a doctor's wife (Canadian) and when aspartame was approved in Canada my husband and all his colleagues put out the word no members of their family were to consume any products containing aspartame. Years later, divorced from my spouse, I drank gallons of diet pepsi and went blind in one eye. (Aspartame attacks the optic nerve.) A few years later still I began to have burning and stinging eyes and silver flashes and floaters in both eyes. Accidentally stumbled upon < > and was horrified. My local supermarket only stocked fruit yogurt with aspartame and I had been using it regularly. I threw out what I had in my fridge and my symptoms were gone in ONE DAY! I have told oodles of people about aspartame and they have stopped using it and their health has dramatically improved. Considering the illnesses it causes this is the single worst evil the American government has unleashed on your country. I have yet to try to find out why Health Canada approved it. But do take the dangers of diet drinks, sugarless gum and all that VERY seriously!
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idiosyncratic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I agree. Aspartame is insidious in the symptoms it causes.
I am very sensitive to Aspartame and can feel its effects almost immediately.

Other people aren't so lucky. They may experience mood disturbances (irritability) that they don't relate to drinking diet drinks.

I knew one man whose children told him they liked him better when he didn't drink those drinks. They said, "You aren't mean anymore."

Headaches and even mild siezures can be caused by drinking diet drinks.

It is amazing what people report when they stop their daily ingestion of aspartame. If you drink diet drinks, or use Nutrasweet, stop using it for at least ten days. Maybe you won't actually notice the difference, but your friends and family might see it.

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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
7. I've been drinking Diet Coke for 20 years with no ill side effects
Other than occasional (and very occasional) upset stomachs from the carbonation, which any kind of pop contributes to when I'm stressed out from work.

I use sugar in cooking/baking, and don't drink as much pop as I did when I was younger, because I'm trying to drink more water and less pop.

Like anything else in the world, there are people who are sensitive to aspartame, and can't consume it. I'm not one of them. It beats saccherine/Tab.

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. If you believe Orin Hatch lied about Nutrasweet
Then how can the same people believe he did the right thing by exempting "alternative medicine" from FDA review?

1) Orin Hatch is bad because he stopped the FDA from reviewing Nutrasweet.

2) Alternative medicine is good, because Orin Hatch stopped the FDA from reviewing it.

How can people reconcile that?
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