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Table of Contents

How To Make a Classic Bearnaise Sauce
This Is Why You’re Fat
Easy Dinner Recipes For Those With No Time
Should You Use Artificial Sweeteners?
Lean Belly Breakthrough Review

Lean Belly Breakthrough Review

How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off Permanently
Walking for Weight Loss Success Stories
Walking for Weight Loss
Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
Phen375 Review

Phen375 Review

What Is The Perfect Female Body?
Plus Size Models Have No Place in Fashion
Do Diet Pills Work?
Dietitian Debunks the “Nutrobabble”
PhenQ Review

PhenQ Review

Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For You?
The Best Diabetic Diet is Simply a Healthy One
A Fat Free Future – Fat Chance?
Sweet Pill to Swallow
3 Week Diet Review

The 3 Week Diet Review

It’s Lent: The Official Time to Start Sinning
There Are Many Different Types of Yoga
Relaxation Therapy is All in Your Mind
Yoga Bends Back the Years
Yoga Burn Review

Yoga Burn Review

How To Make a Classic Bearnaise Sauce

Presiding over a brazier the size of a cocoa tin was a tall woman of storybook splendor. Everything about her billowed, from her startlingly white lace blouse and bright print skirts to her big, beautiful smile. Mini kebabs were her business and she cooked them on a shady corner of a square in one of the world’s enchanted places – Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

Firewood cooking

It was the great size of the woman and her tiny toy stove that made the picture so memorable, but the economy of her enterprise is interesting too. Wherever fuel is in short supply people cut food into small pieces so that it cooks quickly using a minimum of heat.

Contrast that frugality with the expenditure on fuel and paraphernalia that barbecuing seems to demand in this country.

charred burgers

Somewhere along the line the idea of simplicity in alfresco cooking seems to have been lost, and with it, if we are not careful, much of its charm. I want something closer in taste and spirit to the freshly caught fish cooked over a riverbank fire than to a hellzapoppin’ poolside cook-out furnished with barbecue everything from aprons to steel bands and nothing better to eat than a charred hamburger.

With ingenuity and a large roll of kitchen foil you can cook almost anything on a barbecue. What I question is whether there is any point in trying to.

flavored butters

The most successful open-air cooking is invariably the least contrived – grilled steaks, chops, fish, poultry or vegetables accompanied by new bread and lavishly dressed salads. In every case the unbeatable combination is of good raw materials with interesting marinades to prevent drying and add extra taste. Flavored butters and mayonnaise sauces show off plain grills much better than strong, colorful barbecue unguents from the supermarket shelf.

Tarragon is the crucial flavor in a classic bearnaise sauce served with steak or thick slices of rare roast beef. Take the first steps of the traditional recipe, then make a simpler bearnaise butter to serve in chilled dabs on lamb chops or grilled chicken as well as with steaks or hamburgers.

Bearnaise Sauce

Put the vinegar in a small pan with the wine, shallots, tarragon and chervil or parsley. Bring to the boil and cook until the liquid has reduced to about two tablespoons. Allow to cool then strain the liquid, discarding the herby residue.

Beat the liquid into the softened butter and season it well with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the butter to firm it up then form into a cylinder approximately 4cm (1 1/2 in) diameter. Wrap and chill it thoroughly. Keep chilled until needed then cut in fairly thick slices which melt when they come in contact with the hot meat.

herb butters

Even easier herb butters, made by beating chopped herbs into softened butter and adding a little fresh lemon juice, are chilled and served in the same way. My dill plant has been felled by London sparrows, so feathery, aniseed flavored fennel leaves will have to do in butters for fish and poultry until a replacement has been planted.

If no herbs are available there is always garlic to fall back on or cupboard flavors like anchovies, olives, and capers.

Cholesterol watchers may prefer mayonnaise sauces to butters. The idea of accompanying meat with mayonnaise has been a successful fondue formula for years and it is better with barbecues. A mild mayonnaise crammed with chopped dill is superb with fish steaks or with chicken. Sage goes well with chicken too, as does tarragon.

Horseradish mustard

Experiment with mustard too and horseradish. Try adding quite large quantities of either to mayonnaise based sauces to serve with steaks or beef kebabs.

There are very few foods which will not benefit from spending an hour or two in an appropriate marinade before being committed to the fire, and basting with the same mixture during cooking.

Note that the marinade does not contain salt because it would simply draw moisture out of meat and fish instead of helping to retain it. For this same reason do add salt to the marinade if it is to be used for vegetables. It will help to draw moisture from the vegetables and start the softening process which cooking will finish.

vegetable kabobs

For those who do not enjoy meat or fish, vegetable kebabs, made up of parboiled new potatoes and chunky pieces of aubergine, red pepper, courgette, mushroom and onion are one of the most popular things i cook over charcoal. Everything is marinated for a couple of hours before cooking. The trick is to cut the vegetables into pieces which all take approximately the same length of time to cook.

Any of the marinades used in Indian tandoor cooking are splendid for barbecues too. In Delhi a couple of years ago I tasted, among numerous dishes normally cooked in an enclosed tandoor and even there, as here, cooked over open charcoal, tikka panir. This consists of cubes of fresh pressed curd cheese which have been flavored with a pungently herbed and spiced marinade – mint, coriander, garlic and ginger figured large – then grilled over charcoal. Delicious, and worth trying with firm tofu.

Paneer Tikka

And still on the subject of cheese, why not a summery outdoor version of raclette, the Swiss speciality of melted cheese scraped onto a plate and eaten with new potatoes? Wrap chunks of cheese in double layers of vine leaves and cook over the charcoal until melted.

This Is Why You’re Fat – It’s Not All Your Fault

why am I fat

Fat people eat too much don’t they? Or is it that their bodies don’t burn energy as fast as those of slim people? Are they less able to convert it into heat? Did nature mean them to be bigger? In other words, are you overweight because you eat too much, or because you have a slower body metabolism that makes you fat?

The study of obesity has been riddled with difficulties, and despite reams of learned papers, these questions have remained unanswered among scientists as well as the public.

Now a group of British babies has helped researchers to provide the first really clear-cut answers. Doctors at the Medical Research Council’s Dunn Nutrition Unit in Cambridge, using new techniques for measuring human energy intake and expenditure in an ultra-precise way, have shown that early in infancy babies who are later destined to become fat eat about the same as babies who grow to an average size.

babies

This lets the mothers of many fat babies off one guilt inducing hook: that of being accused of over-feeding their offspring.

The study, which followed the babies during their first year of life, showed that those babies which put on more weight expended less energy than those whose weight stayed normal, even though they were all eating the same.

But the study also discovered that at three months, while the babies were still the same size and their fat or thin propensities had not yet been expressed, both groups burned exactly the same amounts of energy while they were asleep.

active vs passive

This suggests that it was not different ‘resting’ metabolisms that were the reason for the differences in weight that emerged but different levels of energy expended when the babies were active: the ones who would become fat were less lively when awake, and therefore burning off fewer calories, than the ‘thin’ group.

‘At three months, the ones who are going to be fat have exactly the same resting energy expenditure as the normal babies. Yet their total energy expenditure was reduced. So we have shown that the reason for this was that they were using up less energy in activity – they were more placid,’ says Dr. Alan Lucas, a Dunn scientist.

This finding, that the eventual chubbiness of the ‘fat’ babies was not due to their eating any more than usual, has sparked worldwide interest. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, along with a report by American researchers of a similar study among a group of Pima Indians in Arizona, chosen because they are known to be extremely likely to gain weight – by their early 20s, as much as 80%-85% of the Pima population is obese.

Pima Indians

By keeping track of the Indians over a period of two years, the US scientists found that those who later gained the most weight were burning fewer calories, rather than eating more. It was only about 80 calories fewer a day than was normal for their body sizes. But Dr. Eric Ravussin, the study director, calculated that that was enough for a weight gain of 9lb a year.

The researchers found similar lower rates of energy expenditure among family members, in agreement with previous studies showing that a tendency to become obese is inherited.

It was that tendency for obesity to run in families that helped the Cambridge team to set up their research. In all, 18 babies took part, all of them born at the Rosie Maternity Hospital in Cambridge. Six came from thin mothers, and these, as expected, all developed as regular sized babies. The other 12 were the babies of fat mothers, chosen in the expectation that a fair proportion of these would grow into fat babies.

fat baby

In the event, half of them did exactly that. A baby was judged as being fat if its weight relative to its length put it among the top 10% for babies nationally. At nine months, that meant weighing an average of about 24-251b (11 kilos), compared with about 20lb (9 kilos) for the ‘thin’ babies.

Controversy continues, however, over whether the study results mean nature or nurture is responsible for obesity. In America, the findings by Lucas, a consultant pediatrician, and his coworker, Dr. Susan Roberts, have been seized upon as vindication for the theory that the tendency to obesity is innate – that is, that some people are born to be fat.

In Cambridge, however, Lucas does not claim that the study findings have proved obesity to be the result of some biochemical abnormality in the way fat people burn energy. The discovery that the two groups of babies metabolized their food at the same rate while asleep points way from any simple biochemical explanation.

fat kid

‘There could be an inherent problem, a biological difference that makes the babies who become fat less active,’ he said. ‘Alternatively, they may be less active for social reasons, such as that the fatter mothers may treat their babies differently – they may be less active themselves. That is unlikely to account for all the differences in the babies, however, because in such young babies we would expect much of their activity to be spontaneous.

‘Our next studies will explore this question of whether he differences are social or biological. At this stage, we are excited simply to have been able to put these babies into the category of reduced energy expenditure rather than overeating.’

The main aim behind the research is to find out eventually whether early diet, and energy expenditure patterns, are important to the quality of later life.

Fit people vs unfit people

Britain has been declared a nation of fatties by authoritative medical bodies such as the Royal College of Physicians, which in a recent report estimated that up to 30% of the population at different ages were overweight – and warned that they could all be at risk of developing heart disease as a result. In the US, panel, which concluded that any degree of overweight, even 5lb or 10lb, may be hazardous to health.

But not all experts agree that people whose plumpness earns them the medical description of ‘overweight’ should actually be regarded as abnormal. It may be that a much wider variation around the average should be regarded as normal, they argue.

Fat Genes

‘I’m not at all convinced that moderate obesity is a health hazard or even a biological abnormality,’ says Professor John Durnin of Glasgow University’s Institute of Physiology.

In Cambridge, Lucas thinks there probably is a relationship between fatness in early life and later tendencies towards certain kinds of health problems. ‘If that is so,’ he says, ‘understanding its causes will be of immense importance.’ But there may also be a genetic propensity for some people to weigh more, he says.

While the mothers of plump babies can take comfort from the study that they are not over-feeding their infants, the findings provide no grounds for the truly obese to argue that their size has nothing to do with their eating habits.

The reason they may seem to put on weight with unfair ease is that once gluttony in adult life exceeds a certain level, the body changes in ways that allow it to absorb more readily a higher level of food consumption.

fatty foods

The average adult has about 25 billion fat cells distributed in clusters around the body. When calorie intake exceeds expenditure, the cells can swell to almost three times their normal size. But beyond a certain point, they begin to multiply, up to a maximum of about five times normal. And the process has never been known to reverse.

Rather like a former alcoholic who cannot risk a drink, former fatties really do have to be much more careful of what they eat.

Easy Dinner Recipes for Those With No Time

too busy to cook

No time to cook? It’s such a mantra, it should be a pop song refrain. We’re used to getting home tired, late and hungry from Monday to Friday to find nothing in the house that’s edible except the family pet. But now it’s happening to our precious weekends. Saturday and Sunday, the traditional “windows of opportunity” for home cooking, are getting crunched as well.

What with the shopping, cleaning, gardening, sport, family and friends – not to mention the remote possibility of sleeping in – our playtime cooking could turn from being a therapeutic pleasure, a form of relaxation in itself, to something that is more of a necessary evil and a bit of a chore.

no time to cook

I love long, lazy meals of slow-cooked food when I’m in a long, slow-cooked frame of mind – probably whenever there’s a decent bottle of red around. But now there are weekends when I’m just too busy or too pooped to care what I eat, as long as it tastes good, looks good and is on the table in the time it takes to drink a Campari and soda. So here are a few of my fastest no-time-to-cook recipes, those that have beaten the clock in their time trials to become personal favorites.

Try one this weekend. Do what you want to do all day, then walk into the kitchen, and put the timer on for 15 minutes. By the time it goes off, you should be putting food on the table.

multi-tasking cook

It helps to have a few basic things on hand, but that’s not the real trick. The secret is in being able to do two things at once. You do one thing, while the rest of your food does another. In the recipes shown here, you have time to dress a rocket salad while spicy chorizo sausages and sweet red peppers are sizzling in the pan for a golden, open-faced omelette. You can pan-fry tuna steaks while you’re mixing pesto with mayo to dress it with, or chop cucumber and celery for an Asian stir-fry while the noodles are soaking.

In the most extreme example, you can let brown sugar, yoghurt and cream slowly caramelize overnight while you dream of sleeping in.

no microwave

A lot of people react to the no-time-to-cook dilemma by taking a shortcut to the nearest freezer or microwave. Wrong. Shortcuts deliver only shortcut flavor and shortcut satisfaction.

We have to be able to feed ourselves with good food, properly sourced and appropriately cooked, that just happens to be quick. The point is not that it takes less time to cook good food than it does to shop, or wait for home delivery.

Those 15 minutes spent getting dinner ready are better spent in cooking for yourself than in reheating food that some stranger has cooked in a factory.

cook for yourself

When you cook for yourself, you know exactly what you’re eating, how fresh it is, and what goes into it. It’s yours. You may have even added a new ingredient, or an idea, to your repertoire of recipes. You’ve done something good for yourself. That’s why those who cook, cook, and those who don’t, don’t.

Besides, the less time we spend cooking, the more time we can spend at the table eating it and talking about it, which surely is one of the joys of a good weekend.

Smoked Trout with Preserved Lemon

Feeds 6-8 as a starter. Takes 15 minutes.

A touch of the Middle East turns smoked trout into something quite irresistible. Harissa, a paste made from dried red chiles, can be really hot so add a little and taste before adding any more, or substitute half a teaspoon each of dried chili powder and sweet paprika.

-1 large or 2 small smoked trout or 650g trout fillets
-2 preserved lemon quarters
-2 tbsp lemon juice
-1 tsp harissa paste
-Freshly ground black pepper
-4t bsp whipping cream
-Sea salt
-4 chicory

Remove skin, head and tail from the trout and discard. Carefully peel the fillets from the bone, and discard bones. Flake the fish gently with a fork until fluffy, removing any very fine bones.

smoked trout

Rinse the preserved lemon, and discard the pulp. Finely chop the rind. Combine trout, rind, lemon juice, harissa, cream, and a generous amount of pepper in the food processor and blend until creamy. Taste for sea salt, remembering the preserved lemon is quite salty. (If making ahead of time, chill until required.)

Cut off and discard the chicory roots. Separate the leaves, wash and dry. Serve the trout pate with chicory leaves to use as edible scoops.

Tuna with Tomato and Pesto

Feeds 4. Takes 15 minutes.

The fastest pan-seared tuna known to man.

-4 tuna steaks
-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-Half cup dry white wine
-Sea salt
-Freshly ground black pepper
-4 vine-ripened tomatoes
-2 tbsp pesto
-4 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
-1 tbsp lemon juice

Trim the tuna steaks, discarding any skin or black flesh, and marinate in olive oil, white wine, sea salt and pepper for five minutes. Cut each tomato crosswise into three fat slices, discarding top and bottom, and season with salt and pepper. Beat pesto into mayonnaise, and set aside.

tuna with tomator and pesto

Heat a non-stick frying pan and sear the tuna steaks on one side for two minutes, then turn and do the other side for around two minutes, leaving them pink in the center. Heat a second pan, add a little extra oil and sear the tomatoes over medium heat on both sides until golden brown.

To serve, place a tuna steak on a warm dinner plate, sprinkle with lemon juice, arrange seared tomatoes on top, finish with pesto mayonnaise, and serve.

Stir-fried Chicken with Noodles

Feeds 4. Takes 15 minutes.

When stir-frying, keep the heat high, and keep flipping the food up and over, rather than stirring. Use this marinade for chicken whenever you do a stir-fry and it will be good and tender.

-1 chicken breast, skinless
-1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
-1 tsp cornflour
-350g fresh egg noodles
-2 tbsp peanut oil
-1 garlic clove, squashed
-1 slice fresh ginger
-200g mangetout, finely sliced
-2 celery stalks, finely sliced
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-2 tbsp oyster sauce
-2 spring onions, finely chopped

Marinade:

-1 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
-1 tsp cornflour

Cut chicken against the grain into thin slices, and cut each slice in two. Make the marinade: mix soy, rice wine and cornflour in a bowl, and toss chicken to coat. Mix remaining rice wine and cornflour and set aside.
Place noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water for one minute. Drain well and set aside.

stir-fried chicken with noodles

Heat wok until hot and add oil. When hot, add garlic and ginger and toss for one minute to flavor the oil, then discard garlic and ginger. Add the chicken and stir-fry for two minutes until lightly colored. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, add a little extra oil if necessary, and when hot, add mangetout and celery and stir-fry for two minutes. Add the noodles, chicken, soy sauce and oyster sauce, and stir-fry for two minutes until hot. Add the cornflour mixture and bring to the boil, tossing. Add spring onions, toss well and serve.

Chorizo and Red Pepper Omelettes

Feeds 4. Takes 15 minutes.

Serve each individual omelette flat, topped with a rocket salad, or fold it once, incorporating the rocket leaves, which will soften and wilt on the way to the table.

-1 sweet red pepper
-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-2 fresh chorizo or merguez sausages
-1 tbsp red wine vinegar
-Sea salt
-Freshly ground black pepper
-200g baby rocket leaves
-8 large eggs
-1 tsp paprika

Cut red pepper into long strips, discarding seeds and ribs. Cut the strips into small dice.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, and add the red pepper. Cut the chorizo sausages in half lengthwise, and pinch out small knobs of the meat into the fry pan, discarding the skin. Fry for five minutes until cooked, then pour off any excess oil.

chorizo and red pepper omelette

Mix the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and dress the rocket leaves.

Crack two eggs into a small bowl, add a little of the salt, pepper and paprika, and beat well. Stir in one-quarter of the fried sausage and red pepper mixture. Heat a little extra olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, tip the omelette mixture in and swirl it to cover the base. Fry for two minutes, until golden beneath and almost cooked on top. Slide onto a warm plate, and keep warm as you cook the remaining omelettes. Top each one with a handful of rocket leaves and serve hot.

Should You Use Artificial Sweeteners?

sweet n low

Is it safe to consume artificial sweeteners? The safety of saccharin–a calorie-fee substance with 300 times the sweetening power of sugar–has been in question since shortly after its discovery, in the late nineteenth century.

Harvey Washington Wiley, the chief of the Bureau of Chemistry in the Department of Agriculture from 1883 to 1912, asked in 1908 for a ban on the use of saccharin in foods under the authority of the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt, who used saccharin in a futile attempt to diminish his girth, objected, and the ban was set aside. In 1912 the government decided that saccharin could be used in products for healthy people.

Despite the government’s restriction, Monsanto Chemical Works, of St. Louis, then the country’s largest producer of saccharin, continued to make and sell the artificial sweetener for general use. The government brought charges against the company in 1916, but the case was struck from the docket in 1925, because it had become clear that no jury in St. Louis would convict Monsanto of wrongdoing.

In 1958 the Food and Drug Administration included saccharin on its famous GRAS (“generally recognized as safe”) list. Through the years saccharin was never absent from the shelves.

The first convincing evidence that saccharin poses a risk to health came in the 1970s, when studies undertaken here and in Canada showed that rats that had ingested a large quantity of the artificial sweetener developed bladder cancer at a higher than normal rate. In 1977, as a result of this finding, the FDA announced its intention to ban saccharin under the Delaney clause of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, which prohibits the sale of any food additive shown to cause cancer in test animals or human beings.

public outcry

The public outcry against this decision was loud. Consumers had had to give up cyclamates, an alternative to saccharin, in 1970, when the FDA had banned the substance as a possible carcinogen. They were horrified at the prospect of having no low-calorie artificial sweetener whatsoever.

Congress quickly responded to the protest by declaring a moratorium on the ban and requiring only that saccharin and foods containing it carry warning labels. It has renewed the moratorium every two years since.

equal sweetener

Saccharin’s rival for the market in artificial sweeteners is aspartame, the product known as Equal in its tabletop form and as NutraSweet when used by food manufacturers to sweeten processed foods and beverages. Made by the pharmaceutical manufacturer G. D. Searle & Co., aspartame has enjoyed overwhelming consumer acceptance since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Aspartame contains as many calories by weight as sugar but is 180 times sweeter. Although Searle’s contention that aspartame tastes “nearly identical” to sugar is not universally accepted, the product does lack the metallic aftertaste of saccharin, and therefore many consumers prefer it. Already aspartame is being used to sweeten more than seventy products, including cereal, desserts, drink mixes, and chewing gum, many of which are clearly aimed at children.

aspartame

Aspartame is composed of aspartic acid and phenylalanine, amino acids that occur naturally in many foods–in large amounts in meat, milk, and eggs. Although Searle has made much of the fact that the components of aspartame are found in protein, the claim is somewhat misleading. Although the aspartic acid and phenylalanine in aspartame have natural analogues, aspartame itself is far from a natural construct. Ordinarily, aspartic acid and phenylalanine combine with as many as eighteen other amino acids to form proteins. Because aspartame consists of only aspartic acid and phenylalanine, it delivers these amino acids in a much more concentrated form than a person would normally consume.

About one out of every sixty people carries a gene that makes phenylalanine somewhat difficult to metabolize. People with two such genes have a disease called phenylketonuria, or PKU, a rare disorder that can very quickly result in retardation if the victim consumes more than carefully controlled amounts of phenylalanine. People with PKU must avoid natural sources of protein. Aspartame is also off-limits to this group, and the labels of products that contain it are required by law to bear warnings.

PKU

Searle says in its promotional literature that “the entire family can enjoy products made with NutraSweet,” although it does caution parents of children with PKU or with one PKU gene to “consult their physicians or dieticians” before using the sweetener. Searle does not mention that screening for a single PKU gene is not at all routine or that very few of the country’s four million PKU carriers have been identified as such.

Seymour Kaufman, a biochemist at the National Institute of Mental Health, fears that pregnant PKU carries could endanger their unborn children by consuming aspartame. “There’s a bad misconception that aspartame is the same thing as protein,” he says. “The trouble is that the taking of aspartame is not at all to be equated with the eating of protein.

aspartame

Phenylketonuria is believed to be the result of an imbalance of amino acids, and this can be mimicked when we take aspartame. It cannot be mimicked by eating meat.”

According to Neil Holtzman, the chairman of the Committee on Genetics of the American Academy of Pediatrics, fetuses and children under the age of six would be especially vulnerable to these effects, because their brains are still forming. In 1980, when the FDA established a board of inquiry to judge the safety of aspartame, Searle estimated that the average consumer would ingest no more than ten milligrams a day per kilogram of body weight. But in hearings on the artificial sweetener held by Congress, an attorney for the FDA said that consumption is hovering at around 30 milligrams per kilogram on average and that the FDA considers safe.

tv ad

“The fact that television commercials encourage people to eat aspartame straight really drops the bottom out of the issue,” Holtzman says.

The national Centers for Disease Control reviewed more than 500 reports of such symptoms as headache, dizziness, and mood changes out of roughly 600 that had been filed by people who associated these symptoms with their consumption of aspartame. The centers concluded that a systematic clinical study of these people would be necessary to determine whether or not their complaints could be linked directly to aspartame. According to James Greene, a spokesman for the FDA, such a study is under way at Duke University, with funding from Searle.