In response to a slew of cyber rumors that aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) contributes to a variety of ailments, George Pauli, associate director for science and policy at the Office of Food Additive Safety for the FDA, says: "Aspartame...has been widely tested, and we've come up with no problems at all."
Saccharin is a slightly different story. Extensive tests have proven that high doses cause bladder cancer in rats, but the National Cancer Institute has determined that people who ingest saccharin show no greater risk of cancer than those who abstain from the stuff. But, Pauli adds, "It's a lot easier to do rigorous tests on rats than it is on people."
Bottom line: If terms like "unlikely" and "not a strong risk" don't soothe you, stay away from saccharin.
Our December issue features Oprah's Favorite Things—as well as your chance to win them all! You'll also find our easy holiday declutter plan, Dr. Oz's guide to sleeping better (starting tonight) and the ultimate holiday menu.