Artificial Guilt

Great piece in the New York Times Magazine about our Dr. Frankenstein-like quest to play God, subvert sin, and build a better artificial sweetener.

The science on these questions is inconclusive at best. There’s no clear evidence that artificial sweeteners cause cancer or obesity, at least in human beings. But the fear of artificial sweeteners was never quite a function of the scientific evidence — or never of just that. It stems as much from a sense that every pleasure has its consequences: that when we try to hack our taste buds in the lab — to wrench the thrill of sugar from its ill effects — we’re cheating at a game we’ll never win.

Just beware the first paragraph, which may spoil aspects of Breaking Bad for those who have not finished it.