Aspartame is Safe, the Proof is in the Science
Developed in 1965, Aspartame, one of the world’s most popular zero-calorie artificial sweeteners, has come under scrutiny. Most of the critics decry Aspartame because it’s categorized as an “artificial” sweetener. However, the truth is federal authorities on both sides of the Atlantic have continually found it to be safe.
Aspartame, which is 200 times sweeter than sugar, is used in more than 6,000 different products including diet beverages, baking and as a common sugar substitute in foodservice – think blue packet on your restaurant table.
In addition, it has become a popular choice for consumers looking to lose weight or control diabetes. In fact, the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association have said Aspartame could facilitate reductions in sugar use and aid in weight loss.
By volume, Aspartame is third most popular artificial sweetener in the world, only surpassed in usage by:
- Sodium cyclamate, is widely used in China, but banned in the U.S.
- Saccharin, the omnipresent pink packet
Critics against Aspartame claim numerous harmful side effects. It has been tested and re-tested over time, often called a dangerous additive, but never proven. Scientific tests have shown no links between Aspartame and headaches or increased appetite or any other maladies.
As recently as 2007, the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates Aspartame and other zero calorie sweeteners, said they “find no reason to alter its previous conclusion that Aspartame is safe as a general purpose sweetener in food.” This was stated after prolonged testing regarding the possible relationship between aspartame and cancer.
In 2009 and 2013, reviews by the European Food Safety Authority concluded, “there is no indication of any genotoxic or carcinogenic potential of Aspartame.” In addition, they found no brain damage or ill effects for developing infants in pregnant women.
In all, aspartame has been tested and deemed safe by more than 100 regulatory agencies worldwide.
Unique among sweeteners, Aspartame digests as a protein. It is completely broken down by the body into its components including amino acids, aspartic acid and other chemicals that are actually found naturally in many fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Both milk and tomato juice contain more chemicals than an aspartame-sweetened beverage of the same quantity.
The answer regarding aspartame’s safety may be in the numbers: Since 1965, aspartame has become a zero-calorie sweetener of choice with more than 200 million people in 100 different countries consume it in some form on a daily basis.