Aspartame has been at the forefront in terms if its use among diabetic patients as a low calorie sugar substitute. It is the primary component of the low calorie sodas that allow us to enjoy these drinks once in a while without feeling too much guilt of the calories they have. But controversies surround the popularity of this sweetener due to reports of associated illnesses related to its intake.
Just recently an international expert panel from 10 universities and medical schools gathered together and evaluated the safety of aspartame for people of all ages and with a variety of health conditions. The results of the study was recently published in the September issue of Critical Reviews in Toxicology.
The Expert Panel’s evaluation concluded the following:
Aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption, which remain well below established ADI levels, even among high user sub-populations. No credible evidence was found that aspartame is carcinogenic, neurotoxic or has or any other adverse effects when consumed even at levels many times the established ADI levels.
* Based on results of several long term studies, aspartame does not have carcinogenic or cancer-promoting activity.
* Results of extensive investigation in studies that mimic human exposure do not show any evidence of neurological effects, such as memory and learning problems, of aspartame consumption.
* Overall the weight of the evidence indicates that aspartame has no effect on behavior, cognitive function, neural function or seizures in any of the groups studied.
* Aspartame has not been shown to have adverse effects on reproductive activity or lactation.
* Studies conclude that aspartame is safe for use by diabetics and may aid diabetics in adhering to a sugar-free diet.
* There is no evidence to support an association between aspartame consumption and obesity. On the contrary, when used in multidisciplinary weight control programs, aspartame may actually aid in long-term weight control.
* The studies provide no evidence to support an association between aspartame and brain or hematopoietic tumor development.
In the past several insitutions have already provided proofs and guidelines regarding the safety of aspartame… which up to this point in 2007 remains a safe alternative to all of us who wants a good tasting beverage but low in calorie and no fear of raising our blood sugar! Reports of this compund to cause complications ranging from cancer to neurological deficits continue to be written in the internet causing a lot of our patients concerns but these claims remian unfounded.
The expert panel reports, I would say, should close this issue on aspartame. The panel clearly summarized their findings with one simple conclusion:
The weight of existing evidence is that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a nonnutritive sweetener.