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Is Aspartame Dangerous?


Aug 1, 2002

Urban Myth Still Circulating on the Internet

Q: I received an e-mail recently that has been circulating around the Internet since 1995. It concerns the sweetener aspartame. Is this sweetener dangerous to use?

Doris Mountjoy
Escondido, California

Diabetes Health asked Marion Franz, MS, RN, CDE, of Nutrition Concepts by Franz to respond to this.

A: This e-mail and others like it continue to be passed around on the Internet even though there is no scientific evidence to support the claims linking aspartame to fibro-myalgia, lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, Gulf War syndrome and seizures.

Repeated studies in peer-reviewed journals show no adverse effects of aspartame in relation to seizures (in rats, children, or adults), weight gain, body temperature, cognitive/behavioral/neuropsychiatric/neurophysiologic function, brain/intestinal/liver hormones or enzymes, brain tumors, cancer, birth defects (in rats or humans), Parkinson's disease, allergic responses, blood pressure, or carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.

In 2001, the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology published an evaluation of aspartame's use and safety since its approval (vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 221-233). This evaluation, which cited extensive scientific research investigating various allegations, reported that no causal relationship between aspartame and adverse effects had been found and that, even in amounts many times what people typically consume, aspartame is safe.

For example, 12 ounces of a typical diet drink contain about 200 mg of aspartame. Healthy men have ingested up to 10,000 mg of aspartame without exhibiting any side effects.

Many organizations—including the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, the Fibromyalgia Wellness Letter and the American Diabetes Association—have issued statements refuting the claims that have been circulated on the Internet.

Aspartame does contain methanol [wood alcohol]. However, many fruits and vegetables also contain methanol. In fact, there is more methanol in a glass of tomato juice than in a diet drink. The body treats methanol the same whether it comes from fruit or from aspartame.

All nonnutritive sweeteners—such as aspartame—must undergo rigorous testing and must be judged safe for the public to consume before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves them for marketing.

Furthermore, the FDA determines an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for many food additives, including nonnutritive sweeteners. The ADI represents an intake level that is considered very safe even if maintained each day throughout a person's lifetime.

In the case of aspartame, the ADI is 1/100th of the level that has been tested and shown to be safe. The ADI for a 50-pound child is 7 diet sodas or 32 packets of sweetener per day.

Editor's note: In the June 7, 1999, issue of The Wall Street Journal, Marilyn Chase reported that since the FDA approved aspartame in 1981, it has received more than 7,000 consumer complaints about the product—the most common complaint being a headache. Controlled trials, however, were unable to make any link between aspartame use and headaches.


Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Government & Policy, Nutrition Research, Sugar & Sweeteners



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Comments

Posted by Anonymous on 16 June 2008

hmmm. My boyfriend's mother is a diabetic that keeps getting worse. The main problem is that she has not changed her eating habbits, and that includes aspartame. She uses that stuff pretty heavily. She also has bad shoulder pain and random vertigo(which is rumored to be an effect of apartame). She uses tons of drugs and now she has had to use insulin shots recently. It's sad but I can't be to sad for her since she has not changed her habbits that have caused her illness.

I'm going to see if Taking aspertame out her diet might help her in anyway. It can't be good for you.

Posted by Anonymous on 22 September 2008

Where are the health regulators and laws that are to protect us from
food and drug on this dangerous health issue? This concerns many people in the world. We are concerned about animals and care which is good, but who will feed those animals rights if we are sick or dying because of lack of legislation on this health issue of Aspartame and its danger to our lives?

Posted by Anonymous on 23 September 2008

There is no medical proof.

Posted by Anonymous on 25 October 2008

aspartame sucks!!

Posted by Anonymous on 20 December 2009

Do the research and you will find that aspartame was approved by political pressure from Donald Rumsfeld and his friends in Washington in total negligence of scientific studies that show the harmful effects of aspartame. Money talks, all who have pushed this chemical through the FDA to allow it to be marketed to the soda companies, and artificial sweetener companies have been supplied with prestigious jobs in GD SEARLE or related firms. This article does not cite the actual independent studies that showed the factual data, unlike the manipulated data by scientists under the employ of GD SEARLE. The company was under investigation until Don Rumsfeld disregarded all the evidence that had been submitted to him when he was president in 1977 of GD SEARLE. Research has found major evidence to conclude that aspartame is a poison and is linked to many serious side effects in the human body, as well as the laboratory animals that were tested.
Marion Franz is obviously not aware of the facts or is looing the other way just as Donald Rumsfeld did for probably the same reasons...money!


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