Should consumers worry about the safety of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners? Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, a chemical that was created in a chemist lab. According to the Calorie Control Council, which is a non-profit established in 1966, aspartame has over 200 scientific studies supporting its safety and regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have determined that it is safe for use. They do not say safe for consumption though. The American Cancer Society reports that most of the studies in people have not linked aspartame to an increased risk of cancer.
“One early study suggested that an increased rate of brain tumors in the US during the 1980s might have been related to aspartame use. However, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the increase in brain tumor rates actually began back in the early 1970s, well before aspartame was in use. And most of the increase was seen in people age 70 and older, a group that was not exposed to the highest doses of aspartame, which might also make this link less likely. Other studies have not found an increase in brain tumors related to aspartame use.
In the largest study of this issue, researchers from the NCI looked at cancer rates in more than 500,000 older adults. The study found that, compared to people who did not drink aspartame-containing beverages, those who did drink them did not have an increased risk of lymphomas, leukemias, or brain tumors.”
Interestingly, studies continue because the safety of sweeteners such as aspartame is being questioned. The American Cancer Society says that people report side effects associated with aspartame but most people have no issue with this artificial sweetener. Live Strong points out that back in 1999, “Time” magazine cited from Susan Shiffman, a medical psychologist, that headaches, mood swings, anxiety disorder and others complaints were associated with artificial sweeteners. Very interesting and as a diet soda drinker who is trying very hard to give up this habit to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety, I’m scratching my head wondering where the truth lies.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2009 reported there is no indication of aspartame being a possible carcinogenic risk, yet they continue to research and in 2020 they’ll have another report to further rule on the safety of aspartame.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assesses the safety of sweeteners such as aspartame in the European Union. According to a 2009 report from its Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food:
“Overall, the Panel concluded, on the basis of all the evidence currently available… that there is no indication of any genotoxic or carcinogenic potential of aspartame and that there is no reason to revise the previously established ADI for aspartame of 40 mg/kg [body weight].
Though research into a possible link between aspartame and cancer continues, these agencies agree that studies done so far have not found such a link.”
A Consumer Decision
As a consumer, this is confusing and frustrating. How is it that an artificial sweetener that was created in a lab by a chemist be added to hundreds of drinks and consumable products be deemed 100% safe for consumption? I am uncertain are you? Do you eat or drink products with aspartame? When I look at the side effects reported and read through blog posts where people discuss how they no longer consume artificial sweeteners and how they feel better and they no longer have headaches or mood swings, I wonder if maybe all of these studies are missing something. I am not an expert or scientist but it seems as though we are somehow not connecting the dots.
What is your opinion and how do you feel about aspartame safety, are you concerned?
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