WHAT IS ASPARTAME?
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener which is added to food, drinks and medicines to provide sweetness without calories. It can be found in sugar free gum, diet drinks, light yogurt, sugar free jello, and even some cough medicines. It has been used since 1983.
ASPARTAME IN THE NEWS
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published new findings on the safety of aspartame. WHO lists substances by level of possibility of causing cancer: (1) is carcinogenic, (2) probably carcinogenic, (3) possibly carcinogenic and (4) not carcinogenic. For the first time, aspartame has been classified as “possibly carcinogenic”, which is the lowest level. To put that classification in perspective, things that are classified as probable or actual carcinogens include red meat, alcohol and sun exposure.
IS ASPARTAME SAFE?
The US Food & Drug Administration continues to support their previous recommendation that the acceptable daily intake levels of aspartame are 50 mg per kilogram of body weight. This means that a 150-pound person could safely drink up to 17 cans of soda per day.
CAN ASPARTAME BE A PART OF A HEALTHY DIET?
Because aspartame replaces sugar in many foods, drinks and medicines, its use can be helpful for people with diabetes since regular sugar may not be well tolerated. Aspartame may also help with weight loss if you replace sugary foods with foods made with artificial sweeteners that contain few or no calories.