With the varied studies debating the effects of aspartame, everyone now wonders whether it is indeed bad for the body. This article tries to answer this question.
Aspartame is composed of 2 amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. It is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. Therefore, it is commonly used as an artificial sweetener in many foods and beverages. It has become a permanent ingredient in diet sodas, sugar-free chewing gum, and other such products. It is sold under the brand names NutraSweet® and Equal®. Many consumers use this product as an alternative to sugar, particularly those who are diabetic or are trying to lose weight. Ever since aspartame was approved as a sugar substitute by the FDA in the year 1974, there are several debates that question whether it is bad for you or safe to be consumed.
Aspartame has been tested for safety and approved by the FDA, and has set its ADI (acceptable daily intake) value at 50 mg/kg of body weight.
A study conducted during the 1980s, associated the use of aspartame to the increased rate of brain tumors in the US. However, the National Cancer Institute, suggests that the rate of increase in brain tumor began long back before the commercial use of aspartame. Also, other studies were conducted to establish any link between aspartame and brain tumor, but none were successful.
Most studies conducted so far have not been able to prove that the use of aspartame can increase the risk of cancer. However, research is still going on to find any association between the two.
In this rare genetic disorder, the body cannot digest phenylalanine (an amino acid) found in many foods. As a result, this acid concentration in blood increases. This prevents the absorption of important nutrients by the brain, thereby leading to impaired brain development. People with PKU should reduce or avoid the consumption of foods and drinks that contain aspartame since it contains phenylalanine.
Many claims have been made that aspartame causes a number of health problems such as: include:
- Alzheimer disease
- Gulf War syndrome
- Parkinson disease
- Attention deficit disorders
- Birth defects
- Multiple sclerosis
- Mood Swings
- Digestive problems
However, many studies that were conducted have not been able to confirm the validity of these claims. Even today, experts are still studying the safety of aspartame.
There are no health risks related to the use of aspartame, apart from the potential hazards in people with PKU. However, if you are still not skeptical about its safety, then you can easily avoid its use by checking the labels before buying or eating foods or drinks.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.