A comprehensive review of more than 500 studies evaluating aspartame once again puts the rumors and myths to rest. A panel of eight leading experts in the areas of toxicology, epidemiology, metabolism, pathology, biostatistics etc., conclusively determined that aspartame is safe. The review, “Aspartame: A Safety Evaluation Based on Current Use Levels, Regulations, and Toxicological and Epidemiological Studies,” was published in the September issue of Critical Reviews in Toxicology, the premier journal in its field.
The expert panel concluded, “Controlled and thorough scientific studies confirm aspartame’s safety. .” The review also notes, “Aspartame is a well-characterized, thoroughly studied, high intensity sweetener that has a long history of safe use in the food supply and can help reduce the caloric content of a wide variety of foods.”
The panel examined more than 500 studies including those evaluating a possible link between aspartame and behavior, reproductive health, neurological functions, cancer and tumor development, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, allergies, depression and seizures, hyperactivity, etc. As part of the review, the scientists also evaluated the most recent food consumption data on aspartame intake. The panel found that even among the heaviest users, aspartame consumption is well below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI).
The panel also evaluated aspartame’s role in weight loss/control. The panel found that there was no scientific evidence to support the allegation that aspartame is related to weight gain. The review states, “Aspartame does not increase hunger in those who use it; to the contrary, studies indicate it might be an effective tool as part of an overall weight management program.”
“The findings of the review are not surprising given that aspartame brings nothing new to the diet – as aspartame is made up of amino acids and a small amount of methanol – all of which are found naturally in other foods,” notes Beth Hubrich, a dietitian with the Council. “This review further supports the re-affirmations that have been made by regulatory and health agencies worldwide regarding the safety of aspartame,” she added.
In addition to FDA, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Commission (SCF), and regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have reviewed aspartame and found it to be safe for use.