Misleading rumors and unsubstantiated stories about aspartame dangers fill the airwaves and the Internet. But rumors about aspartame risks are highly overstated and not supported by all of the credible research-based evidence. This evidence supports the safety of the sweetener as part of a healthful diet with over 200 studies conducted over the past three decades. Following repeated testing and review by scientific and healthcare organizations around the world whose focus is to ensure the safety of the public’s health, regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have all affirmed aspartame’s safety.
One exception as to consumption is for those with Phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare inherited disease that prevents the essential amino acid phenylalanine from being properly metabolized.
Here is a summary of several well-known and respected organizations’ positions on aspartame.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.
After initial approval in 1981 for a limited number of food categories, aspartame was authorized as a general-purpose sweetener for foods and beverages in 1996. The FDA states, “Aspartame is one of the most exhaustively studied substances in the human food supply, with more than 100 studies supporting its safety. FDA scientists have reviewed scientific data regarding the safety of aspartame in food and concluded that it is safe for the general population under certain conditions. However, people with a rare hereditary disease known as phenylketonuria (PKU) have a difficult time metabolizing phenylalanine, a component of aspartame, and should control their intake of phenylalanine from all sources, including aspartame.”
Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) is an international expert scientific committee that is administered jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It was initiated in 1956 to evaluate the safety of food additives and has evaluated more than 2,500 food additives, including an evaluation of aspartame combined with the sweetener acesulfame that took place in 2000, available here.
European Food Safety Authority
EFSA is a European agency funded by the European Union established in 2002 to be a source of scientific advice and communication on risks associated with the food chain.
In 2013 EFSA undertook a rigorous review of all available scientific research on aspartame and its breakdown products, including both animal and human studies and concluded “Aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure.”
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. It is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.
The 2012 Position Paper of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Use of Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweeteners states, “Consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive sweeteners and nonnutritive sweeteners (NNS) when consumed within an eating plan that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Reference Intakes, as well as individual health goals and personal preference.” In reference to any adverse effects aspartame related to aspartame consumption the paper concludes, “Aspartame consumption is not associated with adverse effects in the general population.”