1. What is aspartame?
Aspartame is a non caloric sweetener. It was discovered in 1965 and entered the
market in the 80’s. A number of national and international organizations have assessed the safety of aspartame and an
international committee of experts established an Acceptable Daily Intake value. However, some allegations of health risks
have launched a debate. More...
Aspartame is a white, odourless powder, approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, used in a number of
foodstuffs throughout the world. It is marketed under several brand names, including Canderel® and NutraSweet®, and is
labelled E951 in Europe. Aspartame is stable when dry or frozen but it breaks down and loses its sweetness over time when
stored in liquids at temperatures above 30°C. More...
Some concerns have been raised about aspartame and its breakdown products. For example, it has been suggested
that aspartame may cause headaches, epilepsy and brain tumors. More...
2. How much aspartame do people consume?
The consumption of aspartame in Europe is between 2.8 and 10.1 mg/kg body weight per day. It is estimated to be
well below the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) set by the international committee of experts of the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), even for children and high consumers such as diabetics. More...
3. What happens to aspartame once it is ingested?
Following ingestion, aspartame itself does not enter the bloodstream, but instead breaks down in the intestine
into three components: aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. Following this, the blood concentration of phenylalanine may
increase after high doses surpassing the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI), while those of aspartic acid and methanol do not. More...
4. Can aspartame affect human health?
Many studies have been conducted on aspartame and its breakdown products in experimental animals and in humans.
To date, they conclude that:
There is no link between aspartame and damage to the genes or cancer. More...
Aspartame does not affect reproduction and development, apart from marginal effects at a very high dose more than
100 times greater than the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI). More...
Aspartame does not produce nervous system disorders. More...
Aspartame does not affect behaviour, cognition and mood, except possibly in depressed individuals. More...
Aspartame has not been found to trigger headaches. More...
A large number of scientists have refuted a suggested link between aspartame and epileptic seizures. More...
Aspartame does not cause allergies and has not been shown to increase body weight. More...
Several scientific committees have reviewed the health risks of aspartame and its breakdown products: aspartic
acid, phenylalanine and methanol.
Their conclusions are:
- People get far less aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol from aspartame than from normal
consumption of natural foods.
- Aspartame intakes are unlikely to exceed the current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI), even for
children and diabetics.
- While some minor effects on health may occur at very high doses, no effects are expected at or
below the ADI. More...
© GreenFacts 2004. All rigths reserved. This text is a faithfull
summary of the
leading scientific consensus report
produced in 2002
by the EC-SCF
(European Commission Scientific Committee on Food)
"Update on the Safety of Aspartame" More...