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Actual RESEARCH (not hearsay) on Aspartame and Safety

Posted by Joel Marion

Alright, so I ended up causing quite a stir with my post about artificial sweeteners yesterday, and today I’m back to share some research as promised. When talking artificial sweeteners, there are generally two major concerns:

1. Safety
2. Fat Loss

Let’s discuss the research surrounding both. First up, safety.

1. Butchko HH et al. Aspartame: review of safety. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2002 Apr;35(2 Pt 2):S1-93.

In this 2002 paper, over 20 years since the food additive was approved by the FDA, a comprehensive review of all aspartame research to date concluded that aspartame is indeed safe when consumed by normal humans in acceptable amounts (more on acceptable amounts in a minute).

2. Magnuson BA, Burdock GA, Doull J, et al. (2007). Aspartame: a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations, and toxicological and epidemiological studies. Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 37 (8): 629-727.

Now more than 25 years later, another safety evaluation found that the weight of existing scientific evidence indicates that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a non-nutritive sweetener.

3. Gallus S; Scotti L, Negri E, Talamini R, Franceschi S, Montella M, Giacosa A, Dal Maso L, La Vecchia C. (January 2007). Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk in a network of case-control studies. Annals of Oncology 18 (1): 40-44.

This study analyzing over 15 years of research showed a clear cut “lack of association between saccharin, aspartame and other sweeteners and the risk of several common cancers”

4. Lim U, Subar AF, Mouw T, et al. Consumption of aspartame-containing beverages and incidence of hematopoietic and brain malignancies. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention 2006; 15.

In 2006, the US National Cancer Institute concluded in a study of over a HALF MILLION men and women aged 50 to 69 that there was no statistically significant link between aspartame consumption and leukemias, lymphomas or brain tumors.

A study of over a half million HUMANS showing no statistically significant link between aspartame and cancer, and three other 15-25 year comprehensive reviews of ALL the available research, all finding that aspartame is indeed safe when consumed in acceptable amounts.

That sure seems to ring more factual than someone’s “conspiracy” website to me.

Now, I could have sat here and listed out a couple hundred papers showing no statistical significance, but instead I chose to list the review papers who already included that data in their 20+ year review.

So, you’re probably wondering what’s “acceptable”?

You’re bound to find this interesting…

Based on all available research, scientists first determine the maximum amount of a food ingredient that can be safely consumed daily over a person’s lifetime. Then, just in case they screwed up by 10,000%, they divide this number by 100 and call that the ADI (acceptable daily intake).

Just in case you didn’t get that, the ADI is actually 100 TIMES LESS than what has been scientifically determined to be safe, as an extremely conservative precautionary measure.

So what’s the ADI for aspartame?

The ADI for aspartame has been set at 50mg/kg of body weight (again, this is 100 times less than what has been determined safe).

But to even reach the ultra conservative ADI, a 150-pound adult would have to consume about 20 12-oz. diet carbonated soft drinks, or 33 8-oz. servings of powdered soft drink, or 42 4-oz. servings of gelatin, or 97 packets of tabletop sweetener each and every day.

And people are still worrying about safety issues based on a couple studies done on RATS being fed the aspartame equivalent of up to 2,000 cans of Diet Coke daily. No, that is NOT a misprint.

Before going any further, let me just clarify my recommendations.

1. I do not think non-nutritive sweeteners, particularly aspartame as it’s perhaps the most studied nutrient of all time, are the devil.

2. Despite the ADI, I do not recommend anyone drink 20 diet soft drinks or use 97 packets of Equal daily.

3. If you are drinking a caffeinated beverage, such as Diet Coke, etc, then I would recommend you limit your intake to one can per day.

4. If going with something non-caffeinated, you can be a little more liberal, but the bulk of your daily fluid intake should still come in the form of good old fashion water.

5. In Summary: Drink at least a half gallon of water daily, but feel free to enjoy other non-calorie drinks in moderation (1-3 beverages per day)

6.  Lastly, if you personally as an individual experience adverse reactions like headaches, dizziness, etc, due to the use of aspartame, then don’t use it.  Just realize that you fall into .0000001% of the population and shouldn’t preach your personal experience as truth for all.  One of my friends is allergic to chocolate, but she doesn’t go around telling everyone else that it’s poison.

So it looks like my recommendations are actually 1,000 times less than what has been determined safe, and I’m pretty comfortable making that recommendation.

Alright, this post is already going longer than I anticipated, so I’m going to save the research on non-nutritive sweeteners and weight loss for tomorrow.

At least 100 comments and I’ll be back tomorrow with that data (which you’ll probably find even more interesting).

In clarity and moderation,


P.S.  My friend Isabel kind of bashes artificial sweeteners in the below video, and while I do NOT agree with that stance, I do agree with just about everything else she shares for losing up to 10% of your unwanted body fat in the next 30 days.  You can check it out here for some eye-opening, actionable tips:

How to lose up to 10% of your unwanted body fat in the next 30 days <——- Click here

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