Aspartame - is it safe to consume?
Aspartame - is it safe to consume?
Sanket

Sanket

Aspartame: Is it Safe to Consume?

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If you’ve ever used aspartame before then hopefully you will appreciate what an amazing discovery it was. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar and has virtually no calories which makes it an ideal choice for people struggling to lose weight. It’s frequently used in foods, medications, and beverages. However, since it is a “chemical” sweetener, its safety is one of the most hotly debated topics of the 21st century.

 

How Much Can You Consume?

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame in adults is 50mg/kg/day. However, most adults consume only between 5-15% of the ADI. In a review about the safety of aspartame consumption, it was found that there are potential negative effects of consuming it even in the safe range. However, the review consisted of only animal studies and therefore its applicability to humans can be called under question.

 

Research on Aspartame

Since it is such a controversial topic, for every study that suggests a beneficial role of aspartame there is another study to negate it or even show negative outcomes i.e. there is a lot of contradictory evidence. However, a recent review on the metabolic effects of aspartame in adulthood, concluded-

“Taken as a whole, the evidences for the effect of aspartame on metabolic variables associated to diabetes and obesity, are limited and do not support or refute a beneficial or harm related to consumption of this sweetener”

According to a review, it could help with weight loss,  especially in those individuals who have a sweet tooth. This is because aspartame is a wonderful sugar replacer as it tastes almost like sugar.

 

Sugar is not Bad

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that sugar is bad, but cutting out sugar on a weight loss diet will remove a lot of unnecessary calories. If you have a sweet tooth that comes in the way of weight loss, you must check out my article on artificially sweetened mithai (sweets) for calorie control

 

Look at the Diet as a Whole

It is important to not focus on just aspartame and learn to look at the diet as a whole. If you aren’t losing weight, it’s not because you consume aspartame! It’s because you aren’t in a calorie deficit.

For example, for the sake of argument let’s say that aspartame worsens insulin sensitivity but say we told a client to use aspartame anyway. If this leads the client to reduce the consumption of sugary processed foods, reduce weight and exercise regularly which would lead to better insulin sensitivity, can we still say that aspartame is bad?

 

Is it Safe to Consume Aspartame?

To conclude, the evidence is contradictory and there isn’t enough evidence in humans to suggest that aspartame either harms or benefits the human body. Real life is multifactorial and not a randomized control trial and therefore, we can just use the research to best inform our dietary decisions in the modern world. Go forth and have your diet cokes.

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