Aspartame is one of the most controversial artificial sweeteners.
Aspartame is one of the most controversial artificial sweeteners. Some studies claim the negative health consequences of Aspartame. Dr. Roberts reports that by 1998, Aspartame products were the cause of many complaints. Some of the reported side effects of Aspartame:
- Change in mood
- Abdominal pain
- Change in vision
- Memory loss
- Muscle spasms
- Shooting pains
- Numbness in the legs
- Joint pain
- Anxiety attacks
- Slurred speech
All the above symptoms were coined together as Aspartame disease. Aspartame is under the United States Food and Drug Administration regulation (US FDA). FDA has assured that there isn’t concrete evidence to prove the link between the side effects and Aspartame. Still, there has been some evidence to suggest that some of the above symptoms can be related to Aspartame.
What is Aspartame?
Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal, and Sugar Twin) is an artificial sweetener that is 160 to 220 times sweeter than sucrose. Aspartame provides high calories; hence, it should be used in small amounts for restricting the calorie intake.
FDA has approved Aspartame as a general purpose sweetener and can be found in more than 6000 food products.
The FDA has limited the daily intake of Aspartame to 50 mg/kg of body weight. Depending on the body weight, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) value varies. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., your weight in kg would be 68 (150 divided by 2.2), and your ADI for Aspartame would be 3400 mg (50 x 68).
The European Scientific Committee has concluded that the ADI of 40mg/kg of Aspartame is generally safe. However, people with metabolic disorders should consume Aspartame with caution or avoid it.
Here is the amount of Aspartame in some common foods:
- 12 oz diet soda: Up to 225 mg of Aspartame
- 8 ounces drink from powder: 100 mg of Aspartame
- 8-ounce yogurt: 80 mg of Aspartame
- 4 ounces gelatin dessert: 80 mg of Aspartame
- 3/4th of a cup of sweetened cereal: 32 mg of Aspartame
- One packet of Equal: 22 mg of Aspartame
- One tablet of Equal: 19 mg of Aspartame
What percentage of the human body is water?
Who should avoid Aspartame?
People with the following conditions should avoid aspartame:
- Phenylketonuria: It is an inherited metabolic disorder, where the body cannot metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine. Aspartame consists of two amino acids, namely aspartic acid and phenylalanine. People with this disorder may find it difficult to metabolize Aspartame.
- Tardive dyskinesia: It is a neurological disorder characterized by sudden, uncontrollable jerking movements of the face and the body. Experts have claimed that phenylalanine in aspartame may trigger involuntary muscle movements.
Does Aspartame affect blood sugar control?
Many studies have claimed that Aspartame does not shoot the blood sugar level. Since it is 220 times sweeter than sugar, the amount of Aspartame needed for consumption at one time is negligible. However, people with diabetes should be cautious about the food and drinks they consume. Consult your physician or registered dietitian to get an idea about your diet and ways to keep your blood sugar under control.