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March 18th, 2010
11:31 AM ET

Is aspartame safe?

As a feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors answers readers' questions. Here's a question for Dr. Gupta.

From Richard Casselli, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

"How dangerous is food containing aspartame? Do you personally avoid it? Its been linked to the possible cause of brain tumours or other nervous system defects. If it's so dangerous, why is it still in our foods? Should we be avoiding aspartame?"

Answer

This is an interesting question, Richard, and an equally interesting debate that is ignited every few years or so. The big concern for some consumer groups and scientists echoes your own: Does aspartame cause cancer?

In the 1990s a researcher suggested that rates of brain cancer seemed to surge at about the same time aspartame was introduced here. Add to that various studies in rats suggesting aspartame could cause cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, and you may understand why concern about this artificial sweetener lingers.

The fact is, current evidence does not support this idea that aspartame could cause cancer, or that it is unsafe. According to the American Dietetic Association, aspartame’s safety is documented in more than 200 objective scientific studies. The Food and Drug Administration has concluded that aspartame is safe, and there are  no strong data out there to refute that.

In 2007, the most comprehensive look at the research was conducted, and the conclusion was, again, that aspartame is safe. An important caveat to that research – it was paid for by the company Ajinomoto, which makes aspartame.

Thing is, about 6,000 products – including soft drinks, gum, candy, pudding, yogurt – all contain aspartame. When a product is so widely used, it often happens that there is some scientific scrutiny. So I would imagine this debate and these studies will continue for quite a while.

You asked if I use artificial sweeteners myself. Fortunately for my waistline, I do not have an affinity for sweets, so whether the sugar is real or artificial, I tend to steer clear. I favor fresh fruit to get my sweet fix, and fruit ultimately leaves me feeling fuller.

Now, if you do choose to use aspartame, keep in mind moderation. The FDA recommends a daily intake of no more than 50 mg of aspartame per kilogram of body weight. That amounts to 22 cans of diet soda for a 175-pound man, and 15 cans for a 120 pound woman.

And you want to exercise that moderation for any ingredient in your diet. Don't go overboard with the sugar-free foods - make sure to include low-fat foods, natural sugars, and fats to your diet. Skewing your diet in any one direction will create an unhealthy imbalance.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. James Erwin

    Shouldn't the limit be lower than listed above due to the effects of Phosporic acid? I heard it can strip your body of calcium if consumed in large quantities; something on the order of 8 cans or so in a day.

    March 18, 2010 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James Reed

      Watch the documentary, Sweet Misery! It is outrageous that this product is allowed to be used in our food!!!

      July 30, 2010 at 20:09 | Report abuse |
  2. elizabeth werner

    My 6 years old son is diabetic tipe 1 and I use aspartame as sweetner for him. Is that safe for him?

    March 19, 2010 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Christina

    What about other health problems? I know aspartame causes headaches for me – I was getting severe headaches almost every day until I switched from diet soda to regular. The headaches almost instantly dropped from every day to maybe once a week.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Lito Balquiedra

    I HAVE BEEN USING SPLENDA SAID TO BE 'ALL NATURAL' IN PLACE OF EQUAL [WHICH CONTAINS ASPARTAME] SINCE ITS INTRODUCTION IN THE MARKET. I WONDER IF IT'S REALLY A BETTER SUGAR SUBSTITUTE.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • john lord

      Splenda is simply chlorinated sugar, not 'all natural'. Stevia is natural, and safe, but I personally don't like the aftertaste. Aspartame is in darn near everything and causing medical havoc everywhere. Check sites like http://www.dorway.com and http://www.sweetpoison.com or simply search for 'aspartame'. Also do some research on HFCS, MSG, Sodium Benzoate. One reader found HFCS in 31 of 32 brands of bread. I've found it even in Reser's potato salad. Why does potato salad need sweeteners in it? I think I'm going to just have switch to cooking non-preprocessed foods. I dug out a cookbook (who's even used one recently?) and found I could make pudding with milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cornstarch. I didn't need a mix – not that one should have pudding all the time, either. Also, reading more about those other sweeteners, I found that aspartame is actually making people eat more fattening foods than when they don't use it. Like many of us, I really just need to eat less and exercise more. Regarding the other sweetener, aspartame... I quit using anything with aspartame in it last July and my daily, constant sinus congestion has cleared up and we haven't had to buy any decongestants in weeks. Next on my list, I'm going to try to eliminate HFCS, MSG, and sodium benzoate, it it's hard – they're in so many products and disguises.

      August 23, 2010 at 23:53 | Report abuse |
  5. Troy

    Not disagreeing with the good doctor, but I would like to point out that the FDA originally turned down approval for aspartame. Not until the FDA got a new person in charge and massive pressure from some higher ups did this change.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Dan in MD

    Aspartame (and other articial sweeteners) causes irritability and depression in both me and my wife. We first learned of the connection from friends who were distance runners. They had identified the link and never touched anything with artificial sweeteners. I have done numerous tests to confirm the connection and it is real and very significant. If I drink a diet soft drink I will begin to feel extremely irritable and unhappy within 30 minutes or so. The effect lasts about 4 hours. I have observed similar effects from MSG and from dried fruits treated with sulfur to preserve color. Cancer may be an issue, but the extremely unpleasant effect that Aspartame has on my mental state is the big reason I avoid it like the plague.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • um...

      This is probably one of the most subjective things i've heard. You forget to realize that in your testing – when you drink a diet drink that you are now expecting to become irritable, and therefor likely do. I'm not saying the connection that you are proposing doesn't exist, but your 'findings' are quite bias.

      October 21, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
  7. Elaine

    Aspartame occasionally gives me headaches. No, I'm waiting for the required labeling for sucralose/Splenda. I've wound up in the ER barely able to breathe because of that stuff, and it's in EVERYTHING. Really scary being that allergic to something that everyone else takes for granted.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jim J. near DC

    Interesting.

    Yet I know there are lots of people, such as my wife and myself, who have allergic reactions to aspartame. The most common effect is a migraine headache which, sadly, is often misdiagnosed as being related to stress and an unnecessary prescription is then made and filled for meds to help relieve the stress that doesn't cause the headache. If a person suffers from Migraines and drinks lots of diet sodas, for example, and takes such a prescription, a revisit to your doctor might be in order to check it out. There are other sweeteners out there besides aspartame (though some hard to find in premade goods) that you could try experimentally and see if using one of these other sweeteners (I use sucralose) causes the Migraines to go away.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jacque

    Unfortunately, these same ambiguous comments have been made about other products and then years later, the lawsuits file in. Because you do not see drastic short term side-effects, does not mean it is not bad for you. I personally know that it is unhealthy, I cannot drink diet products with aspartame because I start developing a headache right away and I almost never get headaches. This does not happen with splenda. Take a cue, the doctor uses fresh fruits because it's common sense to know that intrinsically these products could not be healthy for you. It's a conscious lifestyle change he made and you can too. No one has any more of an in-born affinity for sweets than someone else, don't allow others to feed you excuses you want to hear. It may not kill you, but it certainly does not help you health wise. We need doctors who go against the grain and take a stand, I prefer someone who is either against it or for it, than someone who is on the fence. The truth is, it is either good or bad for you, very low possibility that it has no health effects.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. joe

    I cut pop out of my diet and switched to aspartame drinks: water, flavored water, and crystal light... It's actually very good and I feel better about myself. There's SOOOO much sugar in pop that I feel the switch to plain water and aspartame drinks are really helping me keep my weight down.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Kathleen Savage

    RE: Aspartame. I lost my vision. I stopped all food that contained aspartame. Within 3 days my migraines of 2 years stopped completely. Within 10 days I started seeing light and eventually got most of my vision back. I know it was the aspartame. Of these 200 studies, how many of them are not funded in some way by these aspartame companies? How many rats with brain tumors were thrown out and replaced during the study?

    March 19, 2010 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dan

      Post Hoc fallacy anyone? Aspertame is in everyting. There are so many other chemicals in foods today it is the least of our worries. I would rather drink five diet sodas than go eat at McDonalds. The problem isn't the sweeteners it is the general american diet.

      October 3, 2010 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
  12. Seth

    But what about the metabolites of aspartame, which includes methanol and formaldehyde?

    March 19, 2010 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Kevin

    I had a brain tumor and now I try to stay away from anything man made. I wont go near aspartame after reading this.

    Something that most of these studies never seem to touch on is how unique each of our genetic make up is and how these differences make some substances more deadly in certain groups of people.

    Image if aspartame caused brain cancer in a group of people who share a certain genetic trait only found in 1/1000 people. If this were actually true, clinical studies would most likely not catch it. Out of the 300 million people in the Unites States alone, aspartame would be harmful to 300,000 people.

    My example was hypothetical of course, but how could any group of scientists say they "know" this product and other man-made products are safe? Choose for yourself.

    March 19, 2010 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. peanuts

    Let's face it, nothing good can come from consuming any artificial, man-made product. If it's not straight from nature, it's best to leave it alone.

    March 19, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Kathleen

    For further info on aspertame and brain tumors, fibromyalgia, migraines, blindness etc. two places of interest: the movie Sweet Misery which I downloaded from Netflix, and the other is a website dorway.com

    March 19, 2010 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. NNNyc

    Aspartame is a dangerous silent killer

    Just how they put fluoride in our Drinking waters, you people need to research Eugenics. And no it's not a conspiracy, it's well documented.

    March 19, 2010 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. teacher

    let's see... aspartame metabolizes into formaldahyde and other neurotoxins and splenda is made by binding the sugar to chlorine so your body does not uptake it. safe? you decide if you want to be eating stuff life that.

    March 19, 2010 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Diana

    I swore by aspertame for a long time, but did not associate it with my frightening declining memory. My sister made a comment about the possibility of an aspertame connection so I quit taking anything with aspertame in it. About two weeks later I suddenly realized that my memory was greatly improved and my husband and children had quit teasing me about it!

    March 21, 2010 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Christi

    I drank several cans of diet soda for years....before aspartame replaced saccharine. The flavor in items using it just isn't the same. But most importantly, I get a "high feeling" whenever I ingest any drink with aspartame. Anyone else experienced this?

    March 22, 2010 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Kevin

    Christi – not sure what could cause a "high feeling" but that doesn't sound healthy to me. Remember that everybody is different and artificial "stuff" can effect some people differently than others. I heard of a guy who would have seizures whenever he drank diet soda with aspartame.

    March 22, 2010 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Christi

    I'm not the only one I know that has experienced this. Maybe the correct term to use would be "euphoria" for he feeling I get when I intake aspertame. And yes, my body does work different than some. I have many things causing an anomoly of medical mayhem.

    March 22, 2010 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Rich Murray

    Aspartame is 11% methanol, which the body quickly turns into formaldehyde and then formic acid - both serious toxins for all tissues.

    A quart of aspartame drink holds about 3 12-oz cans, with about 600 mg aspartame, supplying about 66 mg methanol, about as much methanol as in a typical pint (1/2 quart) of red wine.

    The ordinary ethanol alcohol in wine prevents the formation of methanol.

    In the case of the infamous "morning after" hangover from drinking the previous evening, the ethanol is all gone from the body, so the person wakes up sober - but then the immediate conversion of the remaining methanol into formaldehyde helps set off the painful symptoms of hangover.

    Methanol in the body drops by half every 2 hours, so after 8 hours, it is down to about 1 % in the blood, a body dose of only about 1 mg.

    People vary a lot in their sensitivity. Folic acid helps protect against methanol toxicity. Check this out in Widipedia.

    March 22, 2010 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Patricia

    has anyone considerer Stevia as an alternative ? rgds Patricia

    March 24, 2010 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Kay

    Yes, Christie! I was, years ago, a Diet Coke drinker. I became convinced that I was getting a 'little extra something' from the DC beyond the caffeine. It seemed addictive. I haven't touched it for years. In my 20s, I suffered back pain, just above my kidneys, memory loss, and an episode of blindness. Actual blindness (!) for two days; I wouldn't have believed it, if it didn't actually happen in my life. I no longer suffer from these things, but I drink water and eat real fruit, avoiding juices for the most part, and never soda. Better off w/ real sugar than artificial sweeteners, and we limit that, too. Notice the doctor didn't answer directly – he can't – regarding his personal opinion of aspartame. The lobbies here are very powerful; they have controlled public knowledge of adverse affects very well.

    March 24, 2010 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Carolyn

    I've stayed away from it since my pregnancy in '07. Often wondered WHY no one has ever studied a link between artificial sweetners and autism.
    (Autism has mushroomed, so has the use of artificial sweetners. Many women, especially calorie conscious ones, consume products laden with artificial sweetners.)

    March 24, 2010 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Marc

    Just because it hasn't yet been proven to be bad, doesn't mean it isn't. Aspartame hasn't been around nearly as long as sugar. I'd say the results aren't in yet.

    On another note. You people need to ween yourselves off sugar. Learn to like bitter flavors. Yes, learn. Stop drinking soda. Stop eating cookies and cakes. Yes, just stop it. If you think you can't stop, then you need to stop acting like a baby and grow up. Stop buying sugary foods for your kids. Just stop it. Stop being lazy and cook your kids a decent meal that isn't preprocessed and loaded with sugar or aspartame.

    All of you people are on the internet. Start using it to find out what healthy foods really are and stop paying attention to marketing on food packages. Just allow a little more time in the day for contemplating and learning about healthy eating. Rather than passively wondering about whether Aspartame is good or bad, as you suck on that soda straw; figure out away to get yourself off sweets. Its not hard, but you need to remain conscious of it and put in a little bit of effort.

    March 24, 2010 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Barbara

    I was always a big diet soft drink lover and then started eating diet cookies with filling made of aspartame as I was trying to lose some weight. I also switched to yogurt with aspartame to save calories. Within a few weeks, I started having dizzy spells and heart palpitations. I ended up at a cardiologist's office where I found my symptoms had suddenly disappeared the day of my scheduled tests. I had been off of all diet soft drinks for three days prior to the test and had to fast overnight before the tests. When I resumed my diet after the testing, the symptoms reappeared within a few hours. I didn't recognize at first that aspartame might be my problem and called the cardiologist and said my symptoms were back. They were going to make me wear a heart monitor for several days until the lightbulb went on in my head that it might be the aspartame. It was, because I quit all aspartame products and the symptoms never reappeared again.

    March 25, 2010 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Michael

    Wow – So aspartame causes headaches, autism, blindness, euphoria, dizziness, heart palpitations, migraines, memory loss, addiction, irritability, and depression? Come on, people. You're talking about your self-perceived, self-measured health effects. Don't you think there's a more rigorous way to test it? Over 200 studies have shown that aspartame is safe. Unless there is a conspiracy among the entire scientific community, ASPARTAME IS SAFE! Don't you think a scientist would have a lot more to gain by doing a study with rigorous methodology that proved that it was dangerous? Those kind of studies that prove the entire scientific community wrong lead to fame, fortune, and grant money like you wouldn't believe. Drink diet soda or don't, but please don't spread misinformation. It's this kind of paranoia that has people avoiding immunizing their kids, threatening us all with the spread of diseases we haven't seen in decades.

    March 27, 2010 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      The scientific community is at the mercy of those with the money to fund it. It isn't a conspiracy, just good business.

      February 16, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
  29. Mari

    As a nutrition graduate student, I feel the need to explain EXACTLY what is happening inside your body after you consume aspartame. (This information coming directly from one of my nutrition text books).
    Aspartame (chemically) is made up of two amino acids and a methyl group (CH3). When aspartame is metabolized in your body, these three components are split by enzymes – the amino acids are absorbed normally just as if they had come from protein-rich foods.
    The methyl group momentarily becomes methanol, which is potentially toxic. However, the methanol is quickly oxidized into formaldehyde, another toxic chemical. But, formaldehyde is also quickly oxidized in to carbon dioxide! Carbon dioxide then dissolves in the blood stream, becomes bicarbonate and is flushed out by the kidneys or taken to the lungs and expired.
    This is why the FDA approved aspartame as safe when consumed in moderation. Key word being moderation!!!! If you don't like the idea of aspartame, that is perfectly fine. We should not be consuming sodas in the first place, but if you insist, stay away from normal soda that contains ridiculous amounts of sugar or high fructose corn syrup – which is stored as fat when not burned through adequate exercise.
    Think about this: ounce for ounce, tomato juice yields 6 times as much methanol as diet soda!
    Please do not believe health claims that do not come from a reliable source (ie wikipedia, your brothers best friend who is married to a doctor). Information gets lost/changed in translation – do your own research if you have questions! check out pubmed.com for recent scholarly research or go to a medical library and read at text book!!

    April 1, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      And as a human being you should be aware that just because your text book says so, does not mean that is the case in every body that ingests aspartame.

      February 16, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
  30. nanaki

    read the book sweet deception by dr joseph mercola and it will tell you about the various artificial sweeteners.

    April 1, 2010 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Tiffany

    for the one that said we are spreading misconceptions... well I don't drink diet soda or any other diet drink with any artificial sweetners because every time... I mean every single time I get a headache within a half hour to an hour later and then pretty much feel like crap. Its not a myth and alot of items are tested and tested and it takes years for things to actually come out to be had for you. How about the euphedra... they didn't think that was bad at first. so I don't think these people are spreading misinformation. I do believe in immunizations because they are healthy and are something needed. No one needs to have aspartame. They aren't even in a food group and provide no nutritional value at all. So you cannot even compare that.

    And normal sugar isn't bad for you either. It is perfectly natural and as long as you don't have a weight problem it is fine in moderation.

    April 1, 2010 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. nanaki

    Actually, in regards to splenda, the lab technicians were trying to make an insecticide. They happened to get some on their fingers and accidentally taste it. Yuck, now we sweeten our food with it!

    April 1, 2010 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. whiteyward

    Some Children exhibit the symptoms of Asama so removing all aspartame can "cure" that misdiagnose. Also athletic Children show shortness of breath, inability to run long distances and argumentative behavior. This observation is from a parent. Aspartame is poison to Children.

    April 2, 2010 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Tracey

    If aspartame is safe, then why do doctors tell pregnant women not to drink diet sodas?

    April 6, 2010 at 09:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Teresa

    I have drank pop with apsartame for years. I am now having racing heart and heart palpitations. I have been going to the heart doc and so far they can not find anything wrong. I have been in the ER twice in the last year when my heart was racing over 200 beats per minute and they had to shock my heart to get it back in normal rythem. I know I am not crazy and do have real feelings of the above symtoms. Could it be caused by the aspartame?

    April 7, 2010 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Alanna

    I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 7 years old. I am now 29 years old. I have been consuming aspartame containing drinks for 22 years. Know what? I'm fine. No headaches, heart problems, or dizzy spells. But that's just me. If you eat something and it makes you feel poorly, don't eat it. Certain people just can't eat certain things. That doesn't mean there is a conspiracy or the product is poison. It just means YOU can't eat/drink it. My boyfriend can't eat shellfish because he is allergic. When he does, he get a full body rash that ends up looking like full body dandruff. Not cute. So, he doesn't eat it. Maybe those of you with issues are allergic to aspartame?

    April 8, 2010 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      You know, your analogy would make more sense if there were shellfish in many food products, including some not labeled as containing shellfish. I think in a society where every person is expected to work full time, where we no longer have the time or knowledge to procure food from raw ingredients by baking everything from scratch unless that is all we want to do in our spare time, that processed food manufacturers have an obligation to ensure that what they are selling to us is safe to even those with food and drug sensitivities. There are just too many people with these sensitivities now, even if it is just 1% of the population, that is still millions of people.

      February 16, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
  37. Kristin

    In 1985 my mom was drinking up to 2 or 3 liters of Tab a day. This had Nutra Sweet in it. She ended up having a seizure and they found that cause to be artificial sweetner. I NEVER touch the stuff. I am extremely sensitive to it and if unbeknownst to me I digest something with artifical sweetner, I get a really bad aftertaste followed by extreme thirst and a headache. It's bad news people....read the facts. This current study is bs.

    April 8, 2010 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Thrash

    aspartame has been shown to produce cancer in mice, and yes it took serious lobby to get it approved,same with that nasty chemical tasting junk sacrin(sacrine)also shows signs of producing cancer,just use sugar in moderation and get off the couch there potatoe( e no e dan quayle ),chemicals consumed for long periods not a good idea,next time your in the doctors ask him to test your blood for Teflon i dont think you will like the results, later news followers.

    April 8, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. redplanet

    I am shocked at the number of people who drink soda of any sort. No one I know does. It's junk food, trash food. And quoting a text book as a source of information on aspartame? Oh, please. Textbooks are not the be all and end all – there is so much more information – and usually a much higher quality from other sources. Textbooks were out of date the day they were published – and don't forget they are written by people with agendas and to please the masses they want to adopt them.

    Aspartame as neurotoxin – go research. And remember, documents that proved the dangers of aspartame went missing. Research that also.

    April 9, 2010 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Stephanie

    I am a diabetic and have been using Equal for some time now. It is the only sweetener that has an agreeable taste to it. I work in the health field and know the problems associated with diabetes and guess what, memory loss and depression go hand and hand with each other. I also work in the psychological field, and feel that with the high stress that is created in the media with regards to products causing disease individuals with problems related to migraines might consider the fact that they are caused by stress or perhaps allergies just as well as diet soda. I too have suffered with migraines but I even had them in my childhood and I promise I did not even know about aspartame at that time. I believe that people who feed on hysteria should seek help. Get the facts and besides every one of us humans are ultimately frightened of death but everyone that is born is guarranteed to die.

    April 13, 2010 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. John

    Great attitude Stephanie.
    Everyone knows that we all die, but I would not want to die young from aspartame and I definately would NEVER use Equal, but that's just me.

    April 14, 2010 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Rebecca

    Fortunately, I associated my intake of this "new" sweetener in the early 80's as a contributing factor to migraines, which I had never had in my then-36-years of life. The down side is that almost everything "low cal" or "fat free" now has this stuff in it, so my choices are directed toward the natural foods – not really a bad thing. Migraines are no fun – but something on which I can count if I don't read labels very, very carefully!

    April 20, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Glenn

    Aspartame is known to cause illness and toxic reactions in the body. It is very harmful. It is present in artificial sweeteners. You need to reduce the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Aspartame contains Phenylalanine which is one form of amino acids which is quite dangerous. It is better to drink water than these sweet beverages. People consuming aspartame might have the following disorders like multiple sclerosis, dizziness, headaches etc. For more details refer http://www.areyoudiabetic.net/aspartame-dangers.html

    April 28, 2010 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Caroline Bryant

    i read somewhere on the internet that long term consumption of Aspartame is not really good for the health. *"-

    May 11, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Anna Hyde

    Just letting you know that I have tried several artificial sweetners and have had the same reaction to them all: Intestinal bleeding and I am allergic to the cure – sulfa. I think they are all dangerous and avoid them like the plague. I just wish the labels would stop using all different names for it. I only have to have one glass of something with artifical sweetner to become very sick. Months to cure with steriods – which I absolutely hate to take.

    May 26, 2010 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sandy Alden

    I just received an email about aspartame calling it a sweet poison – a woman claiming she had ms symptoms from drinking 4 – 8 diet cokes a day for 20 years and someone else being diagnosed with Lupus – symptoms disappeared when they stopped using products with the aspartame in it. Here is a quote from the email:

    "When the temperature of this sweetener exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis... Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants. The methanol toxicity mimics, among other conditions, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus."

    I'm thinking this is one of those urban legions, but wanted a professional to comment on this. Thanks!

    June 2, 2010 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. JA

    Can you have an allergic reaction to this sweetener? I've been drinking this in a tea, diet and I seem to have gotten a rash, trying to find out what has caused it.

    June 6, 2010 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Leah

    All of these individual stories may be true, but I have allergic reactions to many things, does that mean they're bad for everyone? Most of the things I am allergic to are "natural", so how is that possible if all of the people espousing using only "natural" products? Let us not forget that hemlock, poison ivy, snakes, and digoxin are all "natural" and all mildly annoying to fatal if incorrectly used.

    Splenda makes my heart race, does that mean I have an allergy to it and should avoid it or that it should be taken off the market?

    June 7, 2010 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Nicky Smith

    How is it possible that there are many, many pages on the Internet warning people against the use of Canderel/Aspartame etc. These warnings are from scientists, doctors, etc etc etc. who have done extensive research on Aspartame. They all conclude that the use of Aspartame can lead to blurring of the eyes, blindness, epilepsy, cancer etc. etc.
    How is it possible that these scientists can make such assumptions and yet be wrong according to many other "Scientists/Doctors" telling us that the use of Canderel sweetners are not harmful??

    June 10, 2010 at 06:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. LaVerne Hogan

    For about 3 years I have experienced leg pain. It got so severe, I went to a doctor. He did 3 sonograms and found no reason for the "muscle and tendon" pain. He suggested some medication, but, I did not want to take perscribed meds. I'm 77 and do not take any prescribed meds. I have been using articicial sweetners in my c offee for a long time, mostly Equal and Sweet'N Low. I did some reasearch on the internet and learned Aspertame (EQUAL) would mimic the disese Fibermaylasia(? spelling) symptoms I was experiencing in my legs. I was using 6 packets of Equal a day in coffee, as well as Fruit Sentations gum,, and probably other things containing Aspertame. On Friday 6/04/10 I stopped using Equal, and Sunday 6/06/10 my legs stopped hurting and have not hurt since. P{lease research the ingreidents in your foods, especially artificial sweeteners and do not consume them. I wish I could get the word out to EVERYONE about the difference of life without ASPERTAME.

    June 19, 2010 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.