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?"


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 (831 Responses)
  1. Emergency RV Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Social Media Marketing Consultants


    June 24, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Internet Marketing Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 05:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Digital Marketing Companies


    June 24, 2021 at 06:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Best RV Repair Shop Near Me

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be interesting to read content from other authors and use a little something from their websites.


    June 24, 2021 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Plumbing Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV And Truck Repair Near Me

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Best wishes! Where are your contact details though?


    June 24, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Video Marketing Near Me

    You've made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.


    June 24, 2021 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Video Marketing Business


    June 24, 2021 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Internet Marketing Agencies

    Very good blog post. I certainly love this website. Keep writing!


    June 24, 2021 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. advance auto near me

    bookmarked!!, I love your blog!


    June 24, 2021 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Sales And Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair Store Near Me

    Excellent site you have here.. Itís difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    June 24, 2021 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. la palma rv


    June 24, 2021 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. orange county trailer supply


    June 24, 2021 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It's always useful to read through content from other writers and use something from other web sites.


    June 24, 2021 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Camper Repair Shop Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. solar panels orange county


    June 25, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    I was able to find good information from your content.


    June 25, 2021 at 04:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. pharmaceptica.com

    erectile exercises https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Refrigerator Repair Near Me

    I really like it when folks come together and share opinions. Great site, continue the good work!


    June 25, 2021 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. travel trailers orange county


    June 25, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repair Orange County

    I like looking through a post that can make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!


    June 25, 2021 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Repair Near My Location

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes that will make the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    June 25, 2021 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair


    June 25, 2021 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Repair Huntington Beach


    June 25, 2021 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair Store Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 25, 2021 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal blog now 😉


    June 25, 2021 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Jamel Loston


    June 25, 2021 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Nearby RV Repair


    June 25, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. pharmacepticacom

    eunice 4 tabs https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV And Trailer Repair Near Me

    Good post. I am going through some of these issues as well..


    June 26, 2021 at 03:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Best RV Repair Near Me

    Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is very helpful. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 26, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV And Truck Repair Near Me


    June 26, 2021 at 06:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Roof Repair Near Me

    Good information. Lucky me I ran across your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!


    June 26, 2021 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Camper Repair Near Me

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't fail me as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I actually thought you would probably have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    June 26, 2021 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Herb Hughe


    June 26, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I donít know why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 26, 2021 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Near Me


    June 26, 2021 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. podcast starter kit


    June 26, 2021 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Military Leadership

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you for providing this info.


    June 26, 2021 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Amazon 14 Leadership Principles

    I quite like looking through an article that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!


    June 26, 2021 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership

    After going over a number of the articles on your website, I seriously appreciate your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site too and tell me what you think.


    June 26, 2021 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Bible Verses About Leadership


    June 26, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. National Youth Leadership Forum

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    June 26, 2021 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. the investors podcast


    June 26, 2021 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Hugh O'brian Youth Leadership


    June 27, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. wrestling soup podcast

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality sites on the net. I most certainly will recommend this site!


    June 27, 2021 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Global Leadership Summit


    June 27, 2021 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Teacher Leadership

    I used to be able to find good advice from your blog posts.


    June 27, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

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.