They found multiple significant flaws, as described above, and concluded:. The data on total malignant tumours do not provide evidence of a carcinogenic potential of aspartame. As I have noted before — you have to interpret a literature, not a single study.
The results of one lab or one study can be erroneous. When decades have produced hundreds of studies on a question, the cherry pickers will always have a lot to choose from. That is why systematic reviews are necessary, and it is also necessary to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each type of research.
In this case studies in humans have found no cancer risk from aspartame. Animals studies are problematic and have produced mixed results, but no clear evidence of a neoplastic risk. A separate question is whether or not aspartame causes headaches in some people. While there is not a lot of specific data on this, there are case reports of aspartame triggering migraines in susceptible people.
Migraineurs frequently have multiple food triggers, and there is a long list of foods known to be potential migraine triggers. This is not evidence for toxicity. So while evidence is lacking to demonstrate aspartame is a headache trigger, this is not implausible and not particularly worrisome. What I recommend to patients with frequent headaches is to keep a headache diary, rather than trusting to memory and confirmation bias to detect real associations.
If there is a clear pattern between a potential trigger and headaches, then avoid that trigger. The theory is that using zero-calorie sweeteners dissociates the sensation of sweetness from caloric intake, so that sweetness will cause less satiety, leading to increases in overall sugar and calorie consumption.
The question of aspartame and weight control is a complex one, and can be approached from many research angles. Here is a recent review of research.
At present the question is very much unsettled. It seems that there is no significant metabolic and no demonstrated neuronal effect from artificial sweeteners. However, people who knowingly consume diet drinks do tend to overcompensate by consuming greater calories overall. While studies of substituting aspartame for sugar in a blinded fashion show that calories are reduced, contributing to weight loss. By my reading, the current summary of available research is that consuming calories in drinks contributes to weight gain and obesity, substituting calorie-free drinks whether water or diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners does help reduce caloric intake and aid in weight control, but there is a tendency to overcompensate by increasing other caloric intake.
Consumers with lingering questions about artificial sweeteners and cancer can be reassured about its safety by reading the fact sheet on Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer published by the National Cancer Institute. It states there is no clear evidence of an association between artificial sweeteners and cancer in humans and does not include artificial sweeteners on its list of possible risk factors for cancer.
European Food Safety Authority. ESFA assesses new aspartame study and reconfirms its safety. Food ingredients and packaging. Accessed January 5, Statement of EFSA on the scientific evaluation of two studies related to the safety of artificial sweeteners.
Scientific Opinion on genotoxicity testing strategies applicable to food and feed safety assessment. Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of aspartame E for the proposed uses as a food additive.
Magnuson BA, et al. Biological fate of low-calorie Sweeteners. Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer. Reviewed August 5, Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukaemias in rats.
Soffritti M, et al. Just because a substance is natural, does not mean that it is safe. Many natural plant components are toxic. And while a long history of use does indicate that a substance is free from severe, immediate toxic effects, it does not guarantee that the substance is entirely safe. Rare adverse effects, delayed effects, or effects that occur only with long-term use may not be identified initially. One study showed that high dosages fed to rats reduced sperm production and increased cell proliferation in their testicles, which could cause infertility or other problems.
FDA rejected stevia for use as a food ingredient. In , the FDA issued a statement allowing stevia to be used as a dietary supplement, and so it has to be labeled. Likewise, Canada and a European Community scientific panel did not approve it and declared that stevia was unacceptable for use in food.
This new synthetic additive is chemically related to fructose, but is poorly absorbed by the body. That's why it yields only about one-third as many calories. Large amounts cause diarrhea, nausea, and flatulence. Although it is chemically a sugar, it does not promote tooth decay. Sugar substitutes in various food and beverages are very popular in most of the countries. Extensive scientific research has demonstrated the safety of the six low-calorie sweeteners currently approved for use in foods in the U.
A number of studies have been carried out to confirm the safety of artificial sweeteners. A number of studies have also shown the adverse effects of the same. But most of the studies have limitations such as effects shown only in animals not in human, small sample size, high doses, statistically non-significant or borderline significant, etc. The sugar substitutes are thoroughly investigated for safety with hundreds of scientific studies and then approved by different regulatory authorities like the U.
Some agents are approved with warning labels too. So further exploration is required with well-designed large-scale studies in the general population.
On the anecdotal evidence, it has been concluded that based on analysis of the database of case histories, there are a number of symptoms that are recurrently reported by individuals who believe that they are caused by sugar substitute ingestion.
The information gathered in this analysis can be useful in guiding the design and format of any investigative study that may be undertaken to determine individual sensitivity to sugar substitutes.
National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List J Pharmacol Pharmacother v. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Sugar is an inseparable part of the food we consume. Artificial sweetener, aspartame, sugar substitute. Open in a separate window. Table 2 Artificial sugar substitutes[ 6 , 7 ]. Dental care Although liquid preparations are particularly suitable for children, many contain sucrose which encourages dental decay.
Diabetes mellitus People with diabetes have difficulty in regulating their blood sugar levels. Reactive hypoglycemia Individuals with reactive hypoglycemia will produce an excess of insulin after quickly absorbing glucose into the bloodstream.
Enhances and extends flavors Aspartame has the ability to intensify and extend fruit flavors, such as cherry and orange, in foods and beverages. Avoiding processed foods Individuals may opt to substitute refined white sugar with less-processed sugars such as fruit juice or maple syrup. Cost Many sugar substitutes are cheaper than sugar. Aspartame Aspartame, discovered in is a low-calorie sweetener with a sugar-like taste but is approximately times sweeter than sucrose. Saccharin Saccharin was discovered over a century ago and has been used as a non-caloric sweetener in foods and beverages for more than years.
Sucralose Sucralose was discovered by British researchers in Acesulfame K Acesulfame potassium is a non-caloric sweetener with a clean, quickly perceptible sweet taste. Neotame Neotame is a no-calorie sweetener, which is a derivative of the dipeptide composed of the amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine.
Tagatose This new synthetic additive is chemically related to fructose, but is poorly absorbed by the body. Footnotes Source of Support: Nil Conflict of Interest: Sugar demand rising at expense of sweeteners, claims sugar industry. Low calorie sweetners and other sugar substitutes: A review of the safety issues. Bellisle F, Drewnowski A. Intense sweeteners, energy intake and the control of body weight.
Eur J Clin Nutr. Children's dental health and medicines that contain sugar. The Calorie Control Council. Sugar substitutes linked to weight gain. Prodolliet J, Bruelhart M. Investigation of solid-state reactions using vari-able temperature X-ray powder diffractrometry. Food Standards Australia New Zealand: Experimental evaluation of antipyretic and an-algesic activity of aspartame.
A comparison of chronic aspartame exposure to aspirin on inflammation, hyperalgesia and open field activity following carrageenan-induced monoarthritis. Interference of rheumatoid factor activity by aspartame, a dipeptide methyl ester.
Aspartame a Susceptibility to Headache. N Engl J Med. Jacob SE, Stechschulte S. Formaldehyde, aspartame and migraines: Systemic contact dermatitis of the eyelids caused by formaldehyde derived from aspartame? Effect of methanol-induced oxidative stress on the neuroimmune system of experimental rats. Effect of methanol intoxication on specific immune functions of albino rats. Results of a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Effects of aspartame on the brain: Neurologic effects of aspartame.
Presented at the symposium: Aspartame and seizure susceptibility: Results of a clinical study in reportedly sensitive individuals. Aspartame has no effect on seizures or epileptiform discharges in epileptic children. Green-Waite Adverse Reactions to Aspartame: Increasing brain tumor rates: Is there a link to aspartame? J Neuropathol Exp Neurol.
Aspartame Safety Study Stirs Emotions. Reports of the meetings on Aspartame with national experts.
Research on artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, continues today. For people who want to avoid aspartame, the easiest way to do this is to check the labels before buying or eating foods or drinks.
Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners have a distinctive difference from the normal sugars, especially regarding the onset of sweetness and how long it lasts, though aspartame is the closest in terms of taste to the table sugar. Research Paper: Chocolate – To Eat or Not To Eat?
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