March 15th, 2016
We are concerned that there are some people who will not use sweeteners, such as aspartame, because they think they are dangerous. This is not true and we feel it is important that you know this so that you can consume low calorie food and drink to help with your diets with confidence.
There has been much discussion over the years about the use of sweeteners to replace sugar to help reduce calorie intake, with suggestions that they can cause long term damage. The facts show that this is not the case and the risk to your health is far greater the more overweight you are.
Aspartame has come in for particular criticism, mainly due to an internet hoax letter that has long since been discredited. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and has been used in various low calorie drinks and foods for over 25 years.
Aspartame was originally approved in 1982 by the committee on Toxicity, Consumer Products and the Environment. This is a committee of independent experts that advises the government of the safety of food additives
This was reaffirmed in 1988 by the European’s former Scientific Committee on the Safety of Food (SCF). After the hoax letter it reviewed over 500 scientific papers published between 1988 and 2001 and decided in 2002 that there was no need to revise their earlier risk assessment.
The acceptable daily intake (ADI) has been established at 41mg per kg of body weight. This means you would have to drink 14 cans of sugar free drink (where the level of aspartame was at the maximum permitted level) every day before reaching the ADI. In practise most drinks use aspartame in combination with other sweeteners so the level is considerably lower han the maximum.
Furthermore as a systematic review of all food additives, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded in December 2013 that “aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure.”
There is one group of people who can’t use aspartame. These people suffer from a rare genetic disease called phenylketonuria (PKU) which means that they cannot metabolise the amino acid phenlalanine effectively. This can cause a build up to potentially harmful levels.
About 1 in 10,000 people have this disorder which is normally diagnosed shortly after birth by a routine blood test. All newborn babies have been screened for PKU since 1969. For this reason all food products containing aspartame are clearly labeled as such so that people with PKU can avoid them.
The evidence that aspartame is safe has been growing for many years. There have been no sound scientific studies to prove otherwise and their continued use has led to no ill effects on the people who eat them.
On the other hand there is growing evidence that being overweight leads to many life threatening conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. So do not be put off using sweeteners in your attempts to lose weight. It is far more dangerous for your health to be overweight than to eat o drink products that are ‘low calorie.’
All of the chemical components shown above are naturaly found within the human body. For example, methanol is naturally produced as around 300-600 mg per day. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid you can find in all protein foods such as soya beans and meats.