Aspartame is a commonly known sweetener, but what is it and is it bad for your health?
Aspartame is a common artificial sweetener in diet sodas, sweets and other processed foods. It is a low calorie chemical that can be up to 200 times sweeter than sugar. It has been controversial since its approval of use in the 1980’s. a report in 1996 suggested a link between aspartame and brain tumours; hen in 2006 and 2007 The European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences published several long-term studies linking aspartame to an increase in cancers in rats. In following years there were studies by the US National Cancer Trust and European Food Safety Authority which concluded aspartame was safe for human consumption, including pregnant women and children. However there continue to be studies where side effects are evident. A study by Monsanto was cut short as preliminary data showed damaging effects by aspartame. It has also been found that manufacturers falsified studies in several ways during the 1970’s.
Aspartame chips away at your brain’s antioxidant defence system. The results of an animal study found long-term consumption of aspartame leads to an imbalance in the antioxidant/pro-oxidant status in the brain, mainly through the mechanism involving the glutathione-dependent system.
Aspartame has also been linked to:
- Migraines & headaches
- Short term memory loss
- Multiple sclerosis
- Hearing loss
- Weight gain
- Brain tumours
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Birth defects
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Arthritis (including rheumatoid)
- Chemical sensitivities
There is a general lack of awareness on some health topics, with the media favouring politics and safety as main headlines. More comprehensive studies need to be done to cement the view we have on aspartame, however in the meantime it would be smarter to avoid foods containing aspartame and opt for more natural options