Aspartame Use by Special Groups
is phenylketonuria (PKU) and why is there a statement regarding
PKU on products sweetened with aspartame?
is a rare inherited disease that prevents the essential amino acid
phenylalanine from being properly metabolized. (An essential amino
acid is required for normal growth, development, and body functioning
and must be obtained from the diet, as the body cannot make it.)
Because of this, phenylalanine can accumulate in the body and cause
health problems. In the U.S. and many
other countries, routine screening for PKU is required for all newborns.
In the U.S., about 1 in 15,000 babies is born with PKU. People with
PKU are placed on a special diet with a severe restriction of phenylalanine
from birth to adolescence or after. Women with PKU must remain on
the special diet throughout pregnancy. Since individuals with PKU
must consider aspartame as an additional source of phenylalanine,
aspartame-containing foods must state "Phenylketonurics: Contains
Phenylalanine" in the U.S.
Yes. The FDA and the
Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association
agree that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can safely use
aspartame. An American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition
task force also has concluded that aspartame is safe for both the
mother and developing baby. Aspartame is broken down in the body
to the same components (phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol)
eaten daily in common diets by pregnant and breast feeding women.
Sufficient calories are important during pregnancy, and calories
should come from foods that contribute to nutrient needs rather
than from foods low in nutrients. The variety of foods and beverages
sweetened with aspartame can help satisfy a pregnant woman's taste
for "sweets" without adding extra calories, leaving room
for more nutritious foods.
people with diabetes consume aspartame?
Yes. The American Diabetes Association states that aspartame is a safe and useful sweetener
for people with diabetes. Aspartame makes food taste sweet and does
not contribute calories or raise blood sugar levels. About 90 percent
of people with diabetes use aspartame-sweetened products. Foods
and beverages sweetened with aspartame offer people with diabetes
a much wider variety of products from which to choose and greater
flexibility in budgeting their total carbohydrate intake. Thus,
it can help them follow nutrition recommendations and still enjoy
aspartame affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes?
No. Research shows that
aspartame does not affect short-term or long-term blood sugar levels
in people with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association states
that, "Aspartame has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration,
a governmental agency that conducts thorough scientific review to
determine foods that are safe for public consumption. (We) follow
FDA recommendations and recognize there is no credible scientific
evidence linking aspartame to any health-related problems for people
aspartame cause allergic reactions?
No. Although a few
people have claimed that they have experienced allergic-type symptoms
related to consuming aspartame, these anecdotal reports are not
confirmed by carefully controlled scientific studies done at the
National Institutes of Health and at six major academic medical
centers. The results of these studies done with people who were
convinced that aspartame caused their allergic reactions clearly
demonstrated that aspartame is not associated with allergic reactions.
A wide variety of foods can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Those who suspect a food allergy should seek diagnosis and treatment
from a qualified medical professional, such as a board-certified
allergist. Self-diagnosis can delay treatment of a more serious
there a relationship between aspartame and headaches?
No. A carefully controlled
study was done at Duke University Medical Center with people who
were convinced that aspartame caused their headaches. This study,
which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated
that aspartame does not cause headaches or migraines.
Headaches are one of the most common human complaints. Many factors
can cause headaches, ranging from stress and sleep disturbances
to physical illnesses. It is potentially dangerous to assume that
a headache is related to aspartame, when the cause may be a serious
physical or psychological condition.
aspartame safe for people with epilepsy?
Yes. The Epilepsy Institute
of New York and the Epilepsy Foundation of America say that aspartame
is safe for use by people with epilepsy. Numerous scientific studies
were done in animals and in people who were convinced that aspartame
caused their seizures and in children with epilepsy. The results
of these studies demonstrated that aspartame does not cause or worsen
aspartame cause changes in mood, thought processes or behavior?
No. Well controlled
scientific studies conducted by behavioral experts at a number of
respected academic centers, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard Medical School, and Yale Medical School,
demonstrate that aspartame has no effects on mood, behavior, or
cognition, including memory loss.
aspartame affect children's behavior?
No. Numerous scientific
studies were done at major institutions, including the National
Institute of Mental Health, Yale University Medical School, and
Vanderbilt University Medical School, to evaluate behavior in children
given large amounts of aspartame. The results of these studies showed
that aspartame consumption does not cause behavioral changes in
children, including those diagnosed with “hyperactivity”
or with attention deficit disorder (ADD).
aspartame increase appetite or cause weight gain?
No. Changes in body
weight are related to many factors such as diet, exercise and heredity.
Products made with aspartame can help with weight control because
they are lower in calories than their sugar-sweetened counterparts.
Based on the overwhelming scientific evidence from numerous scientific
studies, aspartame does not increase hunger, appetite, or food intake
or cause weight gain.
there any relationship between aspartame and cancer or brain tumors?
No. Aspartame does not
cause cancer according to the American Cancer Society, the FDA and
the National Cancer Institute. Before the 1981 FDA approval of aspartame,
it was extensively evaluated in four long-term and lifetime studies
in rodents which received enormous doses of aspartame, equal to
the amount of aspartame in more than 1,000 cans of diet soft drink
daily over a lifetime for an adult human. There was no increase
in brain tumors or any other type of cancer.
When aspartame is digested, the body breaks it down into its components,
aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol, which are consumed in
much greater amounts in common foods, such as milk, meat, dried
beans, fruits and vegetables. The body handles the components from
aspartame in the same way it handles them when derived from other
foods. Aspartame does not enter the bloodstream and therefore cannot
travel to essential organs including the brain. Thus, there is no
physiological reason why aspartame could cause cancer.
aspartame affect vision?
No. Although scientists
know that huge amounts of methanol can affect vision, only small
amounts of methanol are formed when aspartame and many fruits, vegetables
and juices are digested. In fact, a glass of tomato juice provides
about six times as much methanol as an equal amount of a beverage
sweetened with aspartame. During the digestion of aspartame in the
gastrointestinal tract, the released methanol is then easily further
metabolized by normal body processes in the same way as when methanol
is derived from other dietary sources. Numerous scientific studies
have shown that the methanol from aspartame does not accumulate
in the body and thus cannot reach harmful levels.
there a relationship between aspartame and multiple sclerosis?
No. The Multiple Sclerosis
Foundation stated, "There is no evidence that aspartame in
any way causes, provokes, mimics or worsens MS." Further, an
article published by The National Multiple Sclerosis Society stated,
“Several websites and documents circulating on the Internet
are making unsubstantiated claims about aspartame, an artificial
sweetener used in many diet soft drinks and other foods.”
there a relationship between aspartame and Parkinson's disease?
No. A scientific study
done at Georgetown University has shown that aspartame has no effect
on Parkinson's disease (PD). Further, The National Parkinson
Foundation, Inc. has concluded, “The cause of PD is unknown,
PD existed before aspartame was invented, there is no evidence aspartame
blocks the absorption of levodopa.” (Levodopa is the major
drug used to treat PD.)
there a relationship between aspartame and Alzheimer's disease?
No. In dispelling myths
about Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer's Association
concluded there was “no scientific evidence of a link between
aspartame and memory loss.”
there a relationship between aspartame and lupus?
No. The Lupus Foundation of America has concluded that there is “no specific proof
of an association with aspartame as a cause or worsening of SLE
(systemic lupus erythematosus)” and “People with lupus
should always consult with their physician before making any changes
in their medical treatment, diet, exercise or other routine based
on information received via the Internet or other sources lacking
What is Aspartame? |
Aspartame in the Diet |
Safety of Aspartame
Aspartame Use by Special Groups |
Other Aspartame Resources |
Aspartame Uses In Diet Soft Drinks
Aspartame Q&A Brochure(pdf)
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