Aspartame: Should you believe the hype?

There seems to be a lot of misinformation and fear-appealing mongering on the Internet about the artificial sweetener aspartame.

There seems to be a lot of misinformation and fear-appealing mongering on the Internet about the artificial sweetener aspartame. One in particular was an infographic on Facebook titled “Is aspartame killing you?” This one stopped me in my tracks and made me want to learn more.

Aspartame is used as a sugar substitute in some food and beverages. One place it’s commonly used is in our diet sodas. Other popular artificial sweeteners include saccharin (Sweet ‘n Low) and sucralose (Splenda). What I wanted to know: Is aspartame as bad for you as they make it sound on the Internet? I sat down with a couple of health experts to get the scoop.

Emily Wolff, registered dietitian with Norton Weight Management Center, said, “There is a lot of misinformation on the market about artificial sweeteners, but there is no evidence that any of these sweeteners cause harm to humans.”

If you have questions about aspartame or your overall health, speak with your primary care physician. Need a doctor? Visit or call (502) 629-1234 to find a physician who’s right for you.

Her biggest advice regarding consuming it: “They are all approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Use them at your discretion.”

Wolff also discussed how important it is to stay current on available research and that stevia, a plant-based sweetener, is increasing in popularity.

Ashley Webb, director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center, also weighed in on the aspartame debate and information circulating about aspartame poisoning. She said, “There is some evidence that aspartame can trigger headaches and this is not unreasonable. MSG is (also) an amino acid compound notorious for causing headaches. That does not mean it is toxic.”

Webb also pointed out that, as with all things, moderation is key. If you are drinking enough Diet Coke to potentially be a concern, what poor effects are occurring in your body as a result of insufficient water consumption and excess caffeine?

Both of these experts concluded that it is very important to read only credible sources when debates like this reach the media, and to consume whatever you’re eating and drinking in moderation.


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