Aspartame is described as a general purpose, non-calorific artificial sweetener. Its effect is very intense and it is described as being approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. Aspartame is approved for use in over 100 countries for inclusion within a wide range of produces from carbonated soft drinks to yoghurts and baked goods.
Sweeteners, in particular aspartame, have received much attention and criticism due to potential links with cancer and premature births. This latest research, carried out by the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) looked at the safety of the ‘current acceptable daily intake’ of aspartame. This intake is set at 40 mg per kg of body weight. For a 75 kg individual, this is the equivalent of more than 16 cans per day of diet soda. The results found that aspartame poses no health risk to the consumer.
This announcement from the European Union’s Food Safety Watchdog should provide consumers with more confidence in the research investigating the use of aspartame in food and drinks. The research was one of the most comprehensive risk assessments undertake but the question it doesn’t answer is its potential role in helping weight loss when individuals turn to sweeteners to reduce calorie intake. This is a completely different debate, which is only just starting!