In the whirlwind of frosted cookies and sugar plum fairies, there’s no end to the sweet options available. In attempt to curb the calories associated with the sweetness of the season, it’s natural to turn to sugar substitutes such as aspartame, sold under the brand names of Nutra Sweet® and Equal ®, to sweeten up the morning latte or make a batch of “healthier” holiday cookies. But with any food choice, there can be questions about whether or not a substitute is a safe option. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), a group similar to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that determines whether food and ingredients are safe, has been studying this very topic. Their recent study concluded that aspartame is, in fact, safe for human consumption. This announcement is based on the EFSA’s research on studies on aspartame and its related breakdown products in human and animal studies.
“This opinion represents one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame ever undertaken,” said the Chair of EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Foods (ANS Panel), Dr Alicja Mortensen.
But there is one very important exception: those who suffer from the genetic disorder phenylketonuria should never consume aspartame as their bodies are unable to break down some foods that contain protein.
Check out what Best Food Facts experts have said about aspartame and other sugar substitutes.
- Is There Aspartame In My Milk?
- Is it OK to drink diet soda?
- Is Splenda Safe?
- Stevia Better Than Sugar?
- Is real cane sugar healthier?
What's your preference for sweetening foods or beverages?