Aspartame is a man-made sweetener utilized in many sugar-free products.
People often prefer to use it when trying to reduce or avoid sugar once they have diabetes. it’s also found in many commercial products not specifically targeted at people with diabetes.
However, this widely used sweetener has also been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems, though the research has been controversial.
Aspartame is formed of phenylalanine, methanol and amino acid.
Phenylalanine can cross the barrier and might disrupt the assembly of neurotransmitters. Additionally, aspartame may be a chemical stressor and should increase the brain’s vulnerability to oxidative stress.
Some scientists have suggested these factors may cause negative effects on learning and emotions, which are observed when aspartame is consumed in excess.
One study checked out the consequences of a high-aspartame diet. Participants consumed about 11 mg of aspartame for each pound of their weight (25 mg per kg) for eight days.
By the top of the study, they were more irritable, had a better rate of depression and performed worse on mental tests.
Another study found people who consumed artificially sweetened soft drinks had an increased risk of stroke and dementia, though the precise sort of sweetener wasn’t specified.
Some experimental research in mice and rats has also supported these findings.
A study of repeated aspartame intake in mice found that it impaired memory and increased oxidative stress within the brain. Another found that long-term intake led to an imbalance in antioxidant status within the brain.
Other animal experiments haven’t found any negative effects, though these were often large, single-dose experiments instead of long-term ones. Additionally, mice and rats are reportedly 60 times less sensitive to phenylalanine than humans.
Despite these findings, aspartame remains considered to be a secure sweetener overall if people consume it at about 18–23 mg per pound (40–50 mg per kg) of weight per day or less.
According to these guidelines, a 150-pound (68-kg) person should keep their aspartame intake under about 3,400 mg per day, at the utmost.
For reference, a packet of sweetener contains about 35 mg of aspartame, and a daily 12-ounce (340-ml) can of diet soda contains about 180 mg. Amounts may vary counting on the brand.
In addition, a variety of papers have reported that aspartame has no adverse effects.
However, if you’d like better to avoid it, you’ll simply cut artificial sweeteners and excess sugar from your diet altogether.