Aspartame and Health

Aspartame was launched in 1981 by Monsanto, which to many will raise a red flag immediately regarding the health effects that it may have. It is true that huge amounts of people consume aspartame worldwide and it will be claimed that this is evidence of its safety. However, the safety of aspartame really depends on what you consider to be the boundaries upon which you base your definition of safe and how close the individual is to optimal health. Certainly, there is no solid evidence that aspartame is very dangerous. But is a savvy consumer wise to limit or avoid it? One of the main health effects of aspartame is that it can cause stimulation of excitatory pathways in the brain, which may be a cause of neurotoxicity. In addition, the breakdown products of aspartame include methanol, which is also toxic. Therefore there is no reason to assume that large amounts of aspartame are safe as mechanisms exist by which it can cause health problems, and it is therefore best to avoid or limit its consumption. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


Lean, M.E. and Hankey, C.R. 2004. Aspartame and its effects on health. British Medical Journal. 329 (7469): 755-756

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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