I used to drink loads of diet soda. Two years ago, I stopped drinking it after reading about aspartame and its health effects. A lot of people shrug it off, saying “they wouldn’t sell it if it was that bad for you” or “one or two Diet Cokes won’t hurt me.” Think again. A new study has proven a link between aspartame and several types of cancer.
“Our study has shown that aspartame is a multipotential carcinogenic compound whose carcinogenic effects are also evident at a daily dose of 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg), notably less than the current acceptable daily intake for humans,” the authors write. Currently, the acceptable daily intake for humans is set at 50 mg/kg in the United States and 40 mg/kg in Europe.
Aspartame is the second most widely used artificial sweetener in the world. It is found in more than 6,000 products including carbonated and powdered soft drinks, hot chocolate, chewing gum, candy, desserts, yogurt, and tabletop sweeteners, as well as some pharmaceutical products like vitamins and sugar-free cough drops. More than 200 million people worldwide consume it. The sweetener has been used for more than 30 years, having first been approved by the FDA in 1974. Studies of the carcinogenicity of aspartame performed by its producers have been negative.
Researchers administered aspartame to Sprague-Dawley rats by adding it to a standard diet. They began studying the rats at 8 weeks of age and continued until the spontaneous death of each rat. Treatment groups received feed that contained concentrations of aspartame at dosages simulating human daily intakes of 5,000, 2,500, 500, 100, 20, and 4 mg/kg body weight. Groups consisted of 100 males and 100 females at each of the three highest dosages and 150 males and 150 females at all lower dosages and controls.