Aspartame and Its Health Dangers

What's wrong with this one sweetener? Hearing various news about this sweetener makes us look for information about aspartame and its health dangers.

Artificial sweeteners are compounds used to replace natural sugars, one of which is aspartame. Aspartame is a low-calorie artificial sweetener made from two types of amino acids, namely phenylalanine and aspartic acid which are components of protein building.

Aspartame and Its Health Dangers

Aspartame does not endanger the health of the body as long as it is consumed within reasonable limits. However, if consumed in excess, aspartame is at risk of causing various health problems, ranging from behavioral disorders, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, to cancer.

What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is a compound made from phenylalanine and aspartic acid. The function of aspartame is to replace sugar or sweeteners in food and beverage products that are sold freely in the market.

Also read: Listeria and Its Effects.

Although used in small amounts, aspartame can provide a sweeter taste compared to natural sugar or sucrose. According to research published in the journal Nutrients (2021), aspartame has a sweetness level of 180–200 times sweeter than sucrose. Therefore, aspartame is often used as a dietary sugar for diabetics.

Foods that contain aspartame

Here are some common foods and drinks that contain aspartame (from

  • Zero-sugar or diet sodas, including Diet Coke
  • Sugar-free gums, such as Trident gum
  • Diet drink mixes, including Crystal Light
  • Reduced-sugar condiments, such as Log Cabin Sugar-Free Syrup
  • Sugar-free gelatin like Jell-O is sugar-free
  • Table sweeteners are sold under brands including Equal and Nutrasweet.

To be sure, the specific sweeteners used in low-sugar products vary, and companies sometimes change ingredients. To obtain the most accurate information, consumers should check the ingredient list on each product to ascertain whether it contains aspartame or not.

Dangers of Aspartame for Health if Consumed in Excess

Although categorized as a safe artificial sweetener, every individual needs to limit aspartame consumption. The reason is, this artificial sweetener will be broken down into methanol which is at risk of becoming toxic to the body if the levels exceed normal limits.

Several health problems that are negatively affected by aspartame, are as follows:

1. Increase Weight Loss

The danger of aspartame for the health of the body if consumed in excess is the risk of disrupting metabolism in the body which triggers weight gain. In addition, foods containing aspartame are often made from other ingredients that have high calories. If the food is consumed beyond reasonable limits, this can increase the weight to cause obesity.

2. Exacerbates migraines

When processed in the body, aspartame can produce byproducts in the form of glutamate. If glutamate levels exceed normal limits, the condition is at risk of causing headaches and worsening migraine symptoms.

3. Triggers Behavior Disorders

Excessive consumption of aspartame is known to trigger behavioral disorders. Aspartame contains aspartic acid and phenylalanine which will be converted into methanol, where these compounds can affect cognitive function, mood, motor activity, sleep patterns, and a person's appetite.

4. Trigger Complications of Phenylketonuria

Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder that causes sufferers to be unable to break down phenylalanine properly. Therefore, phenylketonuria sufferers need to avoid consuming products containing phenylalanine, such as aspartame, because of the risk of causing various complications, one of which is brain damage.

5. Increases the Risk of Diabetes

One of the health problems that are negatively affected by aspartame is diabetes. Although often used as a sugar substitute for diabetics, excessive consumption of aspartame can increase blood sugar levels that trigger pancreatic damage. As a result, the production of the hormone insulin in the body becomes disrupted so that the risk of causing diabetes.

6. Increases the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Methanol is the result of aspartame metabolism which is at risk of increasing free radical levels so it also triggers damage to cells in the body, including cells in the nervous system. Therefore, aspartame consumed excessively and in the long term can worsen nervous system damage that increases the risk of progressive degenerative diseases, one of which is Alzheimer's disease.

7. Increases Cancer Risk

Based on research published in the journal PLOS Medicine (2022), excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, and acesulfame-K, has the potential to increase the risk of cancer, such as breast cancer and blood cancer. However, further research is still needed to determine the impact of aspartame consumption on the risk of cancer.

That's a bit of information about "aspartame and its health dangers". Hope it is useful.

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