Aspartame was deemed safe for human consumption by the European Food Safety Authority. Although the artificial sweetener has been linked to a number of ailments including cancer, food safety regulators said it is safe when consumed at approved levels.
Like all artificial sweeteners, Aspartame is composed of chemicals. Its main components are amino acids and wood alcohol. It provides the sweetness of sugar without the associated calories, and it is often added to products marketed toward those who are dieting or suffering from diabetes.
Although Aspartame is approved for consumption is Europe and the US, packaging must be labeled to warn those who are sensitive to phenylalanine. The artificial sweetener is most commonly used in diet soda, powdered drink mixes, yogurt, chewing gum, and flavored water. As reported by Sugar.org, Aspartame is sold under several brand names, including NutraSweet, Equal, and Sugar Twin.
The artificial sweetener came under fire after studies linked consumption to cancer, premature birth, and other health concerns. However, recent studies reveal that when consumed in moderation, Aspartame is safe. The European Food Safety Authority determined that current approved consumption levels do not increase the risk of cancer or premature birth.
Chairwoman Alicja Mortensen said the “opinion represents one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of Aspartame ever undertaken.” She also points out that the results are “… a step forward in strengthening consumer confidence in the scientific underpinning of the EU food safety system and the regulation of food additives.”
Reuters reports that the opinion is good news for The Coca-Cola Company. The soft drink producer has spent millions trying to calm fears about the artificial sweetener. With increased fear about adverse health effects, sales of Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and other similar products have declined.
Although the EFSA has deemed Aspartame safe for consumption, it may take years to ease consumers’ concerns about artificial sweeteners.
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