The safety of Aspartame for people of all ages, and with a variety of health conditions, was evaluated by an international expert panel from 10 universities and medical schools.
The evaluation was done by looking at more than 500 reports that included toxicological, clinical and epidemiological studies dating from 1970's preclinical work to the latest studies on the high-intensity sweetener, along with use levels and regulations data.
"There have been continued questions in the media and on the internet about the safety of aspartame. Our study is a very comprehensive review of all of the research that's been done on aspartame. Never before has a group with the breadth of experience of this panel looked at this question said panel member and University of Maryland food and nutrition professor Bernadene Magnuson.
Though aspartame has the same number of calories as sugar on a weight-to-weight basis, it can be added to food or pharmaceuticals at a fraction of what would be needed with sucrose to achieve the same sweetness, with far fewer calories.
The panel used the latest data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) to determine the most current levels of aspartame consumption.
"Even the very highest consumers of aspartame are well below the acceptable daily intake (ADI) and well below the amounts used in animal testing," said Magnuson.
Based on their findings they concluded that Aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption, which remain well below established ADI levels, even among high user sub-populations.
Aspartame has not been shown to have adverse effects on reproductive activity or lactation. Studies conclude that aspartame is safe for use by diabetics and may aid diabetics in adhering to a sugar-free diet.
There is no evidence to support an association between aspartame consumption and obesity. On the contrary, when used in multidisciplinary weight control programs, aspartame may actually aid in long-term weight control.
The research is published in the September issue of Critical Reviews in Toxicology.