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Aspartame is safe, EFSA concludes

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed a major review of aspartame’s safety, and has concluded that the sweetener is safe for the general population at current consumption levels.

“This opinion represents one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame ever undertaken,” said the chair of EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Foods (ANS Panel), Dr Alicja Mortensen.

“It’s a step forward in strengthening consumer confidence in the scientific underpinning of the EU food safety system and the regulation of food additives.”

The food safety body received more than 200 comments during the online phase of its consultation on the safety of aspartame, following publication of its draft scientific opinion on the sweetener in January . Public consultation on aspartame's safety concluded with a public meeting held in April, at which time EFSA said it needed until November to consider the feedback, which included new information.

EFSA says a thorough review of evidence from both animal and human studies has “ruled out a potential risk of aspartame causing damage to genes and inducing cancer.”

The panel also said there was no risk to the developing foetus from aspartame consumption, and that aspartame does not harm the brain, nervous system or cognitive function in children or adults. The only group for whom EFSA considered aspartame consumption to be risky was for those with phenylketonuria, characterised by an inability to break down the amino acid phenylalanine, which is present in aspartame as well as a wide variety of other foods.

Apart from phenylalanine, the opinion also clarifies that other breakdown products of aspartame, such as methanol and aspartic acid, are also naturally present in other foods.

“The contribution of breakdown products of aspartame to the overall dietary exposure to these substances is low,” EFSA said.

The food safety body concluded that the current ADI (acceptable daily intake) of aspartame – 40 mg per kg of bodyweight per day – was protective for the general population. A typical diet soft drink contains about 180mg of aspartame in a can.

Reacting to the EFSA opinion, Emeritus Professor Andrew Renwick, OBE, from the University of Southampton,said in an International Sweeteners Association statement: People should be confident that the data reviewed is the most up-to-date and that the EFSA opinion is based on all existing scientific facts. Aspartame is a simple compound made from two amino acids and a methyl group, all of which occur naturally in the diet and are consumed in larger amounts from other normal dietary sources.”

The full scientific opinion is available online here .

3 comments (Comments are now closed)

Aspartame is dangerous.

I, at age 14, began drinking about one gallon a day of Crystal Light because I was extremely athletic and exercising daily for hours in the hot Florida sun. Water tasted boring so a low calorie mix was desirable. After two months of consumption I began to suffer seizures. Through intuition I suspected the drink mix. Brought this to my doctor's attention and he determined the seizure activity was directly related to my consumption of aspartame. Stopping ingestion resulted in no seizures, resuming consumption and a seizure occurred within 3-4 days. Stopped consumption no seizures for three months. Resumed consumption, seizure in two weeks. No doubts.

Even more compelling, my cousin could drink a Diet Coke right now and would experience heart palpitations and almost feint. Never happens any other time than after consuming an aspartame containing beverage. Also tested and documented with the same doctor.

I operate a pain and rehab clinic and have several patient files with headaches, migraines and muscle pain patients that had complete relief when detoxed from aspartame. And if they try to resume consumption even after three years with no symptoms, their symptoms will return within 3-4 weeks.

So the scientists can belch their testing and statistics all they want.

I have people healthy from cutting that stuff out of their diet. And they know it is was the exact cause.

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Posted by the inquisitor
09 February 2014 | 21h26

aspartame deemed safe?

I am a Canadian living in Nice, France. They just broadcast a television programme here, Dec. 19, 2013, called "Envoye Special". The subject discussed was "conflict of interests". We are told that the EFSA panel which deemed aspartame safe was composed of unbiased authoritative experts. However, the broadcast goes on to show that one woman there once worked for Coca-Cola and the biggest manufacturer of aspartame in Europe. It even showed that, at one point, a certain preparatory part of this meeting/conference by EFSA was sponsored by Coca-Cola (in nice very small letters). When this woman was approached by the journalist with questions, she was rudely abrupt and said that any questions should be referred to the EFSA and then she fled. I am diabetic and will continue to consume aspartame but this was sure an eye-opener.

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Posted by Daniel B
20 December 2013 | 09h59

Doubtless, vigorous scientific debate will continue...

UK COT chronic methanol toxicity in diet, 2011 July, free full text 22 pages -- earnest critical comments, applying the WC Monte methanol formaldehyde ADH1 enzyme paradigm: Rich Murray 2013.12.09

"It is true that the body safely handles large amounts of formaldehyde in every cell with highly controlled specific biochemical pathways.

However, the small daily dose of methanol from external sources is made into free floating, uncontrolled "outlaw" formaldehyde right inside the cytosol -- it promptly hydrates, acquiring two intensely reactive hydrogen doners ( OH- radicals ), one on each side of the formaldehyde molecule, which bind the complex firmly to the nearest DNA, RNA, and proteins in the cell, severely impairing normal biochemistry, and leading to cell death -- this is exactly how formaldehyde functions as an embalming agent and antiseptic.

The hydrated formaldehyde also adds methyl groups at random to DNA and RNA -- this epigenetic modification causes complex diseases, and later cancers.

Hydrated formaldehyde also strongly interferes with two key enzymes in the mitochrondia, shutting down the aerobic ATP energy cycle that provides energy for all biochemistry -- the cells shift to anaerobic metabolism, which releases lactic acid and produces blood acidiosis.

In the retina, the rods and cones malfunction, leading to strange visual effects and blindness, as in the "blind drunk" phase of severe alcohol hangover -- sometimes this blindness is temporary, a well known specific diagnostic feature for acute methanol toxicity.

Finally, formaldehyde modified DNA, RNA, and proteins strongly attract white blood cells, microglia, monocytes, and macroglia, which devour the damaged proteins in the inflammation response of the immune system -- they also are damaged and die, creating pussy lesions -- this causes much of the harm seen in multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer's."

Doubtless, vigorous scientific debate will continue...

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Posted by Rich Murray
11 December 2013 | 04h49

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