Study casts doubt on aspartame sensitivity

A UK study has suggested there are no side effects to aspartame, used in many artificial sweeteners, despite it being linked anecdotally to headaches and stomach problems. 1

Researchers from several UK universities examined a small group of 48 “aspartame-sensitive” individuals, using a double-blind test involving cereal bars. They were given two cereal bars at least a week apart, with one laced in aspartame and the other not, and then monitored for any reported symptoms.

Neither the researchers nor the participants were aware of what bar had been eaten, but the results given suggested there was no major difference from the sweetened bar to the standard one.

While this is interesting news, it was a small and short-term test, so we don’t know what affects long-term aspartame use can have on those who believe they are sensitive to it. It is also possible that those who believe they are severely affected by it chose not to register for the test.

However, this test adds further positive evidence to support the decision of food safety agencies in the UK and EU to allow the product to be used in our food.

Reference

1 Sathyapalan T, et al. Aspartame Sensitivity? A Double Blind Randomised Crossover Study. PLOS One. Published Match 18 2015.

Headlines

Controversial sweetener aspartame found in fizzy drinks and diet products 'does NOT cause harm', report declares. Mail Online, March 20 2015