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Aspartame Safe or Health Risk? Europe’s EFSA To Decide

Do you put aspartame in your coffee?

Is aspartame dangerous for our health?  Are you also questioning whether it is safe to consume this artificial sweetener, even in small quantities?  Europeans are, especially in France where I live.  Aspartame, otherwise know as code E951 on European food labels or marketed as Canderel sweetener in France is really getting some bad publicity.  So much that you would think one secret little bite of this white powder, 200 times sweeter than sugar will start your health to spiral down with rapid speed.  The problem is that aspartame is in many food products, medicines, drinks. It is all over the food and drink market. Unless you are vigilant about reading product labels, sometimes you don’t even realize you are consuming aspartame. It is big money and big business.


Previous investigations by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States, the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) in Europe and the ANSES (French National Agency for Food, Environment and Work Safety) have all concluded that aspartame is same for human consumption.  But recently two studies published in 2010 have put the safety of this synthetic sweetener in question.  So who is right?  These two European studies showed possible links between 1. aspartame and premature births 2. aspartame and liver/lung tumors.  The EFSA and ANSES reexamined the structure of these two studies and found some flaws in the research conclusions.  Flaws that indicated some doubt between the link of aspartame to the conclusions of the research.  According to the EFSA and ANSES, in the first large epidemiological study with approximately 60,000 Danish pregnant women, those women who consumed aspartame as low-calorie drinks did have higher amounts of premature births, but these premature births were not found to be spontaneous, showing that aspartame is not a conclusive link to premature births.  The second study showing lung and liver tumors was conducted in rats.  The rats used in the study were the type already known to have larger than normal rates of these types of tumors, independent of their aspartame intake. Thus the EFSA and ANSES commissions could not state with certainty that aspartame was the direct link to lung and liver tumors in rats as the study had indicated.


The results of the two studies enticed French Professor Narbonne to refuel the debate on aspartame.  The French are not scared of yelling or putting calls for action where they think it is needed.  Oh la la!  Professor Narbonne has been pushing for aspartame to be banned in Europe. His views are widely supported in France and in other European countries.  So much that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has now decided to take action to resolve this health safety question on aspartame.  The EFSA is currently undergoing a scientific call for data on aspartame through September 30, 2011.  The EFSA will issue a full report on the health risks of aspartame scheduled for sometime in 2012. Do feel confident in the results of their findings.  The EFSA is a very respected commission and organization who oversees health issues in Europe.  The authority’s staff is filled with experts in every health domain.  Experts who are published and experienced independent scientific researchers and health professionals from around the world. The EFSA is unbiased (in my opinion) and will do a complete study on aspartame.  Do you feel ready for the results?  Do you think the results of the EFSA report will stop the fire of controversy surrounding aspartame? What will you do if aspartame is deemed again to be safe?

The best way not to worry about aspartame?  Do not consume this product.

Are you laughing at me when you read those words? Yes, food habits are hard to break.  I have friends addicted to diet coke, a low-calorie drink with aspartame.  It is not easy at all to change our food habits.  So, do you think it is easy to not consume aspartame?  As with any artificial product, sweetener, additive, color….avoidness is the best policy for your health.  Avoidness is even more important if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or a child.  Studies can conclude that this product is safe for human consumption, but in the end, aspartame is not natural.  And aspartame is everywhere, in over 6,000 food products in the world.  It is hidden in medicines, drinks, cakes and candies. Be vigilant and avoid artificial sweeteners, colors, and additives.  Eat as close to the earth as possible.  Do you think your health is worth it?  Of course.

So, tomorrow morning when you are half awake and you pour yourself your coffee…what do you put in it?  Hoping this article helped you to think about it.  The results from the EFSA are not due until 2012.  Even if the EFSA finds aspartame safe to consume, think about moving to less artificial and synthetic additives:  avoid aspartame especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or are a child.

Just a side note about Wikipedia in English and French concerning aspartame.  If you read Wikipedia’s article on aspartame in English there is no information on the studies published in 2010 on the possible dangers of aspartame.  If you read Wikipedia in French, the studies are there.  There is a website called DORway that claims they tried to add a comment or update Wikipedia’s page in English to reflect the new information about aspartame’s controversy and they were not allowed by Wikipedia to put this information in. Why? Just goes to show you that you cannot use Wikipedia as a the only source of information on the web.  Keep our minds open, right?

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4 Responses to Aspartame Safe or Health Risk? Europe’s EFSA To Decide

  1. sonia January 22, 2013 at 14:17 #

    Thanks Mary, I live in South Africa and am battling to inform people on the dangers of the chemicals in our foods – this info is very useful.

    • mbrighton January 28, 2013 at 22:42 #

      Glad to pass on the information.


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