Wake Up and Read The Labels has guidelines that we use to decide if an ingredient is “clean” or not. For example, if you are grocery shopping and see vegetable oil or artificial colors listed as an ingredient, then we’re going to suggest you immediately put it back. Read the linked articles to discover why.
Some ingredients are easy to deem “unclean,” and other times, there are ingredients that are controversial and deemed safe by many, but we still consider it to be a “no.” Aspartame falls into that category.
What Is Aspartame?
Aspartame is an artificial and alternative sweetener that was first approved in the early 1980’s. It’s derived from two naturally occurring amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine.
It’s 200 times sweeter than sugar, so usually only a small amount is needed to sweeten products. It became a popular sweetener choice due to it being considered “low calorie” and “sugar free.” In the United States, it’s commonly known as Equal® and sits on restaurants tables in the little blue sweetener packets.
Is Aspartame Safe to Eat?
This is where the controversy comes into play. There are lots of conflicting studies on whether aspartame causes certain illnesses and/or diseases. However, a lot of the research is still inconclusive. Some of the side effects that have been claimed to relate to aspartame include:
- Weight Gain
- Increased Appetite
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
A recent study from 2021 shows that there is a direct correlation between aspartame and cancer in rodents and an increasing risk of cancer in offspring when aspartame was exposed during pregnancy. Because of this, researchers have urged public health agencies to revisit and reduce the recommended Acceptable Daily Intake that is currently allowed.
Why Wake Up Does Not Endorse Aspartame
Wake Up and Read the Labels did a podcast interview with Dr. Micahel Goran regarding his work studying sugar. He wrote the famous book Sugarproof, which talks about the hidden dangers of sugar in our modern society.
Even if some of the studies are inconclusive or conflicting, there’s still enough information available for us to conclude that aspartame may be a risk, and it should simply be avoided as an ingredient. There are plenty of natural sweeteners to choose from that don’t involve any health risks.
The best part is that Wake Up and Read the Labels has already done the research to find products that do not contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, so you don’t even have to worry about trying to decipher which products are considered clean or not. The work’s already been done! Schedule a call with a food coach to learn more about how you can kickstart your clean eating journey.