Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Aspartame Bad For You?

Also Known As: NutraSweet, Equal, C14H18N2O5



Short answer

Yes, Aspartame is bad for you. This toxic artificial sweetener is extremely hazardous to all of the systems in the human body.



Long answer

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used to replace sugar in many foods. Commonly known as NutraSweet and Equal, it is created by joining amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine. As a sweetener, it is 200 times sweeter than sugar, which allows for less to be used to achieve the same level of sweetness. Aspartame can be dangerous and cause serious health problems.

Recent studies have shown that artificial sweeteners actually increase weight gain. They fail to satisfy cravings and often intensify hunger. Aside from contributing to weight gain, it has been linked to serious birth defects and cancers of the brain as well as other neurological disorders. Aspartame consists of Aspartic acid and Phenylalanine, which when broken down in the system produces Methanol, which can be toxic in high amounts. Metabolites from methanol can be the cause of central nervous system depression and other disorders that lead to metabolic acidosis and coma.

Aspartame has been used as an artificial sweetener since the 1980’s and is currently found in thousands of products. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food and beverages as a substitute for sugar with the recommended daily intake of 50 milligrams per every kilogram of body weight. In the late 1990’s, products containing Aspartame were the focus of 80% of complaints about food additives to the FDA. Since the onset of its use in the United States, its safety in regards to consumption has been highly controversial. Because of the claims against aspartame and its safety, it is considered one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives around. The FDA, as well as numerous independent laboratories, have conducted studies regarding the side effects and safety surrounding aspartame consumption.

Aspartame has been linked to numerous hazardous side effects including a greater risk of birth defects in women who consume aspartame while pregnant. Aspartame has also been linked to certain cancers, as well as seizures, headaches, dizziness, weight gain, lupus, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. The side effects attributed to aspartame can occur gradually over time or can be acute reactions to the chemical. Immediate reactions can include trouble with vision and eyes, ringing in the ears, heart palpitations and shortness of breath.

Artificial sweeteners have been found to be useful in reducing the blood sugar levels of persons with diabetes, however their benefits may not outweigh the potential dangers. There are natural alternatives to aspartame as a sweetener: Maple syrup, agave, honey, and molasses can be healthy alternatives to replace both sugar and artificial sugar substitutes.

There is still a large amount of controversy surrounding the use of aspartame as an artificial sweetener. Though links to certain cancers and other health problems have been shown, there is still widespread use of aspartame in everyday products.


Possible short-term side effects

  • muscle spasms
  • muscle aches / pains
  • blurred vision
  • tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • hyperactivity
  • shortness of breath
  • skin reactions/rashes

Possible long-term side effects

  • seizures
  • weight gain
  • headaches
  • lupus
  • alzheimer’s disease
  • memory loss
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • numbness of limbs
  • abdominal pain
  • birth defects
  • brain damage
  • link to cancer

Commonly found in

Healthier alternatives

  • natural sweeteners
  • stevia leaf
  • raw honey
  • pure sugar cane

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 12-27-2015
Last updated: 12-10-2016

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 12-27-2015
Last updated: 12-10-2016

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