This artificial sweetener is in use around the world as a sugar substitute. It is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and has the advantage of being very low in calories. You find it added to all kinds of foods and drinks. Breakfast cereals, chewing gum, and diet drinks are a few common examples. Controversy has developed over its use over the past few decades. Some allege aspartame causes a range of serious health problems. They urge people to avoid eating or drinking foodstuffs that contain it. Studies made by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and other respected agencies have not found any scientific proof that aspartame damages your health, but the debate continues.
The number one concern over the use of aspartame centers on allegations that it can cause cancer. Many studies have investigated this issue. Italian researchers experimented on rats. Their research indicated that a high intake of aspartame raises the risks of leukemia and lymphomas. In the 1980's, a study of human beings made in the USA raised questions about a possible link between aspartame and brain tumors. The FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) dispute the validity of these findings, but some people remain unconvinced that aspartame is completely safe.
Experts agree that those who suffer from this uncommon genetic disorder need to limit their intake of aspartame. This congenital disability prevents the body breaking down the phenylalanine amino acid. Consequently, the phenylalanine could build upon their bloodstream to damage a child's brain development, or adversely affect the fetus in the mother's womb. A large number of foods contain phenylalanine, and it is a component of aspartame. This is why PKU sufferers must check food and drink contents for aspartame. They may have these products in limited amounts providing they are careful not to exceed their limits.
High doses of methanol are toxic. The body breaks up aspartame into various substances and methanol is one of these. It follows from this that the more aspartame you take, the greater the risk of self-poisoning through high methanol levels. However, the way the body works is not so straightforward. Scientists point out that a number of studies prove how you absorb much less methanol from aspartame than you get from fruit juices and some other natural foodstuffs. However, despite the lack of scientific support, quite a few people remain suspicious.
The possible harm to eyesight is one of the most serious claims made about the possible negative effects of high aspartame intake. The allegations include damage to night vision, blurring of eyes, blocking of the tear ducts and eye pain. Some even claim that overconsumption of this substance could even lead to partial or complete blindness. In the absence of supporting scientific evidence, doctors remain skeptical about these possible links to eyesight damage, but some people conclude even unproven risks are too great to accept in this area.
Parallel to the charges that high aspartame intake damages the eyes are the allegations about its negative effects on hearing. For example, some say that it might cause the annoying ring or buzz in the ear that significant numbers of people experience. Where doctors are unsure why a particular hearing problem developed, it is natural to seek out all kinds of other possible explanations. Without conclusive scientific proof about the possible impact or non-impact of aspartame on hearing abilities this debate continues.
The answer of the medical professionals and scientists is a resounding no, but their dismissive approach does little to dispel suspicions. Even if all the studies made up to date lend no support to the theory of a link between epilepsy and high aspartame levels in the body, proponents are unconvinced about this substance's safety. They might point out how we regularly hear about some new study that forces us to rethink previously held opinions. They suspect that future research will discover such as epilepsy and aspartame connection.
Another common claim is that too much aspartame in the diet increases the risks of premature births. The scientifically proven connection between excessive aspartame intake and fetus damage (in women with the PKU genetic defect) gives charge this charge some credibility. No woman wants to face the challenges a premature birth poses to her health and the health of her baby. While the concerns are genuine and easy to understand, Britain's National Health Service and other respected medical authorities say these fears completely lack a scientific basis.
It is possible that high aspartame intake could worsen asthma and other kinds of allergies. This theory is quite popular, but again it lacks support from the medical profession. Someone who suffers badly from allergies might want to put this idea to a personal test. They could do their best to cut out products containing aspartame from their diet for a certain period. They might even try to increase their intake for another length of time and then compare their allergic experiences for these two test periods.
Scientists still have much to learn about how this degenerative disease develops, and possible treatments that could control or even reverse it. In this climate, a range of possible cause theories come up for discussion, and one of these explores a possible connection with aspartame. Maybe in years to come, researchers will find evidence that supports this idea, but now it is just conjecture.
Attention deficiency issues have come into the public focus. In particular, teachers express their concern over students who seem unable to apply themselves to studies even though they have intellectual abilities. Do high amounts of aspartame in their food and drink cause these concentration problems? This charge often surfaces but no clear proof takes this from theory to fact.
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