A full risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority found that the low-calorie artificial sweetener aspartame is safe for consumption by everyone, including children and pregnant women.
Kansas State University’s Mary Meck Higgins, associate professor of human nutrition, says this thorough assessment concluded the same thing that previous studies have found, that aspartame is safe.
“The claim that it causes cancer and the claim that it messes up our genes have not been founded in terms of scientific studies,” Higgins said.
In the United States, aspartame has been used in products like Equal and diet sodas since 1981. Standards are set for how much aspartame is safe to consume and Higgins says most people do not reach these levels.
“For a 200-pound person, that would be about 20 12-ounce cans of diet soda a day,” Higgins said. “For a child who weighs 50 pounds, that would be about five cans.”
A 12-ounce can of diet soda has about 180 milligrams of aspartame. Packets of Nutrasweet and Equal contain about 35-40 milligrams per packet.