Can aspartame-sweetened products safely help with weight loss?

Adam Wojcieszonek, Justyna Szpyt, Kacper Pajor, Viktoria Hawryłkowicz



One of the main causes of obesity is the high consumption of products rich in easily absorbed carbohydrates. Sweet products with lower energy value, which sweetness comes from artificial sweeteners are becoming more and more popular. One of the most examined and popular is aspartame. This sweetener is broken down in the human body among others to methanol, which is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid, that are toxic to the human body. Furthermore, there is an ongoing discussion about the potential carcinogenicity and the impact of aspartame on the gut microbiota. A literature review was conducted to determine whether aspartame could be considered a safe weight loss aid.

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guidelines indicate that the toxic dose of aspartame in chronic use is 4000 mg per every kilogram of body mass per day. On the other hand, there are studies on rats that indicate that EFSA's position is overly optimistic. However, it should be noted, that so high consumption situations of this sweetener that would allow to approach the recommended daily maximum are extremely rare. The amount of methanol provided by aspartame-sweetened foods also makes it extremely difficult to achieve toxic levels. Aspartame has also been shown not to affect the gut microbiota.

What is important from a dietary point of view, study that compared the consumption of "light" drinks with water showed that people on a diet and consuming "light" drinks achieved significantly greater weight reduction (approx. 1.24 kg) compared to people consuming only water. The use of aspartame as a substitute for sugar may help in reducing excess body weight. However, attention should be paid to the inconclusive results regarding the acceptable safe level of consumption of this sweetener.


Aspartame; Sweeteners; Obesity; Weight Reduction Diet

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