Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener that is commonly used in diet and sugar-free products.
However, despite its widespread use, several concerns have been raised about the potential negative health effects of aspartame, including its links to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
In December 2022, a new study published in the journal PNAS found evidence that aspartame may also be a significant contributor to anxiety.
What is Aspartame?
Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener that is used in a wide variety of products, including diet sodas, sugar-free gum, and sugar-free baked goods. It is a synthetic compound that is made from two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine.
Aspartame is estimated to be 200 times sweeter than sugar, which allows it to be used in small amounts to provide the same level of sweetness as sugar.
Aspartame is used in items such as:
● low-sugar or sugar-free products
● diet foods and drinks
● manufactured pastries and snacks
● fruit juice
How is Aspartame Linked to Anxiety?
Several studies have found neurophysiological symptoms associated with aspartame consumption, including mood changes, headaches, memory and concentration problems, and increased risks of depression.
This most recent study by researchers at Florida State University found that aspartame may directly impact the functioning of your amygdala. The amygdala is a part of the brain that regulates and responds to fear and anxiety.
The observed effect was not just a short-term reaction to aspartame consumption, but rather a long-term change in amygdala gene expression.
The FDA recommends a maximum daily intake of no more than 50 mg of aspartame per kilogram of body weight. The effects observed in this study occurred with doses at just 15% of this maximum. This suggests that “safe” amounts of aspartame may be far lower than previously thought.
However, it should be noted that this study was conducted in mice, and more research is needed to confirm these findings in humans.
Is Aspartame Safe?
Aspartame has been approved for use by numerous regulatory agencies around the world, including the FDA in the United States. It has been deemed safe for consumption by these agencies based on the results of numerous studies that have been conducted.
However, there don’t appear to be any benefits to consuming aspartame. And based on recent research linking aspartame to several physical and mental health conditions, you may want to consider limiting your intake as much as possible.