Should you be worried about the aspartame in diet sodas, yogurt, cereals, and other packaged foods?
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization named aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends limiting aspartame consumption to no more than 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. For a person weighing 150 pounds, that comes out to about 18 diet sodas per day or 75 packets of NutraSweet.
People with certain health issues may also be more sensitive to aspartame.
For example, those taking medications for schizophrenia have been advised to avoid the artificial sweetener because it could increase the risk of tardive dyskinesia (uncontrolled muscle movements).
Aspartame may be riskier for those with liver disease and for some pregnant women.
Some studies have linked aspartame consumption to ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Anecdotal evidence found the problem went away when the person stopped consuming the sweetener.
Other studies have found artificial sweeteners may cause some people to gain weight because instead of satisfying a craving for sweets, the sweet sodas may stimulate the appetite.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that for some people with sensitivities, aspartame consumption may be linked to headache, diarrhea and mood swings.
Consult your doctor about your individual risk based on your individual health concerns.