Is Aspartame dangerous: The sneaky story of how aspartame became legal

Is Aspartame dangerous: The sneaky story of how aspartame became legal

Is aspartame dangerous? Depends who you ask. This artificial sweetener has found its way into more than 6,000 products including carbonated and powdered soft drinks, chewing gum, confections, gelatins, dessert mixes, puddings and fillings, frozen desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, and some pharmaceuticals such as vitamins and sugar-free cough drops. Currently aspartame is consumed by over 200 million people around the world (source).

That’s a lot of food… and a lot of people. Looks like the question: “Is aspartame dangerous” is one we all should be asking.

If you head on over to you’ll find lots of reassuring data that indicates that the artificial sweetener has been through the “scientific” ringer. You’ll find endorsements by all sorts of “experts” and important people. But if you take a look at the history books the facts paint a different picture:

The sneaky history on how aspartame became legal

Born out of accident

In the mid 1960′s a chemist working for the company by the name of of G.D. Searle accidentally created aspartame in a quest to produce a cure for stomach ulcers. Searle puts aspartame through some testing procedures and eventually gets approval by the FDA.

Unfortunately, the testing process was among the worst. Not long after approval, the dangers of aspartame brought G.D. Searle under major fire.

In fact: Aspartame triggered the first criminal investigation of a manufacturer put into place by the FDA in 1977.

In 1980 the FDA banned aspartame from use after having 3 independent scientist study the artificial sweetener. Why?

Because they found that aspartame came with a high danger of inducing brain tumors.

Is Aspartame dangerous? The sneaky story of how Aspartame became legal. Must read.

Brain tumors: Bad. Aspartame banned by the FDA.

In January of 1981 Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle, stated in a sales meeting that he was going to “call in his markers” and make a push to get aspartame approved. That month Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President of the United States. His transition team included Rumsfeld who hand picked Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. to be the new FDA Commissioner.

Within a couple of months, Hayes appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the claims on aspartame. In a 3 – 2 decision, the panel upheld the original ban, stating that the artificial sweetener was unsafe.

Aspartame: Banned twice by the FDA.

Despite the panel’s decision, Hayes later installed a sixth member on the commission who voted in favor of the making aspartame legal. The vote was now deadlocked.

So what happened?

Hayes personally broke the tie in aspartame’s favor. (Keep in mind that Dr. Hayes, a pharmacologist had no previous experience with food additives before becomes in the FDA Director.)

On July 18, 1981 Hayes officially approved the use of aspartame as an artificial sweetener in dry goods. (How’s this for a kicker: In 1983 Hayes later left his post at the FDA amid accusations that he was accepting corporate gifts for political favors. BUT, just before leaving office in scandal, Hayes approved the use of aspartame in beverages.)

The icing on the cake: In 1985 Searle was absorbed by Monsanto. Donald Rumsfeld reportedly received a $12 million bonus. And the sad tale of fake food and experimentation on the human race continued onward.

So is Aspartame dangerous?

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Here are just some of the different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame:

  • Headaches/migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weight gain
  • Rashes
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Tachycardia
  • Insomnia
  • Vision Problems
  • Heart palpitations
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of taste
  • Vertigo
  • Joint pain

Is Aspartame dangerous? The sneaky story of how Aspartame became legal. Must read.

According to researchers and experts who have studied the dangerous effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be worsened or even triggered by aspartame:

  • Brain tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Lymphoma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Birth defects


So what do you think? Is aspartame dangerous?

This is another one of those cases where you can find a study to “prove” either side: Aspartame is safe. Aspartame is dangerous. However, looking over the history books, I am reminded why I generally don’t trust studies in the first place: The people making the claims can be bought.

Is your health worth the risk? In my experience, trusting natural real food will always win on industrialized, imitation, fake-food sell-outs.

Eat real food. It’s that simple, guys.

Want to eat better, but don’t know where to start?
Check out my new stress-free guide: Processed Free.

This ebook will make the transition to real food simple and enjoyable.

Read more about the diet soda dangers.


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STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Thank Your Body's ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers. You may read my full disclosure statements here.

About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie


  1. Jodi

    Is aspartame labeled? Is it one of those things that can be labeled in a coded way like “natural sweeteners”?

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      As of right now I think it is labeled, at least in the ingredient list.

      1. Jennifer

        Nutra Sweet is a brand name that is most commonly sacharine (it used to come with a warning label of cancer!) thats the “pink” stuff. Aspartame is most commonly packaged as a “blue” sweetner and it’s most common brand name is Equal. Nutra Sweet does how ever make an aspartame product under the same name but they changed the color of the packette blue.

        1. Erin

          NutraSweet has always been the brand name for aspartame, never saccharin. NutraSweet used to be depicted by the red and white swirl on food products until aspartame began to be unfavorable to consumers. Aspartame is also contained in the blue packets known as Equal. Now aspartame is beginning to be marketed as the brand name, AminoSweet. Saccharin has always been an ingredient in Sweet n’ Low found in the pink packets and used to carry a cancer warning on its packets.

          (employed by Wisdom Natural Brands, the makers of SweetLeaf Stevia)

    2. Erin

      If aspartame is contained in a product there must, by law, be a warning for people with phenylketonuria (PKU) on the label. In the US, it will say “PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.” So, if you see this warning, aspartame is in the product, if it’s not there, neither is aspartame.

      (employed by Wisdom Natural Brands, the makers of SweetLeaf Stevia)

      1. Dia

        Thanks for the advice. I started looking for the PKU labal. OMG!!! I was only looking for the word aspartame. There are TONS more food I missed -_-.

      2. Jessica

        Not true at the moment. Several dairy/milk companies have been pestering the FDA for approval to withhold the Phenylketonurics warning. TruMoo, being one of them; and they now include aspartame in their products. As does Pepsi, both without warning labels. Be careful what you drink or eat, its worth a few minutes online to check the ingredients of your food.

    3. Cher Bales

      So far it is still on the list of ingredients BUT they are trying really hard to fix it so they don’t have to list it by name because many of us are ingredient readers and avoid aspartame like the plague that it is. you would be surprised at ALL the products it is in. (The one thing it
      IS good for is ANT POISON) it is also known as Nutrisweet

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    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Can you clarify what you think I have reported that is fiction? Linking to a wikipedia article doesn’t really help.

      1. Chris

        Well your suggesting a government conspiracy as (circumstantial) evidence as to why the sweetner is bad.

        To many that will seem far fetched,

        While it may be true, Youll win over many more people by focusing on independent studies which have concluded that the product is bad.

        not doing so leads to the standstill which you even mentioned, “theres studies supporting both sides”

        So why should I believe an article whos focus was not providing their own proof, but disproving the opposing sides?

        It leaves too much up to uncertainty for the reader,

        1. Chris

          And I mean direct links to studies, not links to other blogs or websites doing the same thing,

          It would take some effort, but it really would make your article that much more credible than fear mongering

          1. Post author
            Robin Konie

            I doubt there are independent studies out there about the historical events of how aspartame became legal. But I still feel confident in my sources, especially because my research turned up so many articles that spoke about the same events. The problem with “independent” studies is that it’s hard to find ones that truly are unbiased. They require lots of funding so they are often funded by the very companies that will benefit from the results. As I indicated, you’ll find “evidence” on both sides of the fence. The whole point of the article isn’t about fear mongering, but showing the shady business by which this stuff became legal in the first place. Ultimately I still stand by the idea: Eat real food. It’s just common sense. How many fake stuff have we later found out were dangerous? Eat real food, people. It’s not science. It’s just smart.

    2. Noelle

      Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Anybody can write anything on there and she did include links to sources in this article

  3. Emma Brown

    the only thing about all the warnings, have you ever noticed that practically everything we eat, drink, or take as medicines contains something dangerous that will hurt us…I have listened to the ads about different meds on TV, and 99 % of them have warnings such as dizziness, seizures, numbness, weight gain, suicidal feelings, rash, and on and on and on…sometimes even death…so what’s a body to do!!???

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Yeah, the side effects listed with drugs are scary… one reason why I think they should be a last resort option (not saying that there isn’t a time and place for them, but I’d always start with nutrition, homeopathetic remedies, etc. first.)

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  10. Sandra Belgarde

    I recently lost my companion of 12 and a half years, he had most of the symptoms that was stated here, wish I had read this sooner.

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