Since the 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration /a> and the American Council of Health and Science /a> have rejected repeated claims that aspartame, the active ingredient in artificial sugar brands like Equal and Splenda, is toxic to the human body. However, these organizations did advise patients suffering from the rare genetic disorder phenylketonuria to limit intake of or not consume at all products containing aspartame because they are unable to process a certain amino acid, phenylalanine, one of the components of aspartame.
Soon after learning this, the media has jumped to conclusions by making sensational claims /a> about aspartame, saying that people who consume aspartame are killing brain cells and at greater risk for neurological conditions such as chronic seizures, Alzheimer's disease, Multiple sclerosis, brain cancer, and systemic lupus. News articles are committing the fallacy of equating correlation with causation given the increase in number of patients with multiple sclerosis over the past years. They are failing to consider that there may be other factors leading to the rise of diagnosis of mentioned diseases besides aspartame, such as sedentary lifestyles, obesity, or excessive caffeine intake.
It is important to realize that one chemical is not responsible for a wide slew of illnesses and afflictions and there has not been substantial evidence to suggest that aspartame has a negative effect on an average healthy human being. In fact, there have been several studies /a> that showed that even after taking high doses of aspartame, there were no effects on mood, memory, behaviour, or activity level. Peer review and generalizability of the results among other studies support this finding.
Instead, they have spread mistruths disguised as scientific fact by including quasi-medical jargon to confuse and unnecessarily cause worry in readers and complex biochemical vocabulary to feign authority and credibility in their findings.