Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Is Aspartame (Nutrasweet) safe?

One reader recently asked me to comment on an article that alleges that Aspartame is a toxic chemical that can cause a variety of health problems.

You can click here to see the article.

There is a very short answer to this question.

The official stance of the AVA, the agency who is responsible for food safety in Singapore, is that Aspartame has been shown to be safe for ingestion for the the general public.

However, there are a minority of people who should not be taking aspartame. They are:

1. People with phenylketonuria - a genetic disease.

2. People with advanced liver disease

3 Pregnant women with high levels of phenylalanine in the blood.

Now if you don't recognize any of these terms it just means you probably don't fall into any of the categories above.

The official position of the AVA can be found here

Just one thing you need to bear in mind. This position is based on information known at this point in time. It could be proven wrong in the future. Take the issue of hormone replacement for menopausal women for instance. For many years, the experts advocated the use of hormonal drugs for menopausal women, but that position shifted when information from new research demonstrated that it may not be as safe as what they initially thought.

So the fact is Medicine is Evolving and all we can do is to base our beliefs on the latest information available.

One last piece of advise. You can't trust everything you read on the internet. And when you come across an article like the one above, please don't circulate it to all your friends before checking if the information is accurate. The most recent one I came across was one my friend sent to me on the hazards of microwaving plastic container. It turned out to be a hoax!


Anonymous said...

Pardon me, but your link to the article is incorrect. Betcha you copied-and-pasted from your Gmail account, no? ;-)

Dr Leslie said...

You are absolutely right! Any ideas how I can link to a word document? I don't want to post the whole article on the write up!

Dr Leslie said...

OK, I found the article on the net. Link has been fixed

Anonymous said...

I suppose aspartame has some side effects and that is why some drinks and food products now use xylitol (alcohol sugar) instead. However, xylitol bearing the alcohol chemical group may form other toxic chemicals in the liver during metabolism I guess. Maybe we should refrain from eating too much sweetener or sugar altogether.