No, It’s For Real: Aspartame Causes Cancer


There’s been a ton of debate over the years about whether or not aspartame causes cancer. Based on the evidence out there I’ve always thought it likely true. Well, the evidence continues to get more and more compelling as additional, larger studies are done.

A 2005 study was published by the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). This study was significantly larger than previous ones. So what did they find?

“Our study has shown that aspartame is a multipotential carcinogenic compound whose carcinogenic effects are also evident at a daily dose of 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg), notably less than the current acceptable daily intake for humans,” the authors write.

From a Medical News Today summary:

Researchers administered aspartame to Sprague-Dawley rats by adding it to a standard diet. They began studying the rats at 8 weeks of age and continued until the spontaneous death of each rat. Treatment groups received feed that contained concentrations of aspartame at dosages simulating human daily intakes of 5,000, 2,500, 500, 100, 20, and 4 mg/kg body weight. Groups consisted of 100 males and 100 females at each of the three highest dosages and 150 males and 150 females at all lower dosages and controls.

The experiment ended after the death of the last animal at 159 weeks. At spontaneous death, each animal underwent examination for microscopic changes in all organs and tissues, a process different from the aspartame studies conducted 30 years ago and one that was designed to allow aspartame to fully express any carcinogenic potential.

The treated animals showed extensive evidence of malignant cancers including lymphomas, leukemias, and tumors at multiple organ sites in both males and females. The authors speculate the increase in lymphomas and leukemias may be related to one of the metabolites in aspartame, namely methanol, which is metabolized in both rats and humans to formaldehyde. Both methanol and formaldehyde have shown links to lymphomas and leukemias in other long-term experiments by the same authors.

In other words, the argument has always been, “Well if you give someone four times their body weight in just about anything it’ll probably cause cancer.” But that’s just it: all indications point to aspartame causing cancer at or below the amounts approved for human consumption by the FDA.

Seriously. Consider not consuming this poison anymore.:

[ Update: This link points to another study that refutes the Italian study. That study was extremely large and the results are discussed on the National Cancer Institute's web page, which gives it a lot of weight in my book. But I still remain unconvinced.

The common argument of "humans are different than animals" simply doesn't hold water for me, especially when the opposing evidence did not come from actually administering the aspartame in a lab environment like the Italian study did. Anyway, I sure as hell won't be drinking the stuff, and I'll continue to recommend that my friends and family don't as well. ]