Aspartame-True or False? Narrative Review of Safety Analysis of General Use in Products

Nutrients. 2021 Jun 7;13(6):1957. doi: 10.3390/nu13061957.


Aspartame is a sweetener introduced to replace the commonly used sucrose. It was discovered by James M. Schlatter in 1965. Being 180-200 times sweeter than sucrose, its intake was expected to reduce obesity rates in developing countries and help those struggling with diabetes. It is mainly used as a sweetener for soft drinks, confectionery, and medicines. Despite its widespread use, its safety remains controversial. This narrative review investigates the existing literature on the use of aspartame and its possible effects on the human body to refine current knowledge. Taking to account that aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener, it seems appropriate to continue research on safety. Studies mentioned in this article have produced very interesting results overall, the current review highlights the social problem of providing visible and detailed information about the presence of aspartame in products. The studies involving the impact of aspartame on obesity, diabetes mellitus, children and fetus, autism, neurodegeneration, phenylketonuria, allergies and skin problems, its cancer properties and its genotoxicity were analyzed. Further research should be conducted to ensure clear information about the impact of aspartame on health.

Keywords: artificial sweeteners; aspartame; cancer; metabolism; neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspartame / adverse effects*
  • Aspartame / metabolism
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / chemically induced
  • Mutagens / toxicity
  • Nerve Degeneration / chemically induced
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / analysis


  • Mutagens
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Aspartame