View a Demo of our Health Platform

Platform Demo

Shop tests
All General Health Tests
All Male Health Tests
All Female Tests
All Fitness Tests
All Conditions Tests
All Longevity Tests
All Nutrition Tests
1. Choose your category
  • General
  • Fitness
  • Conditions
  • Female
  • Male
  • Longevity
  • Nutrition
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Skin
  • Gift OM
2. Choose your goal
View all General
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
View all Fitness
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
View all Conditions
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
View all Female
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
View all Male
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
View all Longevity
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
View all Nutrition
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
View all Mood
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
View all Sleep
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
View all Skin
Not sure? Take our quiz
2. Choose your goal
Not sure? Take our quiz
Not sure? Take our quiz
aspartame; cancer; diabetes; sweetener, metabolism, neurodegeneration

Aspartame and it’s potential link to cancer and diabetes

Written by: Kiara Lipschitz



Time to read 6 min

Keywords: aspartame; cancer; diabetes; sweetener, metabolism, neurodegeneration

1. Is Aspartame Really Safe?

Have you ever wondered about the safety of the sweetener you add to your morning coffee or the diet fizzy drinks you sip on?

Aspartame, a widely used artificial sweetener, has been a subject of controversy and public discourse for years. Despite its prevalence in various food and beverage products, not much is known about its impact on our health.

Let us delve into the world of aspartame where we will explore why it's so widely used, despite the concerns, and what the latest scientific research says about its safety.

1.1. Why is Aspartame so widely used?

Aspartame, a nonnutritive sweetener, is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose , making it a popular sugar substitute in over 6,000 consumer foods and drinks worldwide .

Its benefits lie in its taste, low-calorie content , and its non-impact on the concentrations of the blood glucose levels , making it a preferred choice for weight management and sugar control for diabetics.

Aspartame's safety has been a subject of much speculation. It has been linked to various health conditions, including diabetes mellitus , higher doses can cause depression .

Despite these concerns, regulatory bodies like the European Food Safety Authority and the U.S Food and Drug Administration have deemed the current consumption levels of aspartame safe.

However, the World Health Organization's cancer agency has classified aspartame as a "possible" cause of cancer , sparking further debate. 

aspartame; cancer; diabetes; sweetener, metabolism, neurodegeneration

1.2. Addressing the rumours

The controversy surrounding aspartame is complex, with conflicting research findings adding to the confusion.

While the  International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)  has classified aspartame as a "possible" cause of cancer, other expert groups maintain that the sugar substitute is safe in limited quantities.

This difference in opinion comes from inconsistent evidence in multiple studies.

Some research indicates a potential link between aspartame and cancer , while others find no such association .

This inconsistency, coupled with the limitations of the studies, prevents a definitive link between aspartame and cancer.

Interestingly, aspartame was banned in some parts of Europe , but the ban was later on  lifted .

The ban is largely due to the IARC's classification of aspartame as a " possible carcinogen ," placing it in the same group as aloe vera extract and some Asian pickled vegetables.

This classification indicates limited evidence of a potential cancer link. As consumers, it's essential to stay informed and make dietary choices based on the most recent and reliable research. 

Become an OptimallyMe member, and start earning rewards! No obscure points system, just get rewarded with credit rewards directly to your account.

The more friends you refer - the more perks you will receive on your way to becoming an Exclusive Member!

Men's Health

1.3. Is Aspartame Safer than Sugar?

The science behind aspartame's safety is complex and multifaceted.

Research indicates that the metabolic products of aspartame may be  more harmful than aspartame itself.

This raises the question: Is aspartame really safer to use than sugar?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) has approved six non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) for human consumption, including aspartame, and classified them under the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) category.

However, more research on a larger scale and more peer-reviewed material is needed before a decision is made on the potential exclusion of aspartame of this list of six USA-FDA-approved sweeteners.

The use of any sweeteners and their impact on the human body is entirely dependent on the diet of the individual. NNS is least useful when they are used to substitute nutrient-dense foods such as milk and fruits . It is therefore in the hands of the healthcare providers to support and encourage the use of NNS (or not do so), as a broader and more coherent picture of the individual health of the person needs to be observed.

aspartame; cancer; diabetes; sweetener, metabolism, neurodegeneration

2. Should individuals with diabetes be taking aspartame?

Aspartame may pose certain risks to health, particularly in relation to insulin resistance.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine suggests that aspartame could act as a chemical stressor, increasing cortisol levels in the body.

This could potentially lead to systemic oxidative stress by producing excess free radicals.

Aspartame may also interfere with the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor , which plays a crucial role in controlling insulin secretion.

This interference could result in insulin deficiency or resistance .

Additionally, aspartame might alter gut microbial activity , which has been linked to metabolic health and insulin resistance.

However, more research is needed to fully understand the implications of these findings. 

2.1. Effect of artificial sweeteners on insulin resistance

Research indicates that the consumption of aspartame, may have an impact on insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Aspartame is 200 times sweeter  than sugar and has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels, making it a popular choice for those looking to control carbohydrate intake and blood glucose levels.

However, a study published in Current Diabetes Reviews suggests that aspartame may increase insulin resistance in some individuals .

The exact mechanism behind this effect is not fully understood, and more research is needed to confirm these findings.

aspartame; cancer; diabetes; sweetener, metabolism, neurodegeneration

2.2. Aspartame and Cancer: A Possible Connection

As we mentioned above, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified aspartame as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).

This classification was based on limited evidence for cancer in humans, specifically hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer.

While the evidence was limited, it's important to note that the study was focused on a specific type of liver cancer.

This classification doesn't imply that aspartame is definitively carcinogenic, but it does suggest a potential link that warrants further investigation.

As with any dietary choice, it's crucial to weigh the potential risks and benefits. 

2.3. A Balanced View on Aspartame and Diabetes Management

Aspartame presents a complex picture when it comes to its safety for individuals with diabetes. While it can be a useful tool for managing blood glucose levels due to its low-calorie nature and negligible effect on blood sugar, potential risks such as increased insulin resistance and possible carcinogenic properties cannot be overlooked.

A balanced view of aspartame is essential, acknowledging its utility but also cautioning against overdependence. Furthermore, it's crucial to remember that managing diabetes goes beyond just monitoring sugar intake. It involves a holistic approach that considers individual circumstances and needs, from lifestyle adjustments to alternative treatments.

aspartame; cancer; diabetes; sweetener, metabolism, neurodegeneration

3. Worried about your diabetes risk?

The OptimallyMe DiabetesTest  offers a simple and convenient way to gain valuable insights into your blood sugar levels and overall health.

This at-home test focuses on your HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c) levels , a key marker of long-term blood sugar control. Whether you're concerned about your pre-diabetes risk or seeking guidance on managing existing diabetes, the OptimallyMe  test can help you:

  • Understand your diabetes risk: Early detection is crucial. The test helps identify potential problems before they escalate.

  • Gain control and manage your diabetes: Receive personalised insights to optimise your diabetes management plan.

  • Make informed decisions about your health: Knowing your HbA1c levels empowers you to make informed choices about your diet and lifestyle.

It's easy to participate:

  1. Order your test online.

  2. Complete the simple at-home finger prick test.

  3. Receive your results within 48 hours on a secure, interactive AI-powered dashboard.

  4. Access personalised insights and recommendations, empowering you to take charge of your health.

Don't wait! Knowing your blood sugar levels is crucial for preventing long-term health complications. Take control of your well-being by ordering the OptimallyMe DiabetesTest  today.

More OptimallyMe Products