Many people have questions surrounding aspartame, especially when it comes to diet soda, as related to its cancer causing potential. Aspartame, also commonly known as Equal, is one of the most common artificial sweeteners used in today’s food industry and can be found in diet sodas. The majority of aspartame use is for low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, sugar-free beverages, but can be found in numerous other products as well.
There is no conclusive evidence that aspartame consumption increases the risk for cancer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set an acceptable daily intake (ADI), for each individual sweetener available on the food market. The ADI is set as the maximum amount considered safe for consumption each day during a person’s lifetime. The U.S. ADI for aspartame has been set at 50 mg per kg of body weight. For example, the ADI level for an individual weighing 68 kg (or 150 pounds), would be 3400 mg of aspartame. An average 12 ounce can of diet soda contains 180 mg of aspartame. Therefore, the ADI level established by the FDA would allow for that individual to safely drink up to 19 cans of diet soda per day. It is unlikely most people would drink that much diet soda, so it is safe to say that most diet soda drinkers consume well below their ADI for aspartame.
With that said, there is no reason individuals need to use sugar substitutes in their diets. However, sugar substitutes may be a helpful alternative to sugary foods/beverages if someone is trying to lose weight or control their blood sugar levels. If individuals prefer to use sugar rather than a sugar substitute, try cutting back on the portion sizes of the sugary foods and beverages that are being consumed.