Is the link between anxiety and aspartame consumption true?

Verified on 06/01/2023 by PasseportSanté
Le lien entre l'anxiété et la consommation d'aspartame est-il vrai ?

Should we be wary of aspartame? This food additive found in diet products has been the subject of several warnings in recent years.

After hypothesizing a link between aspartame consumption and the occurrence of cancer and miscarriage, scientists have discovered that it may also cause anxiety disorders… at least in mice. Explanations.

A new study on aspartame

Low in calories, aspartame is a food additive with around 200 times the sweetening power of sugar. While studies have already shown a link between aspartame consumption and an increased risk of cancer and miscarriage, new research now highlights its role in the development of anxiety disorders.

Published in the scientific journal PNAS and conducted by researchers at Florida State University College of Medicine, the study highlighted the occurrence of anxious behavior in mice regularly consuming aspartame.

Aspartame associated with anxiety disorders over several generations

For 12 weeks, researchers hydrated mice with water containing aspartame at a level equivalent to 15% of the maximum daily intake approved by US authorities, or the human equivalent of 6 to 8 230 ml cans of diet soda per day.

After three months on an aspartame diet, the mice were subjected to a series of maze tests. Results: pronounced anxious behavior was observed. « Extremely strong anxious traits were seen, » said study co-author Sara Jones in a statement. This was completely unexpected. Usually, we observe subtle changes. »

These anxiety disorders then spread to the next two generations. « This study shows that we need to look further back in terms of environmental factors, because what we’re seeing today is not just what’s happening today, but what happened two generations ago and perhaps even longer, » explained Pradeep Bhide, another co-author of the study.

Where can you find aspartame and how can you recognize it?

Aspartame is generally hidden in low-fat or « light » products: sodas, desserts, chewing gums…. Aspartame is also found in table-top sweeteners, such as those used to sweeten coffee.

How do I know if a product contains aspartame? Its presence is indicated on the product label: either by its name, or by its number, E 951.