We are aware that some members have been worried about possible side-effects of aspartame and other sweeteners, mainly due to scare stories in the media.
Please be reassured that sweeteners, including aspartame, have been found to be safe to include in food and drinks. Because artificial sweeteners are classed as food additives they’re required by law to undergo rigorous testing and approval procedures before they can be used. The findings of scientific tests are reviewed by independent expert scientific committees who then advise the government before an additive is approved for use. There are also regulations controlling how much of each sweetener manufacturers can use in food and drink.
The safety of aspartame has been extensively investigated. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which is responsible for testing the safety of all additives, have recently reviewed over 2000 studies and reports on aspartame. Their report concluded that aspartame is safe to consume and the government’s Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) is set at a level where there is negligible risk to humans. In fact, as a safeguard, the ADI is set one hundred times lower than levels used in research studies looking at the safety of sweeteners. This means that you could consume your daily limit every day safely with no adverse effect.
Slimming World always follows the latest food safety and consumer health information provided by the government Food Standards Agency and Department of Health scientific experts regarding food listed within our Food Optimising system. If we were to learn that they had any concerns over the safety of aspartame, or any other sweetener, we would of course inform all our Consultants and members.
If for any reason you’d prefer not to consume products containing aspartame then you can of course make suitable food choices to allow for this, or indeed any other particular dietary preference. In our recipes where aspartame based sweetener is listed, you can substitute a low-calorie sweetener that does not contain aspartame; the Syns will not be affected as long as the sweetener you choose has less than 2 calories per teaspoonful. Any sweeteners used in a product will be listed on the label. Other intense sweeteners currently permitted for use in foods in the UK include saccharin, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K), sucralose and stevia. We recommend that members enjoy a varied diet, and this extends to sweeteners. By varying your choices you’ll be unlikely to overconsume any one of them. And of course, if you’d rather not use sweeteners at all then with the huge range of foods available through Food Optimising this is certainly possible.