Does aspartame depress IQ?

For about a month ago, I held a lecture at a university-preparatory school in Sweden. The audience – boys and girls in their late teens – thus had to listen to my exposition about fitness and nutrition, and at least the majority seemed to appreciate the most of it.

Basically in regard to nutrition, I examined four main tips, of which the fourth I emphasized as the least important but nevertheless eventually rather essential to some people. That is: eat sweeteners if you have developed some sort of addiction to sugar (and/or a tendency to eat too much carbohydrates in general). It helps to decrease calories and to avoid junk food and drinks.

After EFSA’s study about aspartame – which was released in December last year – it is namely safe to assert a thing a like that. Even if science in this respect is tentative and partially incomplete in particular senses, one can still stop worrying about depressed cognitive abilities due to diet coke, sugar free chewing gums etc. The EFSA report does for instance state the following:

Experts of ANS Panel have considered all available information and, following a detailed analysis, have concluded that the current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 40mg/kg bw/day is protective for the general population. However, in patients suffering from the medical condition phenylketonuria (PKU), the ADI is not applicable, as they require strict adherence to a diet low in phenylalanine (an amino acid found in proteins).

Following a thorough review of evidence provided both by animal and human studies, experts have ruled out a potential risk of aspartame causing damage to genes and inducing cancer. EFSA’s experts also concluded that aspartame does not harm the brain, the nervous system or affect behaviour or cognitive function in children or adults. With respect to pregnancy, the Panel noted that there was no risk to the developing fetus from exposure to phenylalanine derived from aspartame at the current ADI (with the exception of women suffering from PKU).

If these products would in fact impair IQ the slightest, I would have never consumed a single one of them. Hence, one has to take notice of nutrition of all sorts that might have deleterious effects on both body and brains. But aspartame does not seem to be one of them. (And now there is stevia, too).