Debunking the Myth of Aspartame
Aspartame - the big, bad chemical certain to put you in an early grave (if you believe what you read in the newspapers). It's a bit of a Chinese whisper gone mad and something that many people will vouch for without really knowing anything about it. The reality is that, as with most things, it's a case of reading the small print. While Aspartame can be detrimental to your health, the volume in which it would have to be consumed for this to be the case is quite extreme.
The ADI (acceptable daily intake - the projected amount that could be consumed per day over your lifetime without any adverse effects to your health) given to Aspartame by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is 40mg per KG of bodyweight. This means that my ADI at 90kg bodyweight, would be 3,600mg per day. To put that into perspective for you, a 330ml can of Diet Coke contains roughly 192mg of Aspartame. This means that according to EFSA guidelines, I could drink nearly 19 cans per day with no negative impact to my health (in relation to Aspartame only, not any other ingredients).
Now regardless of these facts, I'm sure there will stilll be a lot of sceptics who would argue that having 'the real thing' (i.e. Coca Cola) in moderation would be the safer bet and a healthier option long term. My argument would be that being overweight is a far greater health risk. In fact as of 2016, obesity was second only to smoking as the leading cause of premature death in Europe (funnily enough, Aspartame was nowhere to be seen). With 35 grams of sugar per 330ml of Coca Cola, consuming one can per day would equate to 980 calories per week being consumed via sugar content from these drinks only. For an individual already struggling to control their weight (let's assume they already have a poor diet), these additional calories will make the task of achieving weightloss even more of an uphill battle.
As well as the diet alternative being a great dieting aid for already lean individuals whilst in a cutting phase, the reality at the other end of the spectrum is that it could provide just enough of a sweet tooth stimulus to prevent further weight gain or even swing the balance in the favour of weight loss for those battling with obesity. Break it down like this and in my opinion, it's a no brainer. The only guidelines I give to my clientelle is to ensure that these drinks are being consumed (when deemed necessary) on top of their water intake targets and not as a substitute.