After Coca-Cola America president Steve Cahillane acknowledged that Diet Coke sales were down because of artificial sweeteners back in October, the European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) has announced that the use of aspartame to sweeten Diet Coke and other colas is absolutely safe. The FDA has deemed aspartame safe for a long time, but maybe people will be less concerned now that the EFSA has said aspartame isn't harmful.
According to the ESFA's study, it's safe for people to consume 40 milligrams of aspartame per kilogram of body weight. Since a 12 ounce can of Diet Coke contains about 180 milligrams of aspartame, this means that a 165 pound male could drink 16 cans of Diet Coke without having to worry about exceeding the safe level.
"This opinion represents one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame ever undertaken," Alicja Mortensen, chairwoman of EFSA's Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Foods (ANS Panel), said. "It's a step forward in strengthening consumer confidence in the scientific underpinning of the EU food safety system and the regulation of food additives."
Many people have long suspected aspartame of causing a host of problems, ranging from headaches all the way to cancer. While some studies have proven that using aspartame and other sugar substitutes can lead to weight gain, it hasn't been proven that aspartame use can cause cancer, diabetes or any other serious health issues. The American Cancer Society also says that aspartame isn't carcinogenic.
Even though Diet Coke is still the number two selling drink in the world, the company did see a drop in sales last year because of concerns with aspartame. Now that the ESFA has made their announcement deeming aspartame safe, perhaps Diet Coke will see their sales come up a bit.
Do you think it's safe to consume aspartame and other artificial sweeteners? Add your comments below. Quite a few Twitter users are celebrating the announcement:
— KFramp (@keframpton) December 10, 2013
[Image via Twitter]
— Rhona Applebaum (@RhonaA_CocaCola) December 10, 2013