On Friday 24th Pepsico announced that it would remove aspartame from Diet Pepsi and other diet beverages and replace them with sucralose. It follows the conference that happened in New York on the 19th February  that goes like this “And the number-one thing we see from consumers is a complaint about aspartame. Aspartame is just one sweetener, but it's the one that seems to get most of the negatives in the press and on YouTube. And as you research it, that's where the negatives are coming.”
Internet and social media is a great power. It helped to overthrow rulers and shake the nations, as it was the case in 2010 to 2012 in North Africa and Asia during Arab Spring .
But sometimes the Internet can be a hub for scaremongering and unexplained panic. Often an online presence, shared by a friend or a family relative causes us to suspend our original suspicions and literally believe everything the ‘internet says’
Big so called natural sites like Mercola  and other ones that can be found nicely indexed over at QuackWatch have posted, on several occasions that aspartame is ‘toxic’ and can give you anything from mild nausea to clinical depression or cancer, and contribute to weight gain.
But is this true?
What the Officials think of aspartame safety and can it help us lose weight, or the opposite?
FDA approved aspartame in 1981 and for the last 34 years no one can find any harmful effects on humans. Sure if you are a rat you may be in trouble, however if you are one, your name is likely to be Remy and you are busy cooking a Ratatouille sequel.
Otherwise acceptable daily intake of aspartame is 50mg per kg of body weight.
This means that my 84kg body can drink 21 cans of this Diet Pepsi on a daily basis over a lifetime without an appreciable health risk. This info comes from and organization that is responsible for regulating the safety of 80% of the nation’s food supply. This also was double checked by Government Accountability Office .
You can calculate your safety dose here http://www.nafwa.org/sweetener.php
Now, no one says that you SHOULD drink this many cans of any beverage; even water may be risky in doses of 7 litres for me if I would drink it in less than 7 hours .
And what about weight loss?
According to American Dietetic Association “Adults may be able to better manage weight when sugary foods and beverages are replaced with a lower/no sugar counterpart” . This is seems to be in line with the 2014 American Society for Nutrition meta-analysis that states “that substituting low-calorie sweeteners options for their regular-calorie versions results in a modest weight loss, and may be a useful dietary tool to improve compliance with weight loss or weight maintenance plans” .
You need to be aware of the fact that there is a personal preference and triggers that work different for everyone.
Some people can have a can of diet beverage and that will satisfy their ‘sugar cravings’, other will have a can of diet coke and after buy a bar of chocolate. This probably happens because of the association of “guilt foods”, i.e. if I had can of Pepsi I might as well have something naughty and very calorific .
This would explain why a lot of people who try, unsuccessfully to lose weight, blame their diet beverage of choice when in fact they are probably consuming too many calories.
So what to do with all this?
Enjoy life, make water your main beverage for health and weight loss , practice habits that will help you reduce your overall calorie intake, but if you fancy a can of Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke, Diet anything – go for it!
I used to be terrified of being seen in public drinking a diet beverage, but I am not afraid anymore, since my annual dosage of it equals my daily healthy allowance.
PepsiCo. 2015. PEP - PepsiCo Inc at Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.pepsico.com/docs/album/default-document-library/pep-cagny-transcript-02-19-15.pdf?sfvrsn=0
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11. Dhingra R, et al. 2007. Soft Drink Consumption and Risk of Developing Cardiometabolic Risk Factors and the Metabolic Syndrome in Middle-Aged Adults in the Community. Circulation. 5/116, 480-488. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/116/5/480.long
12. Science Daily. 2010. Drink water to curb weight gain? Clinical trial confirms effectiveness of simple appetite control method. Available at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100823142929.htm
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'Greg Mikolap, BSc in Physiotherapy, and a Personal Trainer based in Maidenhead, England. Greg is also a founder of www.PTFolder.com, training solution for people who want to get fit or for people who help others get fit. With almost 10 years experience in the industry, Greg is also a course director for Faster Health & Fitness and is working on his volleyball performance book.'