Recently, Pepsi announced that they were going to remove aspartame from from Diet Pepsi and replace it with sucralose and acesulfame potassium, AKA Ace K. Sucralose is derived from sugar, and Ace K is the sweetener used in Coke Zero that gives it that “real sugar” flavor. Internet-based fears about aspartame are sweeping. Quacks and conspiracy theorists say it’s the most dangerous substance in food, that it causes MS like symptoms and, my personal favorite, that it killed Heath Ledger.
So with all these fears, was removing aspartame from Diet Pepsi necessary for safety or health? Science says no.
Aspartame is one of the most-studied food additives ever. It’s been shown, time after time, to be safe. No links to cancer, MS, ADHD, the NY Yankees, premature ejaculation, your dog sniffing the litter box, or any other random thing you want to blame on this. It just tastes sweet.
It’s not even making you fat. I’m sure you’ve heard that diet soda with aspartame can cause weight gain. I drank Diet Coke when I was overweight, I drank Diet Coke all through my 90lb-weight loss, and I still drink Diet Coke. The difference is that I eat a lot more fruits and vegetables now and fewer french fries. An excess of calories will make you gain weight, not carbonated water with caffeine. Studies linking diet soda to weight gain are, at best, corollary, and haven’t closely enough examined the other behaviors of the people in the study.