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Ask the Guru

Lyle McDonald BSc.
Lyle is a researcher and coach who has worked with bodybuilders, powerlifters and other athletes on all aspects of their training, diet, and supplementation.
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Is Aspartame Safe

Q: Is aspartame safe or does it cause brain tumors? Where did this myth come from or should I be worried and stop drinking Diet Coke?

A. In predisposed rats fed absolutely horse doses of the stuff (the amounts given in these situations are so far beyond what any human could conceivably consume), there may be an issue and this is where the scaremongering about the compound comes from. But consider that aspartame is simply a combination of the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid, both found in dietary protein. Most of the fear comes out of an oddity whereby there can be a conversion of one of the amino acids to methanol. But that occurs with compounds found in fruit as well. Honestly, I consider most of the fear mongering about the stuff to be out in left field, some people just need for something to be ‘the enemy’. And they choose aspartame. But unless you’re getting the equivalent of like 200 cans of soda per day (or whatever the insane rat dose works out to), it’s just not an issue.

Find out what sports nutrition guru Mark Gilbert has to say about this same topic by clicking here!