Aspartame & cancer.
The lowest level that increased risk was close to what many people consume in foods--equal to about eight cans of aspartame-sweetened diet soda a day for adults, or two cans a day for children.
What's more, brain tumors occurred in 12 of the 1,500 animals fed aspartame but in none of the 300 animals in the aspartame-free group--a difference not statistically significant but troubling enough to warrant further research.
However, lung cancer is the only cancer in women that has soared since aspartame hit the market in the early 1980s. That suggests that aspartame might not affect humans as much as it did the lab animals-though it's possible that it might take another decade for cancers to occur.
What to do: Until the dust settles, switch to foods without artificial sweeteners or ones sweetened with sucralose (Splenda), which appears to be safe. And continue to avoid acesulfame potassium (which is often used together with Splenda) and saccharin. Both may also promote cancer.
European Journal of Oncology 10:2005 (in press).