Pregnant Women and Children

Pregnant Women

The Food and Drug Administration placed no restrictions on aspartame use during pregnancy in its approval of the sweetener. That safety assessment was confirmed by the Council on Scientific Affairs of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). In some cases, the variety of foods and beverages sweetened with aspartame may help satisfy a pregnant woman's taste for "sweets" without the extra calories, leaving room for more nutritious foods that are especially important during pregnancy. 

Further, studies have shown that a fetus is not harmed by exposure to aspartame or its components - aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. These components are also found at higher levels in many of the foods that are eaten daily by pregnant and breast-feeding women. Scientific studies confirm that the body uses the components from aspartame in the same way it uses them from everyday foods. 

Children

The FDA, the American Medical Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics agree that aspartame is safe for children and adolescents to consume as part of a healthful, well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. Studies have shown that aspartame consumption does not affect the behavior of children, including those diagnosed as hyperactive or with attention deficit disorder. In fact, a New England Journal of Medicine study with pre-school and elementary school children showed that even large doses of aspartame did not affect their moods, activity levels, behavior or thinking. 

It should be noted that aspartame is not intended for use by infants and very young children. Even though studies show that infants and young children digest and handle even large amounts of aspartame in the same way as adults, children this age need lots of energy for proper growth and development and should not be restricted in caloric intake. Parents should of course supervise all aspects of their children's diet, no matter what age, to ensure they are getting the nutrients and calories they need to achieve proper growth and development.