Background: Individuals with Type II Diabetes (T2D) have to manage blood glucose levels to
sustain health and longevity. Artificial sweeteners (including aspartame) are suggested sugar alternatives
for these individuals. The safety of aspartame in particular, has long been the centre of debate. Although it
is such a controversial product, many clinicians recommend its use to T2D patients, during a controlled diet
and as part of an intervention strategy. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and has a negligible
effect on blood glucose levels, and it is suggested for use so that T2D can control carbohydrate intake
and blood glucose levels. However, research suggests that aspartame intake may lead to an increased
risk of weight gain rather than weight loss, and cause impaired blood glucose tolerance in T2D.
Objective: This review consolidates knowledge gained from studies that link aspartame consumption to
the various mechanisms associated with T2D.
Method: We review literature that provides evidence that raise concerns that aspartame may exacerbate
T2D and add to the global burden of disease.
Result: Aspartame may act as a chemical stressor by increasing cortisol levels, and may induce systemic
oxidative stress by producing excess free radicals, and it may also alter gut microbial activity and interfere
with the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, resulting in insulin deficiency or resistance.
Conclusion: Aspartame and its metabolites are safe for T2D is still debatable due to a lack of consistent
data. More research is required that provides evidence and raise concerns that aspartame may exacerbate
prevalence of pathological physiology in the already stressed physiology of T2D.