The Calorie Control Council is concerned about a study presented at an October 2009 meeting of the American College of Nephrology in San Diego, at which presenters allege that “artificially sweetened soda” (diet sodas) impact kidney function or otherwise cause kidney problems or kidney damage. However, the study findings do not reflect the scientific literature confirming the safety and benefits of low-calorie sweeteners and the products that contain them.
The low-calorie sweeteners used in diet drinks are very sweet, 200 to 600 times sweeter than sugar, and are, therefore, used in extremely small amounts. Studies have shown, for example, that those who use low-calorie sweeteners, including those in diet sodas or other diet drinks, consume less than 10% of the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) set by the US Food and Drug Administration for aspartame.
Aspartame, either used alone or in combination with other low-calorie sweeteners, is the most common low-calorie sweetener found in diet sodas today. Aspartame never reaches the kidneys or other body organ. It is made up of two amino acids (the building blocks of protein), phenylalanine and aspartic acid, and a small amount of methanol. A serving of non-fat milk provides about 6 times more phenylalanine and 13 times more aspartic acid that an aspartame-sweetened beverage. There is 6 times more methanol in a serving of tomato juice than in the same amount of an aspartame-sweetened beverage.