Rating: Safe

Artificial sweetener: "Diet," "no sugar added," "sugar-free," and other products.
Advantame is the newest and sweetest artificial sweetener. An incredible 20,000 times sweeter than sucrose, it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2014. It is permitted to be used in soft drinks, baked goods, chewing gum, confections and frostings, frozen desserts, gelatins and puddings, jams and jellies, processed fruits and fruit juices, toppings, and syrups. It is made from aspartame and vanillin, but appears to be processed by the body differently from aspartame.

Two key safety studies on advantame were flawed. Nevertheless, because the additive is so incredibly sweet, the amounts that will be added to foods are so minuscule that any possible cancer risk would be negligible. For example, in the cancer study in mice, the number of animals that survived to the end of the study was below FDA's own recommendations. An FDA statistician concluded that the low survival rate "probably masked the occurrence of late developing tumors." As for the cancer study in rats, some FDA scientists "strongly objected" to certain aspects because they "may have compromised and confounded the outcome of the results." CSPI criticized the FDA's failure to abide by its own published standards and its dismissal of concerns raised by some of its own scientists.