Learn about aspartame and other dangerous chemicals in our food. In 1974 the US Food and Drug Administration approved the artificial sweetener, aspartame after a highly contested campaign to keep it out of our food and drinks. It is to this day controversial as critics alleged the approval process was not followed properly and was a conflict of interest (explained below). There are claims of numerous health risks caused by aspartame such as lupus, shooting pains, seizures, headaches, depression, anxiety, brain tumors, vision problems, weight gain, insomnia, tinnitus, memory loss and more.