Artificial Sweeteners - Where is the research?

An article popped up today that inspired me to go on a dig into the latest research into artificial sweeteners and what we know about their effects on the body over time.

The VICE article focuses more on the strange history of how, then CEO of a pharmaceutical company, Donald Rumsfeld (yes, this Donald Rumsfeld), got the FDA to approve aspartame despite questionable safety. The long and short of it: it was a "controversial" approval.

Repeated, third-party assessed research has more recently been accumulating, drawing new scrutiny around the health and safety of aspartame. The investigators at VICE wrote:

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) conducted a detailed investigation into the findings reported by the Ramazzini Institute, filing FOIA requests for further information. Lisa Lefferts, senior scientist at CSPI, said they found the criticisms to be entirely without merit, and characterized the findings this way: 'There is consistent evidence from well-designed, independent studies that aspartame causes cancer in animals and therefore, it may also cause cancers in humans. It is pretty compelling evidence and we recommend that consumers avoid it.'

The list of evidence further piles around the already concerning data-sets. VICE details additional researchers coming to similar conclusions:

Erik Millstone, professor of science policy research at the University of Sussex, who has been studying aspartame since 1984, says that the Ramazzini studies provide 'sufficient grounds to ban aspartame. We know it caused cancer in several varieties of several species of laboratory animals in dose-related ways, and at diverse sites.'