What is the straight dope on aspartame?

Does aspartame really contain methanol? That would make sugar free Jell-O a poison right when you make it. But things like diet sodas get heated to above 86 degrees fahrenheit in the body too, so that would make it poison then. Is this just some myth, or an actual fact?

Here is a thread on the subject I found:
Aspartame: toxic or just a harmless sweetner?

I’m sure that others will be along shortly to help you.

I think it’s more of the same kind of scarelore that you can read about at snopes.

samclem’s Snopes link is great. I’d just add that this is a highly-debated topic, but personally I balance two pros/cons of aspartame for me.

  1. the amount of sugar in a normal soda is insane, literally handfuls. And when I go out I drink a lot of coke, so by going diet I prevent the intake of hundreds of calories that will add to worse diseases than aspartame later in life (obesity, diabetes from the extra weight and possibly the sugar in the drink)

  2. Aspartame has been shown (and of course not shown as well) to increase hunger. I’ve also heard it causes water retention, and that in the heat it can break down into formaldehyde.

Well, pick your poison I guess. I’ve actually given up pop for dinner and force down some water instead lately.
This regionally friendly PC thread contained the words soda, coke, and pop