Aspartame, used by more than 100 million people around the world, is found in more than 6,000 products. This low-calorie sweetener has been extensively researched and more than 200 studies have been conducted. Aspartame is approved for use in more than 100 countries.
Aspartame is a nutritive sweetener made by joining two amino acids (protein components) -- L-phenylalanine and L-aspartic acid, with a third component called a methyl ester group. Very little is needed for a sweet taste, making aspartame virtually non-caloric.
180 to 200 times sweeter than sucrose.
It is digested as a protein. The components are metabolized normally.
Aspartame has a sugar-like taste. It enhances some flavors and is appropriate for many applications. When aspartame is combined with other low-calorie sweeteners, they enhance each other so that the combinations are sweeter than the sum of the individual sweeteners.
Aspartame is not suitable in applications that require prolonged exposure to high temperatures as it loses sweetness. However, it can successfully be added to recipes, and an encapsulated form is now available for commercial baking. It also is used successfully in beverages, but does lose its sweetness in liquids over an extended period of time. (The rate of change is gradual and is determined by temperature and acidity.) Persons with PKU (phenylketonuria) must restrict their intake of phenylalanine. As such, all U.S. products containing aspartame are labeled: “This product contains phenylalanine.”
It is approved for use in any category of food or beverage, including tabletop sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, refrigerated and nonrefrigerated ready-to-drink beverages, frozen desserts and novelties, puddings and fillings, yogurt-type products, baked goods and candies.
Aspartame has been extensively studied in animals and humans for more than two decades. In 1981, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved aspartame, it noted: "Few compounds have withstood such detailed testing and repeated, close scrutiny, and the process through which aspartame has gone should provide the public with additional confidence of its safety." FDA has affirmed the safety of aspartame 26 times over a period of 23 years.
Aspartame is classified as a “general purpose sweetener” by FDA and is approved for use in all foods and beverages. Aspartame is approved for use in more than 100 countries and is the sweetening ingredient in 6,000 food and beverage products.
|Product||Traditional (kcal)||Aspartame sweetened (kcal)|
|Carbonated Beverage (12 oz.)||150||0|
|Low-calorie tabletop sweetener (equivalent to 2 tsp. of sugar)||32||0|
|Gelatin dessert (4 oz.)||80||10|
|Pudding (4 oz.)||160||80|
Aspartame beneficial in calorie reduction
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