Aspartame questions

What is aspartame


Aspartame (APM) is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. In the European Union, it is codified as E951. Aspartame is a methyl ester of the aspartic acid/phenylalanine dipeptide. It was first sold under the brand name NutraSweet. It was first synthesized in 1965, and the patent expired in 1992.


The safety of aspartame has been the subject of several political and medical controversies, United States congressional hearings and Internet hoaxes since its initial approval for use in food products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981. The European Food Safety Authority concluded in its 2013 re-evaluation that aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure, corroborating other medical reviews. However, because its breakdown products include phenylalanine, aspartame must be avoided by people with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU).



Aspartame FAQ

Here are the answers to questions that are sometimes asked about aspartame.

Beverages: Carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, squashes, iced teas and coffees and hot chocolate drinks.
Dairy products: Yoghurts, dairy desserts and fromage frais.
Confectionery: Chewing gum, sweets, chocolate, breath mints.
Table-top sweeteners: Tablets and spoon-for-spoon powders.
Frozen desserts: Ice cream and frozen snacks.
Powdered products: Powdered soft drinks, milkshake mixes, and multivitamin drinks.
Cereals: Cereal mixes, mueslis.
Preserves: Fruit preserves, canned fruits.
Pharmaceuticals: Effervescent tablets, chewable tablets and sachets.

Aspartame Tastes Like Sugar

Studies conducted with taste-test panels show that many believe aspartame’s taste is very similar to the taste of sugar. Aspartame Enhances and Extends Flavors Aspartame has the ability to intensify and extend fruit flavors, such as cherry and orange, in foods and beverages. For example, aspartame makes chewing gum taste sweet up to four times longer than sugar-sweetened gum.

Aspartame Does Not Promote Tooth Decay

The American Dental Association has noted it “welcomes the development and FDA approval of new artificial sweeteners that are shown to be safe and non-contributory to tooth decay . . . . Aspartame is an FDA-approved, safe sweetening agent and flavor enhancer that can be substituted for sugar in the diet.”

Aspartame is Helpful for Individuals with Diabetes

Aspartame offers people with diabetes greater variety and flexibility in budgeting their total carbohydrate intake and allows them to satisfy their taste for sweets without affecting blood sugar, which helps them to comply with a healthful meal plan. In addition, consuming products with aspartame can result in fewer calories, which helps people with diabetes manage their weight.

Scientific Studies Show Aspartame is Beneficial in Weight Control

With nearly two out of three Americans classified as overweight or obese, taking steps to assure appropriate calorie intake is important for many people. Because products with aspartame are lower in calories than their sugar-sweetened counterparts, using products with aspartame together with regular physical activity can help with weight management.

Aspartame Can Be Part of a Healthful Diet

Aspartame can reduce or replace the sugar and calories in foods and beverages while maintaining great taste. Thus aspartame offers one simple step to help people move closer to achieving a more healthful diet.

Aspartame is one of the most widely used sweetening ingredients in the world. Products sweetened with aspartame make an enjoyable contribution to a healthier diet. For example, by using table-top sweeteners to sweeten hot and cold drinks, such as tea, coffee and home made lemonade, you can reduce both your calorie and carbohydrate intake. Products sweetened with aspartame can also be used in recipes for sweet and savoury low calorie foods and drinks that can be made at home.

The safety of aspartame has been studied extensively since its discovery with research that includes animal studies, clinical and epidemiological research, and postmarketing surveillance.

Aspartame is one of the most rigorously tested food ingredients. Peer-reviewed comprehensive review articles and independent reviews by governmental regulatory bodies have analyzed the published research on the safety of aspartame and have found aspartame is safe for consumption at current levels.
Aspartame has been deemed safe for human consumption by over 100 regulatory agencies in their respective countries, including the UK Food Standards Agency, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and Health Canada.