aspartame what is it?

submission info

what is it?
Aspartame is composed of two amino acids, aspartic acid and the methyl ester of phenylalanine. It is 180-200 times sweeter than regular table sugar.

what does it do?
It is used as a sucrose replacement in many food and beverages.

where is it commonly found?
Carbonated Beverages, Gelatin Desserts, Powdered Drinks, Pudding Dessert, Frozen Novelties, Fruit Drink, Breath mints, Vitamins, Yogurt, Gum...

what known dangers are there?
Research on this has been difficult, there are many resources out there supporting everything from horrendous dangers to no dangers at all. According to the FDA, the question of a relationship between brain tumors and aspartame was initially raised when the Agency began considering approval of this food additive in the mid-1970s. In 1980 a Public Board of Inquiry reviewed scientific data presented by G.D. Searle and Company and concluded that aspartame did not cause brain damage, but at the same time there was not sufficient scientific evidence presented to them that aspartame did not cause brain tumors in rats. The Public Board of Inquiry recommended against approval of aspartame and suggested that further studies were needed. In 1981, after looking at additional scientific data from Japanese study about aspartame and brain tumors, the FDA approved aspartame as a food additive.

Here are some of the dangers that many people are coming forward with, though: seizures, brain tumours, multiple sclerosis, headaches, short term memory loss, dizzyness, fatigue, moodiness, early menopause, addiction, numbness in extremities, involuntary shaking, vision problems, and much more.

There is no way of really proving these accusations. As said earlier it's difficult to trust sources, especially since companies such as NutraSweet, Equal, and Spoonful have been making a lot of money with this "wonderful" product. However, there are hundreds of websites devoted to revealing the dirt on aspartame, so it's hard not to heed their warnings.

is it necessary?
As NutraSweet has boasted, aspertame has no calories and is not sucrose based, so it is "highly recommended" that those who are on low calorie diets and/or are diabetic should use it as an alternative to sugar. However, there are other alternatives for diabetics, like fructose. Additionally, NutraSweet itself (drum roll please) has been been certified as kosher by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations!

NutraSweet was discovered in 1965 by a researcher, Mr. James Schlatter, at the G.D. Searle & Co. Schlatter was a scientist doing research with amino acids, working to develop a treatment for ulcers. When he licked his finger to pick up a piece of paper he tasted a sweet flavor. James Schlatter inadvertently had the first taste of NutraSweet and helped create the product. (from

a few websites
Fact and Fiction: Correcting Internet Myths About NutraSweet: from the Nutrasweet Website

FDA Talk Paper: FDA Statement on Aspartame

The Bitter Truth About Artificial Sweetners

American Diabetic Association: Facts About Aspartame


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