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What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is a no-kilojoule (non-nutritive) sweetener that is made up of components found naturally in common foods such as meat, milk and vegetables. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar and intensifies flavours. It has a negligible effect on blood sugar levels.

Benefits of Aspartame

  • A non-nutritive(kJ-free) sweetener that tastes like sugar and has no after taste.
  • Aspartame cannot be utilized by oral bacteria, so it does not contribute towards tooth decay.
  • Aspartame has a negligible effect on carbohydrate metabolism and is safe for diabetics and slimmers.
  • Aspartame powder is freely soluble in water, even at low temperatures, which means it is easy to use in most food products.

Guidelines for using Aspartame

  • When aspartame is heated for long periods, loss of sweetness may occur. Rather add the sweetener at the end of the cooking process when the food is removed from the heat.
  • People diagnosed with the very rare metabolic disorder, phenylketonuria, must restrict their intake of phenylalanine from all dietary sources, including aspartame, as their treatment requires them to do.

Notes on safety

Extensive research has been done and controlling bodies all over the world, including the FDA, have approved aspartame for use in a wide variety of products and as a sweetener. Upon digestion, it is completely metabolized to two amino acids (building blocks of protein). The body handles these amino acids in exactly the same way as the foods we eat every day.

Unsubstatiated negative reports on aspartame based on no evidence or anecdotal evidence have been published in the media and created fear and confusion among consumers. Nancy Markle sent out an e-mail in Dec 1998 and claimed that she has lectured on aspartame toxicity at the World Environmental Conference. Interestingly enough, Nancy Marckle has never been found or identified, but the e-mail scared the whole world!

There is a total lack of credible scientific evidence that proves that aspartame is not safe for human consumption and until such time that there is evidence of health risks associated with aspartame, it can be considered as safe.