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What is aspartame?
Aspartame is a low-calorie sugar substitute. It can be used in place of sugar to give you a reduced- or no-sugar alternative. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar, so only a little is needed for the same sweet taste.
What's the uses of aspartame?
Aspartame is around 180-200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). Due to this property, even though aspartame produces four kilocalories of energy per gram (17 kJ/g) when metabolized, the quantity of aspartame needed to produce a sweet taste is so small that its caloric contribution is negligible. The taste of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners differs from that of table sugar in the times of onset and how long the sweetness lasts, though aspartame comes closest to sugar's taste profile among approved artificial sweeteners. The sweetness of aspartame lasts longer than that of sucrose, so it is often blended with other artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame potassium to produce an overall taste more like that of sugar.
Like many other peptides, aspartame may hydrolyze (break down) into its constituent amino acids under conditions of elevated temperature or high pH. This makes aspartame undesirable as a baking sweetener, and prone to degradation in products hosting a high pH, as required for a long shelf life. The stability of aspartame under heating can be improved to some extent by encasing it in fats or in maltodextrin. The stability when dissolved in water depends markedly on pH. At room temperature, it is most stable at pH 4.3, where its half-life is nearly 300 days. At pH 7, however, its half-life is only a few days. Most soft-drinks have a pH between 3 and 5, where aspartame is reasonably stable. In products that may require a longer shelf life, such as syrups for fountain beverages, aspartame is sometimes blended with a more stable sweetener, such as saccharin.
Descriptive analyses of solutions containing aspartame report a sweet aftertaste as well as bitter and off-flavor aftertastes. In products such as powdered beverages, the amine in aspartame can undergo a Maillard reaction with the aldehyde groups present in certain aroma compounds. The ensuing loss of both flavor and sweetness can be prevented by protecting the aldehyde as an acetal.
Is aspartame safe?
Yes. Aspartame is safe. It is one of the most thoroughly researched ingredients in the world.
Science and health professional organizations have affirmed sugar substitutes, like aspartame, are safe. So have food safety authorities, like the FDA.
However, if you have the rare hereditary disorder phenylketonuria (PKU), you should strictly limit your intake of phenylalanine. This is a common amino acid found in aspartame. If products use aspartame, they will say on their bottles and cans that there is phenylalanine so please check closely.
Have questions about PKU or your diet? Please talk to your doctor.
What is the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for aspartame?
ADI is set by the FDA. This is how much you can safely have each day. The ADI for aspartame is like a 132-pound adult having 75 tabletop packets.
5 things to know about aspartame and aspartame safety
1. The FDA approved aspartame in 1981.
2. The FDA’s acceptable daily intake (ADI) level for aspartame is like a 132-pound adult having 75 tabletop packets a day. This is how much you can safely have.
3. Aspartame is made of two amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine. These are found naturally in many foods like meats and beans. They are building blocks of protein.
4. Aspartame is typically not used for baking. It is not heat stable and loses sweetness when heated.
5. If you have the rare hereditary disorder PKU, you should strictly limit your intake of phenylalanine. This is a common amino acid found in aspartame. If we use aspartame, we say on our bottles and cans that there is phenylalanine so please check closely.