Which Are The Aspartame Side Effects

Aspartame Side EffectsAspartame is a methyl ester, an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener, used as a substitute for sugar in various foods and drinks. Its Euro code is E951.

This artificial sweetener was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schaltter. He discovered it somewhat accidentally, as he was working on the development of an anti-ulcer drug. His fingers became “contaminated” with aspartame, he licked his finger to lift up a piece of paper and that’s when he discovered the aspartame’s sweet taste.

Ever since its discovery, the aspartame sweetener was the subject of various studies controversies, debates and hoaxes. Despite the fact that there were terrible rumours regarding the safety if its consumption, it was approved for use in food and beverages by the FDA in 1974. All the scientific evidence regarding aspartame points in the direction that it’s a safe non-nutritive sweetener.

Due to the fact that a unit of aspartame is 200 times sweeter than the same unit of sugar (sucrose), the quantity used for sweetening a product is much smaller, rendering its nutritive contribution insignificant.

The aspartame taste is rather different than the taste of sugar, that’s why in most products is combined with other artificial sweeteners, to create a more sugar-like taste. However, compared with other artificial sweeteners, aspartame is one of the sweeteners that resembles the taste of sugar the most.

Compared with other sweeteners and sugar, aspartame has a lower stability though. Due to various factors, it can break down in its constituents. One of the factors is temperature. High temperatures lead to the hydrolyze of aspartame into its amino acids, that’s why it’s not recommended to be used as a sweetener in products that have to undergo a cooking process. However, its stability towards heat can be improved if combined with maltodextrin or encased in fats.

When dissolved in water, the stability of aspartame is given by the pH level. This artificial sweetener is most stable at a pH of 4.3. Since most soft-drinks have a pH between 3 – 5, aspartame is quite a recommended artificial sweetener for these products, being quite stable. However, in products that may require a longer shelf life, to strengthen the stability of aspartame it may be combined with other artificial sweeteners.

Although aspartame was the subject for many controversies, bad rumours and health scares, it’s quite a safe product. Most of the qualified research and studies on aspartame support its safety. There aren’t any aspartame side effects of life-threatening nature, although various undocumented rumours suggest that it may cause cancer, other diseases and serious health conditions.

The only detriment on this matter is not one of the aspartame side effects, but one of its contraindications. After ingestion, aspartame is broken down into three main compounds: methanol, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Due to this fact, it’s contraindicated to persons with phenylketonuria, a rare disorder which is characterized through impaired metabolization of phenylalanine. So, to avoid the only one of the dangerous aspartame side effects, phenylalanine toxicity, products containing this sweetener must be avoided by people with this disorder.

In rest, aspartame is a safe sweetener, just as safe as sugar. These are no significant side effects related to it.

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