Information on Aspartame

Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener used in a variety of foods and beverages and as a tabletop sweetener for tea and coffee under such brand names as Nutrasweet or Equal. It is about 200 times sweeter than sugar and lacks the bitter aftertaste of saccharin. Aspartame is made by joining two protein components, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. It is unsuitable for use in cooking because its flavour is changed when heated.

Side effects of Aspartame

Phenylalanine, an amino acid component of aspartame, poses a problem for people with phenylketonuria (PKU), a congenital hereditary condition caused by the body's inability to oxidise phenylalanine to tyrosine due to, a defective enzyme. Such people risk brain damage if they use aspartame and that is why Nutrasweet diet products carry the warning 'contains phenylalanine.'

Although no serious adverse effects were documented, a small segment of the population is known to be sensitive to aspartame. High intake of aspartame through excessive use of diet sodas is claimed to cause complaints such as headaches, nausea, dizziness or irritability, probably by overconsumption of phenylalanine and methanol.

Certain people should avoid products that contain Aspartame. They are people who cannot metabolize the amino acid Phenylalanine, and people who are suspect able to headaches.

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