Aspartame

Aspartame is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. Aspartame is marketed under the NutraSweet, Equal and Sugar Twin brands.

Aspartame is completely broken down by the body into its two component amino acids – aspartic acid and phenylalanine – and a small amount of methanol (wood alcohol). Although aspartame therefore has four calories per gram, its intense sweetness means so little of aspartame is used that essentially no calories are provided.

Like ace K, aspartame is approved as a general-purpose sweetener in the U.S., and is used in the same type of foods and beverages. However, since aspartame is not stable at cooking and baking temperatures, its use is limited in baked goods and some dry dessert mixes.

Products containing aspartame must carry a label advising those with phenylketonuria, a rare genetic disorder, that phenylalanine is present. It is listed in the ingredient statement on a food or beverage package as “aspartame.” The ingredient listing for a tabletop product like Equal reads “dextrose with maltodextrin, aspartame.”

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