Scientific Facts on the Aspertame artificial sweetener

Aspertame is a non-caloric artificial sweetener used in many diet drinks and foods. Although this artificial sweetener has been widely used for many years, some allegations still fuel a debate on possible side effects.

Does aspertame really pose health risks?

1.2 What are the uses and properties of the aspertame sweetener?

Aspertame is marketed as table sweetener (for example, Canderel®, NutraSweet®…). It is also incorporated in a number of foodstuffs throughout the world, including drinks, desserts and sweets (European code E951). It is a white, odourless powder, approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, manufactured by combining phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Its main impurity is diketopiperazine that has no sweetening properties.

The aspertame sweetener is stable in the dry state and in frozen products. However, when stored in liquids at more than 30°C, it progressively converts into diketopiperazine, which is partially degraded into methanol, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. These transformations result in the loss of sweetness. Therefore, the aspertame sweetener can not be used for cooking or sterilizing foods. Read the EC-SCF report about aspartame uses and properties...

Read the GreenFacts Digest on aspertame

Next Question: Why are there concerns about the aspertame sweetener?

This study on the effects of the aspertame sweetener is a faithful summary of the leading scientific consensus report produced in 2002 by the EC-SCF (European Commission Scientific Committee on Food): "Update on the Safety of Aspartame". More...

Note that the proper spelling for Aspertame is Aspartame.