Synonyms: L-Phenylalanine-N-L-alpha-aspartyl-1-methyl ester; L-Aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester; proteoglycan L-alpha-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine-methylester; Proteoglycan
EINECS No.: 245-261-3
Molecular Weight: 294.31
Molecular Formula: C14H18N2O5
Melt Point.: 248~250 deg. C
What is aspartame?
Aspartame (L-a-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester) is a low-calorie sweetener used to sweeten a wide variety of low- and reduced-calorie foods and beverages, including low-calorie tabletop sweeteners. Aspartame is an amino acid sweetener, with two constituent amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, both commonly found in food.
Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by a researcher, Mr. James Schlatter, at G.D. Searle & Company, founded in 1888 and located in Skokie, Illinois. Searle is now owned by others. It is about 200 times sweeter than the refined sugar that it is meant to replace, and it is known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory. It is essentially a chemical weapon designed to impact populations en masse. It is an rDNA derivative made from two amino acids, L-phenylalanine, L-aspartic acid and methanol. Originally discovered during a search for an ulcer drug in 1966, it was "approved" by the FDA in 1974 as a "food additive".
Schlatter was a scientist doing research with amino acids, working to develop a treatment for ulcers. When he licked his finger to pick up a piece of paper he tasted a sweet attractive flavor. James Schlatter inadvertently had the first taste of aspartame and helped create a product that would revolutionize the category of "sweetener" for individuals and food companies.
Since that time aspartame has become one of the most highly valued and widely used sweeteners in the world, known for its clean taste and amazing sweetness (180-200 times sweeter than sucrose). Aspartame also quickly became a highly valued ingredient among people with diabetes because it literally changed their lives, allowing them to enjoy foods that are sweet and tasty without ingesting sugar
Approval was followed by a retraction based on demonstrated public concern over the fact that the substance produced brain tumors in rats. According to the 1974 FDA task force set up to examine aspartame and G.D.Searle, "we have uncovered serious deficiencies in Searles operations and practices, which undermine the basis for reliance on Searle¡¯s integrity in conducting high quality animal research to accurately determine the toxic potential of its products." The task force report concluded with the recommendation that G.D. Searle should face a Grand Jury "to identify more particularly the nature of the violations, and to identify all those responsible."
In 1976, an FDA "task force" brought into question all of G.D. Searle¡¯s aspartame testing procedures conducted between 1967 and 1975. The final FDA report noted faulty and fraudulent product testing, knowingly misrepresented product testing, knowlingly misrepresented findings, and instances of irrelevant animal research. In other word, illegal criminal activity. Understandably scared, Searle officials sought to suppress the FDA findings and obstruct justice. They turned to Nixon and Ford administration operative Donald Rumsfeld and elected him "chairman of the Searle organization." In 1977, the Wall Street Journal detailed the fact that Rumsfeld made efforts to "mend fences" by asking "what Searle could do" in the face of the changes. Also in 1977, Dr. Adrian Gross, a pathologist working for the FDA, uncovered evidence that G.D.Searle might have committed criminal fraud in withholding adverse data on aspartame.
In July 1983 it was approved for use in soft drinks in the United States, followed three months later by approval in Britain by the Ministry of Agriculture. All this was done despite the fact that the Department of Defense knew that aspartane was neurotoxic and harmful to human health. These facts were deliberately suppressed by the government. It is also interesting that in 1981 FDA scientist Dr. Robert Condon, in an internal government document, said "I do not concur that aspartame has been shown to be safe with respect to the induction of brain tumors." All safety was thrown aside because of pressure from Searle. Considering the connections the drug companies have to the medical and intelligence community, it would not be surprising that there were other factors involved in the pressure to adopt aspartame into the diet of the population.
In 1984, the Arizona Department of Health began testing soft drinks to ascertain the level of toxic deterioration by-products in soft drinks. It was determined that soft drinks stored in elevated temperatures promoted more rapid deterioration of aspartame into poisonous methyl alcohol (methanol). The FDA decided to ignore these results. Public complaints about the effects of aspartame began to come in. People complained of headaches, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, blurred vision, seizures, convulsions and a host of other reactions to aspartame.
Also in 1984, the Centers for Disease Control made the fraudulent announcement that "no serious, widespread" side effects of aspartame had been found. It was an outright lie, and this announcement was quickly followed by another from PepsiCo that it was dropping saccharin and adopting aspartame as the sweetener it all its diet drinks. Others followed suit, despite the January 1984 broadcast on CBS Nightly News where the chief scientist for the FDA task force investigating Searle publicly stated that Searle company officials made "deliberate decisions" to cloak aspartame¡¯s toxic effects.
What is aspartame composed of?
Aspartame is composed of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, as the methyl ester. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are also found naturally in protein containing foods, including meats, grains and dairy products. Methyl esters are also found naturally in many foods, such as fruits and vegetables and their juices.
Why is aspartame used?
Aspartame is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, tastes like sugar, can enhance fruit flavors, saves calories and does not contribute to tooth decay. Products sweetened with aspartame can be useful as part of a healthful diet.
What is the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of aspartame?
The aspartame daily intake, expressed on a mg/kg body weight/day basis, is a very conservative estimate of the amount of a sweetener that can safely be consumed on a daily basis over a person¡¯s lifetime. The FDA has set the ADI for aspartame at 50 mg/kg of body weight/day. The ADI for aspartame is the equivalent of a 70 kg (154 lb.) person consuming about 20 cans of aspartame-sweetened beverage or about 100 sachets of tabletop sweetener with aspartame per day.
Canadian Diabetes Association Confirms the Safety of Aspartame in Updated Review on Sweeteners.
The Canadian Diabetes Association recently confirmed the safety of aspartame as part of its "Canadian Diabetes Association National Nutrition Committee Technical Review: Non-nutritive Intense Sweeteners in Diabetes Management" and published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes. The report notes:
"Its [aspartame's] safety has been further confirmed through studies in several human subpopulations, including: healthy infants, children, adolescents and adults; obese individuals with or without diabetes; lactating women; and individuals heterozygous for the genetic disease phenylketonuria (PKU), who have a decreased ability to metabolize phenylalanine."
"At this time, there is no scientific evidence to support the negative health effects that have been ascribed to aspartame."
"The use of aspartame- containing food products may improve weight loss and weight control in a multidisciplinary
program. People who wish to lose weight may safely use non-nutritive sweeteners, ensuring they are replacing energy-dense foods or sucrose sweetened beverages, not nutrient-dense foods such as milk and fruit juices."
Aspartame is a general-purpose sweetener that can be used in sugar free, low-cal, mid-cal or energy-reduced products. It can be used as the sole sweetener or in combinations with other intense or caloric sweeteners. Aspartame is also used in mainstream products that are not specifically positioned for the diet segment. This is because aspartame is a much cheaper sweetener than sugar or fructose syrups, so ingredient costs can be significantly reduced. Aspartame is attractive for power mixes because of its lower ingredient costs and because it reduces the weight per unit and the overall packaging costs.
In many applications sugar can be easily replaced with aspartame. The reduction in overall volume (aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar, so much less is needed) can be easily corrected by adding more liquid (beverages, dairy). In other applications intense sweeteners are combined with bulk sweeteners, such as polyols, to compensate for the loss of volume. Examples of such products are sugar free candies, chewing-gum, chocolate and ice-cream.
Aspartame can be used in:
* Soft drinks
* Dairy products
* Tabletop products
* Powder mixes
1. Aspartame in soft drinks:
Carbonated soft drinks, still drinks, flavoured waters, fruit-juice drinks, syrups and nectars.
Aspartame is a very suitable sweetener for beverage applications. Its taste has become ¡®the golden standard¡¯ for light-drinks, with its clean sweet taste, and no bitter aftertastes or caramel off-tastes. Aspartame¡¯s pH range for optimum stability in liquids lies between 3 and 4.5, and most beverages fall well within this range.
For products that have a pH outside this range or which are stored under extreme conditions (tropical climate), we recommend using blends with other sweeteners.
In addition to sugar free drinks, Holland Sweetener has developed excellent guideline recipes for energy-reduced beverages. They taste like full-sugared versions, but have 30-50% less calories. In these drinks part of the sugar has been replaced by aspartame or aspartame and glucose syrups.
These products will become more and more popular to a broad public, who want to reduce calorie intake but don¡¯t want to sacrifice taste. The reduced ingredient costs make these very interesting for beverage manufacturers
2. Aspartame in dairy products:
Flavoured or fruit yoghurts, yoghurt-drinks, desserts, ice-creams.
Dairy is another very popular application area for aspartame. It is well-known that aspartame supports fruit flavours in yoghurt and fromage frais, such as strawberry and peach very well. It is also very stable in yoghurt-based products (i.e. acid environment). Since aspartame can be gradually degraded by live cultures of yoghurt, aspartame is often added to the fruit-base.
In milk-based products that have a neutral pH, aspartame breaks down rapidly upon heating. Chilled products with a short shelf-life in the fridge can be easily sweetened with aspartame or aspartame blends, but we do not recommend sweetening UHT products with a long shelf-life at room temperature with aspartame.
As for soft drinks, Holland Sweetener has developed exciting new guideline formulations for fruit yoghurts that contain only 50-70% of the original calories, but that have a texture and taste equal or even better than the full sugared ¨C full fat equivalents. A completely new concept for the dairy segment as it clearly breaks with the traditional view of either full sugar all natural concept or sugar free diet concept.
3. Aspartame in tabletop products:
Sweetener tablets, granulated sweetener in sachets or jars, energy-reduced sugar cubes, liquid sweetener.
Aspartame is a good sweetener for tabletop products because it has a taste very close to sugar and does not produce an off-taste in coffee or tea. The powder characteristics of aspartame and of the other ingredients are very important for tabletop products. Too much dust and product clumping will generate problems during processing. Material that is too coarse will dissolve poorly in the final drink or will block the nozzles in spray-drying processes for spoon-for-spoon products. The type of dextrose used in sweetener sachets may also influence the overall performance of the sweetener. Holland Sweetener Company has the right knowledge and the right grade for each specific application to help you get exactly the right product for your needs.
4. Aspartame in confectionery products:
Sugar free mints, hard-boiled candies, chocolate, chewies, soft-gelatin gums, chewing-gum, breath-strips.
Sugar free sweets are becoming more and more popular. They are non-cariogenic, so they are not harmful to teeth and have reduced calories. The bulk of the sweets comes from bulk sweeteners such as isomalt, xylitol, lactitol, maltitol or sorbitol. Aspartame is the most popular sweetener that is used to boost the sweetness intensity.
Aspartame remains stable in almost all confectionery products. On some rare occasions, Maillard reactions between aspartame and aldehyde flavours may occur for instance in cinnamon chewing gum or cinnamon compressed breath mints. These reactions will reduce the sweetener and flavour content and may take place under humid and warm storage conditions. Please ask our experts for advice and specific solutions.
5. Aspartame in powder mixes:
Instant hot drinks, powdered juices, instant jellies, instant pudding.
One of the segments where aspartame has really made an inroad is sugar free powder mixes. With its excellent taste, powder properties and dry stability and its low cost per sweetness unit, aspartame is the sweetener of choice for instant hot drinks, powdered juices and instant desserts. Aspartame is not only used to produce sugar free versions of regular sugared products. It is now also commonly used in regular powder mixes, for cost reasons. The cost per unit of sweetness of aspartame is much cheaper than sugar in most countries of the world. It also reduces weight significantly. For instance mid-cal instant powders sweetened with aspartame typically weigh 65% less and low-cal versions up to 90% less than their full sugar equivalents. So processing, transport, storage and packaging costs can be substantially reduced.