It’s still Aspartame. Reminiscent of the recent High Fructose Corn Syrup name change, possibly in an effort to change our opinions, Aspartame will now be referred to as AminoSweet. Don’t fall for a more “natural” name – this stuff is still bad news. Hopes are that by using a more natural sounding name, consumers will feel more at ease with its pervasive use in more than 6,000 products.
Originally introduced more than 25 years ago, this “accidental discovery” has quickly taken over the food industry. Two naturally-occurring amino acids (aspartic acid and phenylalanine) were first combined in an effort to produce an anti-ulcer drug. Pharmacist James Schlatter discovered that the new compound had a very sweet taste. The company was granted a change on its FDA approval application from drug to food additive. Thus, aspartame was born.
Aspartame has been the focus of intense scrutiny by consumers who claim to be negatively affected by use of the product. Side effects range from migraines and upset stomachs to joints pain and even convulsions. The rapid approval of aspartame has long been called into question, as consumers feel that it was, and is still, a harmful product. Despite the questions, aspartame is in virtually every product line available and avoidance of it requires strict label monitoring.
The best sweetener is a natural one. Honey, Stevia and even sugar are fine in moderation. Typically foods that have aspartame added to them are higher in calories and lower in nutritional content. Instead of diet soda, reach for water! In place of reduced sugar cookies, grab an apple or orange. Natural foods are always better for your body.