What are the effects of aspartame?
There have been many aspartame facts that people do not understand or they just choose to ignore. Some even go ahead and condemn this substance without knowing the truth about aspartame. Below, you will learn about all the aspartame facts before deciding whether you will still believe the controversies or read somewhere else.
What is Aspartame?
It can be described as a substance used instead of sugar and is normally in sugar-free foods and beverages, including sodas. Aspartame is sold under several brandnames. The substance is made by combining phenylalanine and aspartic acid, both of which are amino acids. These acids are the protein’s building blocks and can be found naturally in most foods. Aspartame is known to be 200 times sweeter than regular sugar, and thus, just a small amount of it is used to provide the same level of sweetness. The result is lowered calories in beverages and foods.
Some of the foods and beverages that have aspartame added to them as a sweetener include:
- Frozen desserts
- Diet soda
- Sugar-free chewing gum
- Instant coffee
- Tabletop sweeteners
- Pharmaceutical drugs
One of the many facts is that it is a non-carbohydrate based sweetener. So, it does not contain calories. This is the reason why it is normally referred to as a non-caloric sweetener. Despite these aspartame facts, it is sweeter than sugar and 180 times stronger too. Although sugar retains its sweetness even after being heated, the same cannot be said for aspartame. This is because it breaks down once subjected to heat and loses its sweetness. There are many truths about aspartame that people do not know. They normally confuse myths and aspartame facts, which is very wrong. Below is the truth about aspartame.
How Do People Get Exposed to Aspartame?
The truth about aspartame is that it has been in use for many years and you can find it in many different food products. It is used as a common sweetener even in prepared foods and drinks and also recipes that do not need excessive heating. You can also find it in the ingredient list of your medicines.
After ingesting aspartame, it gets broken down into phenylalanine, methanol and aspartic acid. Although methanol can be harmful in high doses, the amounts you get after aspartame is broken down is lower than that you would find in most natural foods like fruit juices.
Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are both amino acids that are naturally found in numerous foods containing protein. These two do not cause health issues in most people. The above facts show that, when taken as advised, it will not have any bad effects on your body.
In the US, artificial sweeteners like aspartame are normally regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Before approval, the products are first tested for safety. The FDA also regulates the daily intake of these sweeteners. Since they do not approve any supplement or drug without thoroughly examining it, they went through the truth about aspartame and analysed whether it was legitimate. All the aspartame facts showed that it was safe for human consumption and so, they approved it. FDA also sets the maximum amount that is safe enough for a person to consume for the rest of their lives. The daily intake is normally set 100 times less than the tiniest amount that is suspected to cause health problems.
The acceptable daily intake for aspartame is 50mgs per one kilogramme of a person’s body weight. In Europe, the ADI for aspartame is 40 mg per 1kg. This is normally regulated by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). When put into perspective, a person weighing 75kg is supposed to take 3,750 mg of aspartame every day. This is way more than what most people take every day. When you take a 12-ounce diet soda, you are consuming around 192 mg of aspartame. This means that you would need to drink 19 diet soda cans every day for you to go beyond the recommended level if you weigh 75kg. The truth about aspartame is that it is unlikely to bring harm to your body when taken correctly.
Does Aspartame Cause Cancer?
To determine the aspartame facts here, two types of studies were carried out to determine this.
Lab animals were fed aspartame in doses above 4,000 mg per kg every day over their lifetimes. The truth about aspartame is that the studies did not find any health problems dominantly linked to aspartame.
Studies on Humans
Although there were speculations in the 1980s that aspartame was causing cancer in humans, studies showed otherwise. There has not been found a link between aspartame and an increased risk of cancer in humans.
These two studies conclude that aspartame is not responsible for an increase in cancer in people. There was also no proof of an increase in brain tumours that was related to the use of aspartame.
Experts from all over the world have passed aspartame as safe for human consumption after a thorough evaluation. Since it is regulated by licensed bodies, it is only true to say that it is a safe substance to be used as a food sweetener. These are the aspartame facts and should not be ignored.
What Are the Benefits of Aspartame?
Although you may dismiss it as a sweetener, the truth about aspartame is that it comes loaded with a lot of benefits. Most of them are related to its low caloric levels, taste and the fact that aspartame does not raise the glucose levels in the blood. They include:
You Only Require Small Amounts
Unlike other artificial sweeteners, aspartame releases calories during the metabolic process; around 4 kilocalories in every gram. This is the same level as sucrose. However, you only need a tiny amount of aspartame to have the sweet taste, meaning that it contributes negligible levels of calories in the body.
It Enhances and Extends Flavors
Aspartame comes in a crisp and sugar-like taste, which makes it improve citrus and fruit flavours in beverages and foods. When used in chewing gum, aspartame helps prolong the sweetness four times longer than sugar-sweetened alternatives.
Another of aspartame facts is that, unlike sucrose, aspartame sweetness lasts longer. It is for this reason that it is normally combined with other artificial sweeteners like acesulfame potassium to give a taste similar to that of regular sugar.
It Contains no Carbohydrates
Anyone who suffers from a high glucose ailment will tell you that it is wise to avoid carbohydrates if you wish to keep the blood sugar levels low. Sugar is believed to have a negative impact on blood glucose. However, aspartame contains no carbohydrates and thus, does not have any impact on the blood glucose levels.
Costs Less to Manufacturers
This is one of the many aspartame facts that people are not bothered about. Since this substance is 200 times sweeter than regular sugar, beverage manufacturers only need to use a small amount of it to add flavour to their products. This means that they do not have to incur excessive costs while producing their goods.
Aspartame is Beneficial to People Suffering from Diabetes
People suffering from diabetes normally crave sugar due to the lack of sufficient insulin in their bodies. However, these cravings are bad for their health as they raise their blood sugar levels. When they use aspartame, they can satisfy these cravings without having a bad impact on their health. Low-caloric sweeteners play a big role in preventing and managing diabetes.
Aspartame Aids in Weight Control
With the number of obese and overweight people increasing each day, there is a need to balance the caloric intake and physical activity if these people want to maintain a healthy weight and avoid the health problems that come with excessive weight. One great way of achieving this goal is finding a way to lower your caloric intake without having to sacrifice the taste and pleasure that comes with eating. One of the many aspartame facts is that it will help you lose enough weight to wear that swimsuit you have been admiring for so long.
In a study that compared two groups, one was offered low-calorie sweetened beverages and foods while the other was given sugar-sweetened varieties. It was observed that those taking sugar consumed more calories and yet they still felt less full. This led to them gaining more weight since they kept on eating. On the other hand, those who were on low-calorie sweeteners consumed fewer calories and were always feeling full. This helped them to lose weight.
From the study, it was determined that replacing the regular sugar-sweetened foods with the low-calorie ones helped in weight loss. Those who lost weight were also able to maintain it without having to reduce the diet’s palatability. This is also great for those suffering from type-2 diabetes as they are always encouraged to lose weight. The truth about aspartame is that it will help you lose and maintain weight, which is good for your health.
Aspartame Can Be Used as Part of a Healthy Diet
You can include aspartame in your diet since it is considered healthy. This is because it will help you replace or reduce the calories you consume from sugar while still getting the same wonderful taste. There are also many recipes that you can pick that requires low-calorie sweeteners.
Helps Fight Tooth Decay
The American Dental Association believes that low-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame do not encourage tooth decay-causing acids in the mouth that are harmful to your teeth. They also recommend people to chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals. According to them, this helps in preventing tooth decay. Of the many aspartame facts, this might be the most desirable one for people with a sweet tooth.
Tastes Similar to Sugar
This substance tastes the same as sugar, and since it is 200 times sweeter, only a small portion of it is needed. This tiny amount will help yield the same sweetness in beverages and foods.
There are numerous aspartame facts that people do not know, including:
- One of the aspartame facts is that it has three compounds, namely methyl alcohol, phenylalanine and aspartic acid
- The methanol found in aspartame cannot harm you as it breaks down into very small amounts. This is because, in high amounts, methanol can be lethal.
- The truth about aspartame is that it is not linked to headaches. It also does not harm the brain or nerve system.
- It is not harmful to pregnant mothers
- Aspartame has no nutritional value. This is true in case of diet soda that uses an artificial low-calorie sweetener like aspartame since it contains 99% water and 0 calories.
- Aspartame is genetically modified
- One of the aspartame facts that should never be ignored is the fact that it is not safe for those suffering from phenylketonuria. This is because they cannot effectively metabolise phenylalanine, which is an amino acid found in aspartame. It could lead to high accumulations of harmful levels in such patients.
The numerous aspartame facts above prove that this substance is very beneficial to humans due to its many benefits. With the increase in sugar-related problems, it is good to learn about these aspartame facts and understand that you can substitute sugar with this sweetener.
The fact that you will not have to do away with all sweeteners is great especially for those suffering from diabetes. These aspartame facts show that you can still enjoy your diet soda and not get worried about adding weight or increasing your blood sugar levels.