See Also: Saccharin; Sucralose; Sugar; Corn Syrup; etc.
Asparatame is a synthetic combination of 2 amino acids and is about 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. It can't be used in cooking because it is broken down by both heat and acidity.
NutraSweet and Equal are brands of aspartame sweetener used in desserts and beverages.
Aspartame: Discovered in 1965, FDA approved its use in dry foods in 1981 and its use in beverages in 1983. In 1996, FDA approved aspartame as a general purpose sweetener, concluding that it could be used in all categories of foods and beverages. Due to anecdotal reports and unscientific allegations, the safety of aspartame was reevaluated and confirmed again in 2002 by both the French Food Safety Agency and EFSA.
Additionally, in 2006, the AFC Panel of EFSA evaluated a long-term study on the carcinogenicity of aspartame and concluded that, based on the current data available, there is no reason to further review the safety of aspartame.
Aspartame has been proven safe for the general population, except for individuals with a rare hereditary disease known as phenylketonuria (PKU), who must restrict their intake of phenylalanine from all sources including aspartame. Foods containing aspartame as an ingredient must include a statement on the label advising phenylketonurics.
International Food Information Council Foundation