Aspartame, danger, application and use ZHION.COM
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Synonyms

L-alpha-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester

Description

In solid state, aspartame is a white powder. Aspartame is the methyl ester of the dipeptide of the
natural amino acids L-aspartic acid and L-phenylalanine. During digestion, aspartame breaks
down into  aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol, and further breakdown products to
formaldehyde, formic acid, and a diketopiperazine.

Discovery

According to Wikipedia, aspartame was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter, a chemist
working for G.D. Searle & Company. Originally, Schlatter had synthesized aspartame in the
course of producing an anti-ulcer drug candidate. Once, he licked his finger which has accidentally
contaminated with aspartame.

Uses

According to Wikipedia, aspartame is used as a low-calorie sweetener in many food products,
including Equal, NutraSweet, and Canderel.

Because it is about 180 times sweeter than sugar, only very small amounts are needed to sweeten
a product. A typical 12 ounce low-calorie soft drink contains about 180 milligrams of aspartame.

However, aspartame degrades and losses its sweetness in acidic solutions at high temperatures.

Side Effects, Danger of Aspartame

FDA determined in 1981 that aspartame was safe for use in foods.

Carefully controlled clinical studies show that aspartame is not an allergen. However, certain
people with the genetic disease phenylketonuria (PKU), and pregnant women with
hyperphenylalanine (high levels of phenylalanine in blood) have a problem with aspartame
because they do not effectively metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine, one of aspartame's
components. High levels of this amino acid in body fluids can cause brain damage. Therefore,
FDA has ruled that all products containing aspartame must include a warning to phenylketonurics
that the sweetener contains phenylalanine. [3]

Clinical Studies

A study of about half a million people, published in 2006, compared people who drank
aspartame-containing beverages with those who did not. Results of the study showed that
increasing levels of consumption were not associated with any risk of lymphomas, leukemias, or
brain cancers in men or women. [2]

Researchers examined the relationship between aspartame intake and 1,888 lymphomas or
leukemias and 315 malignant brain cancers among the participants of the NIH-AARP Diet and
Health Study from 1995 until 2000. Development of these cancers was not associated with
estimated aspartame consumption, refuting a recent animal study with positive findings for
lymphomas and leukemias and also contradicting claims regarding brain cancer risk. [2]

Diet Soda
Apartame has been used in some diet soda products. In a recent study, Dr Helen P Hazuda from
the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, looked at
the link between diet soft drink consumption and long-term change in waistline circumference in
474 people aged between 65 and 74 years. At the start of the study, researchers took the first set
of measurements. After that, they underwent three further follow up exams, when further
measurements were done. The exams took place for a total of 9.5 years. The researchers used
statistical tools to compare average waistline of diet soft drink users versus non-users in all the
follow-up periods.  They found those of the diet soft drinks users increased by an extra 70%
compared to those who did not consume diet soft drinks. [Medical News Today, 29 Jun 2011 -
2:00 PDT]

Of course, diet soda may not be the cause for the weight gain. But some people eat more meats
and candies after they start to drink diet soda. It ends up, they gain a few pounds. I was one of
them.

SOURCE

[1] Wikipedia
[2] http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/AspartameQandA
[3] http://www.foodsafety.gov/~dms/qa-adf9.html
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