Aspartame is a sweetener used in many food products as a sugar substitute, as it is 200 times sweeter than sucrose. It is a methyl ester comprised of the amino acids L-aspartic acid and L-phenylalanine and its chemical composition gives it a high amount of energy per gram with a negligible caloric contribution. Aspartame’s sweetness lasts longer than sucrose, and so it is often combined with other artificial sweeteners.
Aspartame has been approved for human consumption by over 90 countries worldwide, and genotoxicity studies as well as the National Cancer Institute have found no significant evidence implicating Aspartame in cancers of humans and animals.
Aspartame is currently sold under the names Equal, NutraSweet and Canderel, and is an ingredient in over 6000 consumer beverages
Aspartame was first discovered in 1965 by chemist James M. Schlatter, who was employed by G.D. Seattle & Company. It was found to be an intermediate of the chemical reaction that produces the hormone gastrin to find anti-ulcer treatments.The compound was first marketed as NutraSweet, a non-saccharide sweetener that could be used in food and beverage products.