Artificial sweeteners or non-nutritive (NNS) are being used to provide sweet taste to foods without involving high energy content of caloric sugars. Aspartame (L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester), is one of artificial sweeteners. It is a dipeptide containing aspartic acid and phenylalanine methyl ester1. Aspartame is commercially available under Nutrasweet, Equal, Sugar-free, Canderel, like popular brand names. Aspartame is widely consumed by the population via, cold drinks, diet soda, sugar-free sweet products, medications, low-calorie sweet products etc2.
Aspartame is almost 200 times more powerful than sucrose with a respective low caloric value (0.5% of kilocalorie of the respective amount of sugar). That’s why it is becoming popular substitute for sugar. Aspartame breaks down inside the gastrointestinal lumen after hydrolysis and gives rise to three chemical moieties named, phenylalanine (50%), aspartic acid (40%) and methanol (10%)3. Apart from the controversy4, 5, it is still most widely used artificial sweetener because of low prices, low caloric intake and eye-catching advertisements6. Therefore, aspartame is being extensively used in foods such as diet sodas, cereals and sugar-free desserts. It is also suggested for weight loss and for type 2 diabetes mellitus7, 8.
Research papers were thoroughly reviewed to spread the awareness about lethal impacts of aspartame intake associated with health issues. This investigation revealed that the process of uptake, storage and distribution of aspartame within the body is interlinked with serious metabolic issues and different clinical conditions. Therefore, authorities including American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and French Food Safety Agency-AFSSA and the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standard Authority of India) should re evaluate the consumption of aspartame.
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17 November, 2019