Friday, July 22, 2011

Diet Soft Drink Without Aspartame

The American Cancer Society claims that aspartame is one of the most commonly used sweeteners, and it is widely used in food and beverages for its low calories and its sweeter-than-sugar flavor. Dr. Morando Soffritti for the New York Times believes that hundreds of millions of people consume aspartame worldwide in products such as Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Diet Snapple, and Sugar-Free Kool Aid. Despite its wide usage and consumption, the research conducted by Dr. Soffritti shows aspartame to be associated with the development of cancer in laboratory testings, particularly lymphomas and leukemia. In light of the recent research supporting the dangerous effects of aspartame, many diet sodas are made without aspartame, and are sweetened with more healthful alternatives.

Aspartame, also known as NutraSweet and Equal, flavors Diet Coke (Coke Zero) and other no-calorie beverages and foods. It is comprised of three compounds -Aspartic acid (40% of aspartame), phenylalanine (50%) and methanol (10%)- and is a white, odourless, crystalline powder.

This artificial sugar is about 200 times sweeter than sucrose (which is sometimes called saccharose). Because of the extreme sweetness, even though aspartame is 4 kcal per gram, the amount of aspartame added to produce a sweet taste is so small that its caloric contribution is close to nil (which is why products with this sweetener are ‘zero’ or no-calorie).

The FDA approved aspartame for use in certain dry foods in 1981 and for soft drinks in 1983. In 1996, it removed all restrictions, allowing use in all food products, including ones exposed to heat, which separates the main ingredients. The FDA has set an acceptable daily limit of 50 mg per kg of body weight, which assumes that aspartame can safely replace all sucrose sweeteners in the diet.

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