Almost everybody likes sugary foods. But some people stay away from table sugar by using less processed sugars like honey and molasses. Even with that, they are forms of added sugar; they can add calories to your diet.
On the other hand, some people use sugar substitutes like aspartame, also referred to as artificial sweeteners. These sugar substitutes taste sweet like sugar, and they have fewer or no calories.
In fact, many sugar substitutes taste sweeter than sugar, therefore, very little is required to sweeten foods and drinks. When sugar substitutes are used in foods and drinks (e.g soft drinks, baked and candy goods), they are often labelled as “sugar-free”.
Since aspartame is a sugar substitute, it would be best to explain what it is. Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener that has been used for decades as a way to reduce one’s intake of added sugars while still providing satisfaction from enjoying something sweet.
Now that we’ve explained what aspartame is, the question thus is, is it good for the health? Continue reading, we have the answer to that question.
Is aspartame good for health?
Aspartame is known to be 20 times sweeter than sugar, and as such, only a little quantity of it is required to match the sweetness provided by sugar. In some prepared foods, where bitter flavours and overall taste enhancement is needed, aspartame is often used.
This artificial sweetener consists of two amino acids; phenylalanine and aspartic acid. When consumed, it is broken down into two amino acids for use in protein metabolism. In addition to aspartame yielding phenylalanine and aspartic acid, its breakdown also yields a small amount of methanol (a compound naturally found in foods like vegetables and fruits and their juices).
Consuming aspartame-sweetened beverages result in less methanol than drinking tomato juice in the same amount. Therefore, in answering the question if aspartame is good for the health, well, aspartame is good for the health, even though artificial sweeteners are usually the topic of heated debate.
As many people use aspartame to reduce their sugar intake and lose weight, and most health authorities consider them safe, however, it can have side effects. The good thing about aspartame when replaced with processed sugar is that it helps in lowering your risk of getting cavities and tooth decay.
Also, an artificial sweetener like aspartame doesn’t raise the level of sugar in the blood. And for children and adults with obesity or overweight, aspartame might help reduce weight loss, but in short term. That is because aspartame is low in or has no calories.
But the negative aspect of aspartame is that people with phenylketonuria (PKU) should limit their consumption. PKU is a genetic disorder, though rare, where a person is unable to break down phenylalanine.
High levels of phenylalanine in the blood can prevent essential compounds from getting to the brain, resulting in brain damage. And because phenylalanine is a major component of aspartame, people suffering from PKU should limit the consumption of aspartame.
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