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Aspartame is E951 and Acesulfame K is E950 - both artificial sweeteners are said to be harmful

Updated on April 11, 2016

Lilt ingredients including Aspartame and Acesulfame K


Diet Pepsi


Deceptive labeling of potentially toxic sweeteners Aspartame and Acesulfame K

Aspartame is a controversial artificial sweetener and food additive which many people claim is toxic. There is a lot of evidence presented showing this to be the case, and it has been said to cause multiple health problems, including seizures, brain tumours and blindness. It has been linked with diabetes, ME, Parkinson's disease and many other serious conditions. The UK Food Guide states "despite US FDA approval as a ‘safe’ additive, aspartame is one of the most dangerous substances ever to be foisted upon an unsuspecting public."

Aspartame was first discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter, a chemist working for the G.D. Searle & Company. In 1985 Donald Rumsfeld, who was then President of Searle, played a big hand in the acquisition of Searle by the Monsanto company Aspartame was being marketed as Nutrasweet at the time

There has been a growing number of people campaigning against it being used in our food and drink, and recently Pepsi dropped the sweetener as an ingredient in its Diet Cola. Most 'Diet' food and drink products contain aspartame, and this has been the case for many years.

Aspartame has a history of being marketed under other names, including Equal and the sweetener Canderel, which also contains other sugar substitutes. Aspartame is often listed in food ingredients as simply but confusingly, "sweetener E951".

Acesulfame K is another artificial sweetener that is claimed to have harmful side effects, though it does not get anywhere near the negative publicity Aspartame gets. It was officially approved as safe in 1988. Acesulfame K is often listed as E950. Its trade names are Sweet One and Sunnette. It is also called Ace-K and acesulfame potassium.

Like Aspartame, Acesulfame K is said to cause tumours and it has also been suggested to cause leukemia. Dr H. J. Roberts is one of the people claiming the sweetener is dangerous. Campaigners against it say that Acesulfame K has not been tested thoroughly enough, and as already stated, that it is carcinogenic. Despite this, the US FDA has approved its general use as a food additive.

As public awareness of the potential toxic effects of artificial sweeteners has grown, it appears that food manufacturers have tried the often successful tactic of listing the sweeteners under their E-numbers. For example, aspartame is listed as "sweetener E951."

This form of marketing is deceptive to the degree that someone who only knows the sweetener as Aspartame is not going to realise a product they are buying contains it if they only see it included as E951.

Many people who are trying to avoid these sweeteners are buying food and drink items that contain them because they are not aware of the alternative name for the substances. If Aspartame and Acesulfame K are actually toxic to the human body then this is very worrying. Making money is more important than human health.

One way of seeing if a product contains Aspartame, if you forget that it can be listed under its alternative names such as E951, is to look and see if there is a warning message stating that "This product contains a source of phenylalanine." This is because it is officially recognised that people who suffer from the genetic condition known as phenylketonuria (PKU) must avoid Aspartame because it is a source of this substance. If the food or drink producvt has this warning it contains Aspartame.

Aspartame, Brain Cancer & the FDA Approval Process (dangers side effects Diet Coke Zero Sucralose)

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Products Aspartame and Acesulfame K are in

Aspartame and Acesulfame K are in an alarming list of commonly bought products. They are found together in many brands of chewing gum and also in soft drinks, powdered drinks and in iced tea.

Aspartame is an ingredient of many yogurts and types of dessert and in some sauces. Aspartame is included in many popular soft drinks and even in some types of potato crisps.

The Wrigleys manufacturer of chewing gum added it to all their brands of gum many years back. They did this gradually. At one point you could buy Wrigleys "Regular" gum and it just had sugar but then Aspartame was added as well.

This was deceptive because you could think you were avoiding it by just sticking to the gum with sugar in it but you ended up getting Aspartame as well. What justification is there for this?

Sadly today most chewing gum types have Aspartame included now as an ingredient. It really pays to check all labels if you want to avoid this substance.

It is also included a a sweetener in a lot of tablets and medicines, including laxatives and antibiotics. Seeing as many of these are intended to be swallowed there is little point in having a sweetener anyway. Aspartame is an ingredient in some vitamin supplements, so even items you buy at the health counter need checking.

Stevia rebaudiana

on 	 Stevia rebaudiana, cultivated under glass in Denmark.
on Stevia rebaudiana, cultivated under glass in Denmark. | Source

Stevia is a natural sweetener and alternative to sugar and sweeteners

Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from a plant that can be easily grown. Stevia, in the form of steviol glycosides has become increasingly used as a food additive that serves as a sweetener, and many food and drink manufacturers are now adding it in the place of possibly harmful artificial sweeteners like Aspartame.

Stevia is 150 times as sweet as sugar. It is a herbal alternative to sugar and the artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame and Acesulfame K.

Although Stevia comes from the plant Stevia rebaudiana and is a natural herbal substance this does not mean that it is guaranteed to be harmless to humans. Because of this, and due to likely opposition from the sugar and artificial sweetener manufacturers, Stevia has not been legally available in all countries. It was actually banned in the US in the early 1990s, although specific steviol glycosides were subsequently approved in 2008.

Stevia has not been shown so far to have any harmful effects and so has been welcomed by many people who are concerned about their health, and who wish to avoid the potential dangers of the artificial sweeteners.

Consumers should surely be given the choice of whether they want to buy and use sugar, artificial sweeteners or natural ones like Stevia.

ABC News Stevia The 'Holy Grail' of Sweeteners


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    • Bard of Ely profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you, for commenting and voting up!

    • Karine Gordineer profile image

      Karine Gordineer 

      5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Informative hub. Very important for people to know this information. It's criminal that the FDA get's away with approving aspartame while simultaneously trying to put small herb companies out of business. I love Stevia and grow it in my garden but I would caution using the Stevia that comes in packages as it's often blended with other substances. Plus I don't trust anything that is overly processed. Thanks again for the hub - voted up interesting and useful!

    • Bard of Ely profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you! I am pleased to hear it.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 

      5 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Excellent hub..I use stevia, and try to avoid the others.

    • Bard of Ely profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you for appreciating this hub! Yes, the sweet tooth so many of us have I would say is learned behaviour and can be unlearned so we do not feel we need such sweet foods. This is something I found out for myself years ago when I went through a phase of eating the macrobiotic way where sugar is regarded as a very Yin food and harmful. The problem is we are all usually brought up to eat sweetened foods and to enjoy sweets and candies as treats. On top of this the modern array of processed foods is loaded with sugars or sweeteners or both. Thus we find sugars in foods like breads and even in canned foods like baked beans and tinned soups. The same problem exists for our drinks with many brands of juice sweetened further with sugars and sweeteners. Yes, you can get pure fruit juice but you have to look for these. Most squashes, cordials, juices and all soft drinks are loaded with sugar and sweeteners.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Excellent and important piece here. We just do not do sweetening things and avoid foods with sweeteners in them. It just seems that fruits are sweet enough as they are. I think that when I need it I will take my chances with Stevia. Thanks for the great information.


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