The Advantage of Advantame

  • There’s a new artificial sweetener on the block that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration: Advantame. What is it and is it safe?


    Here’s a breakdown of what it means for you and other consumers.


    What is an artificial sweetener?

    Nutritive sweeteners are those that occur either naturally in foods (like fructose and lactose) or are added to foods (like table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup). Nutritive sweeteners also contain calories.  An “artificial” or “non-nutritive” sweetener is one that has minimal calories and produces little or no glycemic effect and, therefore, will not generally raise blood sugar.

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    When to use them

    Someone concerned about their blood sugar (like a person living with diabetes) or someone trying to reduce overall calorie consumption may want to include these sweeteners as part of their overall diet.


    What is Advantame?

    Advantame is a derivative of aspartame (commonly known as Equal).  It is water soluble and contains no calories.  Its sweetness is 20,000 times greater than normal table sugar, meaning only a very small amount is needed when added. The FDA has approved Advantame for general use in beverages and foods, except for meat and poultry. You will soon find Advantame in many products, including baked goods, soft drinks, gum, jelly, pudding, and frozen desserts.


    The difference from other sweeteners

    This new sweetener is now the highest-intensity sweetener on the market. It is also heat stable. Until now, sucralose (commonly known as Splenda), was the only artificial sweetener that could withstand heat and could be used for baking. Advantame is now another option for people who want to bake cookies, cakes, pies, and other desserts without the added calories of sugar.


    Who should not use Advantame?

    There is a rare genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU), which babies are tested for before they leave the hospital (commonly known as the “heel prick” test). This condition is rare, and those born with it need to avoid phenylalanine-containing products because their bodies lack the ability to properly metabolize it.  Aspartame contains phenylalanine, so Equal should not be consumed by people with PKU.


    However, the FDA has determined at this time that Advantame is safe even for those with PKU, because such a small amount of phenylalanine is present in this new sweetener.


    Are artificial sweeteners safe?

    The FDA has performed numerous research studies on all six artificial sweeteners that are currently approved in the United States. Extensive research has led the FDA to stand behind its claim that artificial sweeteners are safe when consumed in normal amounts in the diet.

Published On: June 11, 2014