Aspartame is an artificial sweetener sold in the market. It consist of amino acids and provides calories like other amino acids. Yet, it is used as a low calorie sweetening agent in food items. What is the basis of this use?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2011 Prelims]
(a) Aspartame is as sweet as table sugar, but unlike table sugar, it is not readily oxidized in human body due to lack of requisite enzymes.
(b) When aspartame is used in food processing, the sweet taste remains, but it becomes resistant to oxidation.
(c) Aspartame is as sweet as sugar, but after ingestion into the body, it is converted into metabolites that yield no calories.
(d) Aspartame is several times sweeter than table sugar, hence food items made with small quantities of aspartame yield fewer calories on oxidation.
- Aspartame was discovered in 1879 and is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar.
- The human body lacks the necessary enzymes to readily oxidize aspartame.
- Aspartame is a dipeptide methyl ester known as aspartyl phenylalanine-1-methyl ester.
- It is commonly used as a tabletop sweetener and in various foods.
- However, it cannot be used in baked foods as it breaks down into amino acids and loses its sweetness when heated.
- Aspartame is only suitable for use in soft drinks and cold foods due to its instability at cooking temperatures.