This week, the FDA approved the “new” sweetener Advantame. Don’t get excited. Simply think of Advantame like a pig wearing lipstick; in the end, it’s still a pig.
Advantame is being touted as an “ultra”high- potency sweetener manufactured by the Japanese chemical company; Ajinomoto. Ajinomoto acquired its aspartame business in 2000 from Monsanto for $67M. Yes, Monsanto.
Advantame is an ultra high- potency version of aspartame plus vanillin…like putting vanilla lip gloss on aspartame. Aspartame is the artificial sweetener in Equal and Nutrasweet; the “blue packet.” Advantame is just another version of the artificial sweetener you might be trying to avoid; aspartame.
It is 20,000 times sweeter than table sugar. Compare that to aspartame (at 200 times sweeter than table sugar). Do the math…this “new” Advantame is 1000 times more potent than aspartame.
A little aspartame history:
In 2008, Ajinomoto sued British supermarket chain Asda (part of Wal-Mart) “ for a malicious falsehood action concerning its aspartame product when the substance was listed as excluded from the chain’s product line, along with other “nasties”.. In July 2009, a British court found in favor of Asda. But in June 2010, an appeals court reversed the decision, allowing Ajinomoto to pursue a case against Asda to protect aspartame’s “reputation”. Asda said that it would continue to use the term “no nasties” on its own-label products, but the suit was settled in 2011 with ASDA choosing to remove references to aspartame from its packaging”.
The FDA has now approved 6 high potency sweeteners:
Neotame (Brand name Newtame. Approved in 2002.)
Saccharin (Brand names include Sweet‘N Low)
Aspartame (Brand names include Equal. Approved in 1981.)
Ace-K (Brand names include Sweet One. Approved in 1988.)
Sucralose (Brand name: Splenda. Approved in 1998.)
Slick trick #1: By segregating sweeteners into a new group called “high potency”…(nothing comes close to the potency of Advantame)…. the growing group of more natural sweeteners including Stevia, Truvia, Purvia, or erythritol are not even mentioned. Maybe this will take the focus off the more natural sweeteners and bring business back to aspartame.
Slick trick #2:…. Advantame is not a brand name; it’s a generic term. So, don’t expect to see aspartame on the ingredient label; you will see Advantame. Don’t be fooled. It’s aspartame with vanilla.
It’s being touted as a cost effective flavor mask for the “off” flavor notes of Stevia, sucralose, and ace-K. I suspect we will see less Stevia, erythritol, ace-K, or sucralose in our lower sugar foods as they become craftily laced with high power, cheaper Advantame.
Why does high power aspartame concern me? In 1991, the National Institutes of Health listed 167 possible side-effect symptoms of aspartame. The FDA receives more complaints about aspartame than any other food additive. But it has never been banned.
The following is a list of the most common reported side effects of aspartame use:
– Decreased vision and/or other eye problems
(blurring, “bright flashes,” tunnel vision)
– Tinnitus (“ringing,” “buzzing”)
– Intolerance for noise
– Dizziness, unsteadiness, or both
– Confusion, memory loss, or both
– Severe drowsiness and sleepiness
– Paresthesias (“pins and needles,” “tingling”)
or numbness of the limbs
– Convulsions (grand mal epileptic attacks)
– Slurring of speech
– Anxiety attacks
– Marked personality changes
– Recent severe insomnia
– Palpitations, tachycardia (rapid heart action),
– Shortness of breath
– Abdominal pain
– Frequency of voiding (day and night), burning
– Excessive thirst
– Severe joint pains
I am a fan of the following sweeteners or sugar replacements: Stevia, sucralose, and erythritol. Do I wish those with metabolic syndrome, pre diabetes, and diabetes could use sugar or natural sweeteners like honey and agave syrup? Yes. But the fact is, those with insulin issues are best served by minimizing added sugar and high concentrations of carbohydrate. The purpose of this article is to make you aware that Advantame is ultra concentrated aspartame linked with a vanillin connection that enables it to have its own generic name. If you avoided aspartame before, you will avoid Advantame. Spread the word.