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I recently read about FDA Approval for a “NEW” sugar substitute…Advantame. Interesting name – it would appear the creators believe there is an “advantage” to using it. The positive for people with diabetes of course, is that it doesn’t cause a glycemic response. Similar to the other sugar substitutes already on the market in a plethora of foods and beverages, Advantame is an artificial sweetener developed by the Japanese food and chemical corporation, Ajinomoto. Advantame is about 20,000 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). The FDA has approved it for general use in foods and beverages. This new artificial sweetener is also FEMA GRAS approved in Dairy, Frozen Desserts, Beverages, and Chewing Gum, but isn’t approved for use in products with meat or poultry. This is the 6th sweetener to be approved by the FDA and is a white powder derived from aspartame and vanillin that dissolves in water, and continues to remain stable in high temperatures (unlike pure aspartame which breaks down and doesn’t provide the taste appeal in baked products).

Advantame’s structure is chemically similar to aspartame, and it was assumed a warning label notifying people with phenylketonuria (PKU) to the presence of phenylalanine was required, but after further evaluation the agency determined that, since advantame is approximately 100 times sweeter than aspartame and requires only a fraction of the amount to achieve the same degree of sweetness, no warning label is necessary.

This fact alone should make one consider the nature of the word artificial. We tend to rely heavily on products with no sugar when living with diabetes – but how much is too much and should we be considering these alternatives as good, bad or ugly?

Looking at each artificial sweetener now on the market there is certainly an approved amount for each that can be consumed safely on a daily basis. Most people don’t know about the safe limits and some go well over the amounts to avoid sugar that raises blood glucose and requires insulin to process.

To provide a bit of information so you can make an informed decision about which product YOU choose, consider the following:

(To calculate your weight in kilograms, take your body weight and divide by 2.2. Ex: 150 pound person divided by 2.2 = 68 kg)

Asulfame Potassium (Sweet One) – 15mg/kg of body weight

Aspartame (Equal/Nutrasweet) – 50mg/kg of body weight (A packet of Equal contains 37 milligrams of aspartame. A 12-ounce can of diet soda contains around 200 milligrams of aspartame.)

Splenda (Sucralose) – 5mg/kg of body weight (A packet of Splenda contains 12 milligrams of sucralose.)

Neotame – similar to Aspartame, but 72 times sweeter (heat stable for baking)

Saccharine (Sweet N’Low, Sugar Twin)- 5mg/kg of body weight (One packet of Sweet n’ Low contains 36 milligrams of saccharin.)

Advantame – no safe amount has been noted at present.

 

Personally I choose to avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible and use real sugar and/or stevia as an alternative. Everyone is different and has taste and product preferences that work best for them. This list should help you to safely consume whatever sweetener is your preference to add a sweet taste to your day!

 

For inquiring minds and info about Advantame click here: http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm397740.htm