Tuesday, November 1, 2022

History of aspartame in beverages

Aspartame has been in use in the United States since the early 1980s. It is used in many foods and beverages because it is much sweeter than sugar, so much less of it can be used to give the same level of sweetness.

Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by James Schlatter, a chemist working at G.D. Searle Pharmaceutical Company, He licked his fingers while developing a new ulcer drug and tasted something sweet. That was aspartame, an amino acid compound (a mixture of aspartic acid and phenylalanine) that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. In 1970 Cloninger and Baldwin published report in Science to propose its use as an artificial sweetener.

It was first authorized to enter the market in the United States in 1974. This authorization was suspended a few months later on the grounds that the first studies had not properly evaluated if aspartame could be toxic to the brain or cause brain cancer.

A new assessment of those studies and the examination of new data, led to a marketing authorization for solid food in 1981 and in 1983, the FDA approved aspartame for use in carbonated beverages and for use in other beverages, baked goods, and confections in 1993.

The sweetener hit the market as Nutrasweet in 1981. Aspartame replaced more than a billion pounds of sugar in the American diet during the 1980s.

Royal Crown Cola's Diet Rite was the sole diet soda on the market for several years until Coca-Cola followed with Tab in 1963. The first diet sodas were sweetened with a combination of the artificial sweeteners cyclamates and saccharin. The introduction of aspartame in 1982 was a turning point for the industry, because it tasted more like sugar and wasn't burdened by cancer worries.
History of aspartame in beverages

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