Aspartame Rebranded as AminoSweet for Better PR

“AminoSweet” almost sounds healthy

The makers of Aspartame, who are also responsible for the reprehensible existence of MSG, are rebranding the sugar substitute in an attempt to improve its profile.

Ajinomoto, the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food additive manufacturer responsible for Aspartame, has chosen to call the much-maligned product “AminoSweet.” Marketed under popular brand names such as NutraSweet, Equal, and Candarel, Aspartame has become a staple in the calorie-conscious end of world dieting circles.

But can this move to a prettier name really do the trick for Aspartame? The chemical additive, while certainly a zero-calorie alternative to sugar, has been revealed in recent years to be associated with a host of illnesses. While it contains methanol–a deadly poison in its own right–it’s what that methanol turns into in the body that causes the most concern.

Methanol, when digested, becomes formaldehyde, and although there may be jokes aplenty regarding “preservation,” formaldehyde in the body is no laughing matter. It has been shown to be a highly potent cancer-causing agent, and can cause birth defects. On top of all this, Aspartame has been linked to neurological disorders, behaviour disorders, and has even been shown to cause the effects of diabetes to worsen over time.

There have been more reports to the FDA on adverse reactions to Aspartame than all other food additives combined. According to

“…there are over 10,000 official complaints, but by the FDA?s own admission, less than 1 percent of those who experience a reaction to a product ever report it. So in all likelihood, the toxic effects of aspartame may have affected roughly a million people already.

While a variety of symptoms have been reported, almost two-thirds of them fall into the neurological and behavioral category consisting mostly of headaches, mood alterations, and hallucinations. The remaining third is mostly gastrointestinal symptoms.”

If a rebranding effort is underway to polish the image of Aspartame in light of all of this, it may not be long before “AminoSweet” becomes the subject of widespread study once again. Such a development would be encouraging, given the fact that its makers have made such a big deal out of keeping stevia–a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener that so far has shown no adverse reactions in human or lab trials–in the “herbal medicine” category in so many countries (stevia packaging still includes dosing information in Canada. Neither sugar nor Aspartame do). With Aspartame rebranded as AminoSweet the consequences of the general public viewing this as a healthy alternative could be pretty dire.

Image: Paul /