Everything you need to know about the sugar substitute aspartame. Manufacturing features, composition, calorie content. The benefits and harms of a sweetener. Recipes for food and drinks.
Aspartame is an artificially synthesized sweetener. It was first obtained in 1965, produced by various trade marks, both alone and in a mixture with other sweeteners. In the composition of products that include a sweetener, it can be found as a food additive E951. Aspartame is 160-200 times sweeter than sugar, the sweetness is revealed in a very unusual way - the sensation of sweet taste does not come as quickly as from sugar, but it lasts longer. Interestingly, the sweetener can only be added to dishes that are not cooked, as it loses its structure when heated.
Features of the manufacture of aspartame
The sweetener was opened randomly. Chemist James M. Schlatter was working on producing gastrin, a compound used in the treatment of stomach ulcers. Aspartame was one of the intermediates in the reaction - the scientist accidentally licked his finger and felt a sweet taste.
The product was tested for several years, and already in 1981, the US and UK began to actively release it as a healthy alternative to sugar. The use of aspartame quickly became a popular practice because, unlike the then popular sugar substitute saccharin, it was not officially considered a carcinogen. However, even now aspartame does not lose momentum, being the second most popular sweetener, which is added to literally everything - soda, gum, candy, yoghurts, breakfast cereals, etc. It can also be found in vitamins and tablets.
The sweetener aspartame is produced today in many regions of the world - in the USA, Japan, China, Korea, and European countries. The process itself was hidden for a long time, and even now it is not yet entirely clear how this sugar substitute is obtained, but in 1999 the British newspaper "The Independent" published an article on this topic, which opened the veil of secrecy.
Here's how the process works: microorganisms (usually E. coli) are grown in a special environment that is most favorable for their reproduction. At a certain stage, bacteria are fed with certain proteins, so that as a result of their metabolism, an intermediate product is formed at the output, but already as close as possible to aspartame. Metabolic products are processed in a special way to obtain the final substance.