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The Collaborative International Dictionary

aspartame \aspartame\ n. 1. an artificial sweetener containing an aspartic acid peptide, ( C14H18N2O5); it is 160 times sweeter than sucrose (cane sugar) and is used as a calorie-free sweetener. Chemically it is N-L-[alpha]-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester. It is sold also under the trade name Equal.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

commercial name of an artificial sweetener, 1973, from aspartic acid (1836), formed irregularly from asparagine (1813), a compound found in asparagus, beet-root, etc., which was named from asparagus + chemical suffix -ine (2). The reason for -ame is unknown.


n. (context organic compound English) An artificial sweetener, the methyl ester of a dipeptide formed from aspartic acid and phenylalanine, used in many processed foods and beverages.


n. an artificial sweetener made from aspartic acid; used as a calorie-free sweetener


Aspartame (APM; or ) is an artificial, non- saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. In the European Union, it is codified as E951. Aspartame is a methyl ester of the aspartic acid/ phenylalanine dipeptide. It was first sold under the brand name NutraSweet. It was first synthesized in 1965, and the patent expired in 1992.

The safety of aspartame has been the subject of several political and medical controversies, United States congressional hearings and Internet hoaxes since its initial approval for use in food products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981. The European Food Safety Authority concluded in its 2013 re-evaluation that aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure, corroborating other medical reviews. However, because its breakdown products include phenylalanine, aspartame must be avoided by people with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU).

Usage examples of "aspartame".

A study of hyperactive children at the University of Toronto found that they reacted the same to sucrose, aspartame, and saccharin.

Also, Splenda stands up to heat, unlike aspartame, which means you can use it in baked goods.

Pearl, unpack and hang everything up carefully, iron things that had wrinkled, take a bath, put on the pajamas she usually wore when she slept without me, get in bed with Pearl, have a half cup of frozen chocolate yogurt sweetened with aspartame, and watch a movie.

I downed both Diet Cokes along the way, but all the time kept a finger on the pull-tab of my aspartame grenade.