Which is better – Aspartame or Stevia?

In Blogs
June 19, 2021
5 min read

For the past two decades, low-calorie sweeteners have been utilized to substitute sugar. You can consume nearly no calories while enjoying a sweet-tasting drink or snack. Artificial sweeteners can be found in a wide range of items, including juices, cereals, confectionery, chewing gum, (soft) drinks, and tabletop sweeteners (either powder or tablets). Artificial sweeteners are sometimes found in medications.

Saccharin was the first low-calorie artificial sweetener discovered in 1879. Several more types of sweeteners, such as saccharin, aspartame, and stevia, have been found since this discovery. Each sweetener has its own distinct flavor and properties. Stevia has been described as a more “natural” sweetener than the other types of sweeteners in recent arguments. The artificial sweetener aspartame is the most extensively used and popular in the world. This article will see the difference between Aspartame and Stevia to determine which is the better choice for ingestion.

Aspartame

NutraSweet and Equal are two brand names for aspartame. It’s also commonly utilized in packaged goods, particularly those branded as “diet” items.

Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are the components of aspartame. Both amino acids are found in nature. Your body produces aspartic acid, but phenylalanine is an important amino acid that you must obtain from food.

Part of aspartame is broken down into methanol as it is processed by your body. Methanol is produced by the consumption of fruit, fruit juice, fermented beverages, and some vegetables.

Aspartame was the most common source of methanol in the American diet as of 2014. Methanol is hazardous in large doses, but lesser doses mixed with free methanol can be dangerous due to increased absorption.

Some foods include free methanol, which is also produced when aspartame is cooked. Free methanol is a potential health hazard since it breaks down in the body into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen and neurotoxic.

The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom, on the other hand, claims that even among youngsters who consume a lot of aspartame, the maximum methanol ingestion level is not achieved.

They further argue that because consuming fruits and vegetables is proven to improve health, studying methanol intake from these sources is not a top priority.

Aspartame present in commercial items or warm beverages may be a seizure trigger, according to Dr. Alan Gaby, MD, who wrote in Alternative Medicine Review in 2007 that it should be explored in cases of problematic seizure control.

Stevia

Stevia is a sugar replacement and natural sweetener obtained from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, which is native to Brazil and Paraguay.

Steviol glycosides (mostly stevioside and rebaudioside) are the active molecules, which have 30 to 150 times the sweetness of sugar, are heat-stable, pH-stable, and non-fermentable. Because the glycosides in stevia are not metabolized by the body, it has no calories, unlike artificial sweeteners. Stevia has a slower onset and longer persistence than sugar, and at high concentrations, some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like flavor.

Brief analysis of Aspartame and Stevia

The table below shows the difference between Aspartame and Stevia.

PropertiesAspartameStevia
Made fromAspartame is a synthetic sweetener made from the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid. These two amino acids are found in nature. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid, meaning it can only be obtained through food. Your body, on the other hand, produces aspartic acid.Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Because the leaves aren’t the main element in the stevia product, technically. Glycosides (sweet-tasting chemicals) isolated from the leaves are the ones that are used.
Sweetness levelAspartame has 200 times the sweetness of regular sugar.Stevia has 200 – 300 times the sweetness of regular table sugar.
Safety profile
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

  • World Health Organization

  • American Heart Association

  • American Dietetic Association
  • AgenceFrançaise de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA, or French Agency for Food Safety)

  • Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)

  • European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

  • European Commission Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)

  • Health Canada

  • Joint FAO/ WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Side effects
  • Phenylketonuria

  • Tardive

  • dyskinesia

  • Cancer

  • Seizures

  • Headaches

  • Depression

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • Dizziness

  • Weight Gain

  • Birth Defects

  • Lupus

  • Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
(Some studies show that aspartame use increases risk, symptoms, or disease progression, while others show no detrimental effects.)
  • Kidney Damage

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Indigestion

  • Cramping

  • Bloating

  • Allergic Reaction

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Low Blood Pressure

  • Endocrine Disruption
(More research on stevia is needed to confirm the drawbacks that it may have. However, recent research indicates that, as long as you use a high-quality product, most stevia extracts are safe to eat and have few side effects.)
Anti-diabeticYesYes
UsesAspartame is extensively used as a tabletop sweetener, in prepared foods and beverages, and in low-heat recipes (since heat breaks down aspartame). It’s also used as a flavour in some medications.Stevia can be used to sweeten practically everything, including coffee, hot tea, iced tea, or lemonade, salad dressings, smoothies, frostings, yogurt, oatmeal, and other hot cereals.

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