Aspartame is typically used in sugar-free or low-calorie foods or drinks. There has been a significant growth in the use of this ingredient in the past two decades as the demand for sugar-free options has increased. The safety of this ingredient has been established by the FDA in the United States several times during this time period. It is estimated that 200 million people around the world consume aspartame. It is found in over 6000 products such as frozen desserts, gelatins, puddings, fillings, confections, chewing gum, carbonated or powdered soft drinks, tabletop sweeteners or yogurt. Some sugar-free pharmaceuticals like cough drops will also add aspartame. Any products that contain aspartame must list it on the label.
What Foods Contain Aspartame?
Aspartame is often offered as a tabletop sweetener. You can also often find aspartame added to soft drinks, sugar free candies and desserts, frozen desserts or ice creams, iced teas, cocoa mix, chewing gums, breath mints, yogurts, meal replacements and other low calorie or sugarless foods. Aspartame is designed to be consumed sparingly, so it may be best for you to consume a combination of low-sugar and regular options when making your food choices.
- Soft Drinks. Many powdered soft drinks, flavoring syrups for coffee, sweetened iced teas, fruit or vegetable juices or flavored waters will contain aspartame to make them taste sweeter. Common soft drinks that include aspartame include Coca Cola Zero, Pepsi Max, Lilt Zero, Sprite Zero, Tango, 7up Free, Lucozade Sport, Schewppes Slimline drinks, Fanta Zero, Fanta Orange, Dr. Pepper Zero, Oasis Summer Fruits Extra Light, Oasis Fruit Punch Robinsons Orange Squash, Ribena Really light and Robinson's no sugar added beverages. Options Hot Chocolate mix and Cadburys Highlights also contain aspartame.
- Diet Sodas. Most diet sodas will use artificial sweeteners like aspartame in place of high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar that are higher in calories. Aspartame has a similar taste to sugar so those that like to drink sodas and do not like the idea of giving up their sweet drinks can swap for this lower calorie option without feeling kike they are going without. Some of the most common diet sodas that use aspartame include Diet Coca Cola products, Diet Pepsi products and Diet Irn Bru.
- Gum and Candies. A lot of common brands of candy or gum have aspartame as an ingredient. Candies that are labeled sugar free like chewing gum, hard candy, candy chews or breath mints will use aspartame. Gum that tends to have aspartame includes Wrigley's Extra, Airwaves and Orbit products.
- Yogurt. Yogurts that are sugar or fat free or those that have a drinkable consistency will usually be made with a low-fat milk and aspartame. Those that want to avoid the aspartame content can purchase unsweetened yogurt instead of these options. Yogurts that are known to contain aspartame include Mueller light cherry, blueberry, banana, custard and raspberry, Dannon Activia, Weight Watchers vanilla and toffee and Weight Watchers fromage frias.
- Desserts. Most desserts that are advertised as being low-sugar or sugar-free have added aspartame to help maintain the flavor of the product. Ice cream toppings or novelties, cartons of ice cream, frozen ices, sugar free mousse, cookies or pies usually use aspartame. Pudding mixes or gelatin advertised as being sugar-free also usually have aspartame in them.
- Condiments. Most condiments that are advertised as being lower in sugar like barbeque sauce, maple syrup, fruit spreads, jelly, jam, chocolate syrup or ketchup will have replaced the sugar with aspartame so they will still taste sweet but are lower in calories. Condiments that contain aspartame include Uncle Bens's Sweet and Sour Light sauce, Silver Spoon Sweetness light and light granulated sugar and Canderel.
- Meal Replacements. Some meal replacement options will replace the sugar with aspartame to help reduce the calories and sugar. A lot of shakes or weight loss bars that are promoted for dieting will have aspartame included to ensure that they meet specific calorie goals. If you are trying to cut down on calories should watch how many of these products they consume because consuming excessive amounts of artificial sweeteners like aspartame can have negative health effects over time.
Now you know what foods contain aspartame and can be more carefully next time you go shopping.