Aspartame is used for several reasons, including managing weight by reducing calories, controlling diabetes, preventing tooth decay and reducing health risks from obesity or carrying excess weight. Aspartame varies from sugar in its lack of calories, which in turn makes it a popular choice among diabetics and those opposed to sugar consumption. Chemists produce aspartame in laboratories; this substance lacks a distinct smell but offers a taste virtually identical to sugar, making it a popular replacement for sugar in hot and cold foods and beverages.
Substituting aspartame for sugar in fruit juices, syrup and other beverages significantly reduces caloric content, but retains a sweet taste. Aspartame produces more sweetness per serving than sugar and other sweeteners, such as sucrose. It also enhances the flavor of some naturally sweet products, such as fruits and chewing gum.
Aspartame helps diabetics enjoy sweet-tasting foods without disrupting their blood sugar levels, according to WebMD. Common brands using aspartame include NutraSweet and Equal. These substances prove suitable for adding to raw and cooked foods, although aspartame may lose some flavor at higher temperatures.
Despite benefiting a majority of the population, experts at WebMD recommend that patients with a condition called phenylketonuria avoid aspartame, as it may exacerbate health problems. In addition to aspartame, diabetics and those looking to manage their weight enjoy other sugar alternatives, such as sucralose, neotame and saccharin.