Aspartame is used as a sugar substitute in baked goods, candies, diet soft drinks, malt beverages and alcoholic beverages. Experts from Colorado State University Extension say that aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar.
Aspartame is made up of the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine. These substances are naturally found in meats, dairy products, vegetables and fruits. When someone eats a food containing aspartame, his body metabolizes the aspartic acid and phenylalanine just as it would if he drank a glass of milk or ate a piece of fruit.
Although rumors persist that aspartame is harmful to humans, experts from the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School report that more than 200 human and animal studies have shown aspartame to be safe. The artificial sweetener is particularly helpful for diabetics because it does not cause weight gain or affect blood sugar levels.
One study showed that aspartame may cause headaches, but the participants were given 30 milligrams of aspartame per day for every kilogram of body weight. For a 200-pound person, that is more than 2,700 milligrams of aspartame. If a can of soda has 180 milligrams of aspartame, the person would need to drink more than 15 cans of soda per day to consume the amount of aspartame consumed by the study participants.