Introducing the next great artificial sweetener: Neotame
A few days I blogged about the FDA granting their approval for the various popular artificial sweeteners on the market today, including aspartame, ACE-K, saccharin and sucralose.
But there was a fifth sugar substitute on that list that I had personally never heard of called neotame that many of you have asked me to blog about since it seems to be a relatively new sweetener on the market without a lot of information available about it. In fact, one of my readers said he noticed the new Atkins shakes contain neotame in them along with ACE-K and sucralose.
Although it is made by the same company that makes Nutrasweet and is similar to aspartame inasmuch as it is an artificial sweetener as well. But neotame is decidedly different than aspartame. It is an amino-acid-based sweetener which is -- get this -- 10,000 times sweeter than sugar! Whoa, that's a high-intensity sweetener, baby! And unlike aspartame, which does not hold up well under heat making it impractical to use in recipes, neotame is heat-stable just like sucralose is.
For people with the condition known phenylketonuria need not worry about consuming neotame because it is metabolized differently than aspartame which has considerably higher concentrations of phenylalanine, a common ingredient found primarily in aspartame-sweetened diet sodas (isn't that just about ALL of them nowadays?!).
While aspartame has a very distinctive (I call it NASTY!) taste, neotame, on the other hand, tastes somewhat better and is completely safe to use as an artificial sweetener. However, it is so powerful that only a tiny amount is needed to pack a powerful sweetening punch. Check this out: 1/4 TEASPOON of neotame has the same amount of sweetness as 22 POUNDS of sugar! Woo wee, my tastebuds would be zapped completely off the charts if I had that much of something sweet in my mouth.
Obviously neotame is not a a sweetener you will be consuming high amounts of anytime soon and it is generally combined with other sweeteners (namely sucralose and ACE-K) in most products. My trusted source for this information about neotame described eating straight pure neotame as "an insane experience" because "you literally have never tasted anything nearly so sweet in your life." LOL! You may have to use a whole box of salt just to get the sweetness out of your mouth after doing that! :D
For anyone who has sensitivity to aspartame (and I'm one who gets headaches from consuming too much of it while others I know get physically sick to their stomach worse than overeating products with sugar alcohols in them), it appears neotame does not cause these same kinds of side effects in most people because the amount of neotame is so much smaller in comparison to aspartame. Any concerns over methanol poisoning from the breakdown of this sweetener are virtually nonexistent considering fruits and veggies have exponentially more methanol in them than neotame!
One interesting point that my source told me about neotame is the fact that it could immediately start being used to replace some of the large amounts of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in most sugary soft drinks and not change the taste of it one bit. How about that? An incredible 25 percent REDUCTION in the amount of HFCS would mean less calories and less sugar, both of which you would think should be something soda manufacturers fall all over themselves to make happen and market that fact. It would make their products HEALTHIER and they're refusing to do it in America! Go figure!
Interestingly, though, Coca-Cola has already started using neotame in place of some of the HFCS with their products overseas and Walmart-brand soft drinks also contain neotame. It really makes sense and cents for these companies to do this since most consumers are unaware of the change (I still get funny looks from people when I reveal to them that Coke Zero has aspartame in it!) and it costs 80 percent less commercially than sucralose does. With that said, it does start to make you wonder -- why don't they just go ahead and get rid of the other 75% of that disgusting and unhealthy HFCS already?! Hmmmmm?
As it stands right now, neotame is not available to consumers for purchase in little packets like Splenda, Nutrasweet and Sweet N' Low are. Because it is so concentrated and it is so similar a product as Splenda, you probably should not expect to see it on your local grocery store shelves anytime soon. But don't be surprised to find more and more of your favorite sugar-free (neotame is diabetic-friendly!) and low-carb products containing this incredible new power-sweetener called neotame. Now you know what it is!
For even more information, be sure to visit Neotame.com.