Diet and Nutrition

Advantame: What You Need to Know

January 11, 2017   /
Author: 
Elaine M. Hinzey, RD, LDN

Advantame is the ultra-high potency sweetener, derived from aspartame and vanillin, created by Ajinomoto®. In fact, advantame is about 20000 times sweeter than sucrose. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved advantame for general use in food and beverages.

Advantame is the sixth artificial sweetener approved by the FDA. It is also Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association, generally recognized as safe (FEMA GRAS™) approved in dairy, frozen desserts, beverages, and chewing gum. The FDA set the daily safe consumption level of advantame at 32.8 milligrams/kilogram of body weight, which is the equivalent of 40000 packets of advantame. For comparison, the limit for aspartame and sucralose is 165 packets per day.

The FDA looked at 37 studies conducted on animals and humans to determine safety, including studies on the immune, nervous, or reproductive systems, as well as for the development of fetuses or children. The European Food Safety Authority has also deemed advantame safe for general consumption.

Advantame does not break down under heat, so it is used in:

  • Baked goods
  • Candy
  • Chewing gum
  • Frosting
  • Frozen desserts
  • Gelatin
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Nonalcoholic beverages
  • Processed fruits and fruit juices
  • Pudding
  • Soft drinks
  • Syrups
  • Toppings

On May 21, 2014, the Center for Science in the Public Interest released a statement written by senior scientist Lisa Lefferts, which read:

CSPI will be carefully reviewing the studies on advantame. However, an initial concern is that in a key cancer study in mice, the number of mice that survived to the end of the study was below FDA’s own scientific recommendations, and is therefore inadequate to provide confidence in the safety of a chemical likely to be consumed by millions of people.

In one prenatal study performed on rabbits, gastrointestinal disturbance was noted.

Some of the reported side effects of aspartame include:

  • Change in heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Neurological reactions
  • Seizures
  • Sleep problems
  • Weakness

Advantame, like aspartame, contains the amino acid phenylalanine, which is very dangerous to people with the rare metabolic disorder phenylketonuria. However, because advantame is used at much lower volume than aspartame, the FDA decided that people with phenylketonuria can consume advantame safely.

References and recommended readings

Advantame website. http://www.advantame.com/. Accessed February 25, 2015.

FDA approves new sweetener, advantame. Center for Science in the Public Interest website. http://www.cspinet.org/new/201405211.html. Published May 21, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2015.

Gold M. Reported aspartame toxicity effects. US Food and Drug Administration website. http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/03/Jan03/012203/02P-0317_emc-000199.txt. Published January 12, 2003. Accessed February 25, 2015.

Healy M. FDA approves a new artificial sweetener. LA Times website. http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-fda-artificial-sweetener-20140521-story.html. Published May 21, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2015.

Preidt R. FDA approves new artificial sweetener: advantame can be used to sweeten coffee, tea and as an ingredient in cooking. WebMD website. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20140520/fda-approves-new-artificial-sweetener. Published May 20, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2015.

Scott-Thomas C. EFSA panel says advantame is safe for use. FoodNavigator.com website. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Legislation/EFSA-panel-says-advantame-is-safe-for-use. Published August 1, 2013. Accessed February 25, 2015.