, 2006). The evidence reflects only a low level weight loss but is still worthwhile to consider in controlling weight at roughly 0.007 kg per week. It is useful for individual weight loss programs. Losing 0.2 kg per week requires a decrease of 220 kilocalories per day. Achieving a 32% reduction requires a sacrifice of 330 kilocalories a day from sucrose by substituting aspartame. Using aspartame replaces 70 g of sucrose or roughly two cans of soft drinks every day (Hunty et al.). This means less expense.
200 Times Sweeter and Cheaper
On the average, aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sucrose (Hu et al., 2008). Not only does it mean less calories but also less cost. The taste difference between them is that the sweetness of aspartame is detected by the taste buds longer than sucrose. This can, however, be resolved by adding acesulfame potassium. Aspartame also has limited hydrolyzing properties, unlike sucrose. It is, therefore, limited to sodas, which have 3-5 pH. It is not advisable for baking. Other observations about aspartame are that it does not deter or reduce the development of dental caries and the controversy surrounding phenylalanine, an amino acid. Phenylalanine has been associated with a rare genetic disorder, phenylketonuria (Hu et al.).
Sucrose is the better option for preserved fruits and other products for health and cost reasons (Hu et al., 2008). Aspartame can replace high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks in smaller doses. On the other hand, sucralose can be substituted for high fructose corn syrup in baking. Sucralose has similar effects on yeast and browns like sucrose. These alternative sweeteners can take the place of high fructose corn syrup and are, thus, beneficial for the foregoing uses (Hu et al.).
Biology vs. Health Education - Aspartame, when metabolized, is reduced into three substances found in common natural foods eaten by humans and animals. One of its two amino acid components, phenylalamine, has been the focus of controversy and issues, although the chemical researcher who accidentally discovered it in the lab said it was not toxic. It is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose or table sugar to which it has been widely substituted. While sucrose is natural and readily absorbed by the body, aspartame is a modified protein, which is indigestible. It does not provide calories as sucrose does. Its impact on health is two-pronged. It is beneficial in reducing or losing weight in the treatment or prevention of obesity. Obesity is a major health condition, which is linked to more serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Substituting aspartame for sucrose is also helpful in preventing dental caries if adequate fluoride is present. A few studies also suggest that aspartame can also relieve pain and inflammation in humans and fever in animals. More studies, however, ascribe migraines and allergy to aspartame's hydrolyzed by-product, formaldehyde. Similar studies reported on the occurrence of aspartame disease, a merging of neurologic, cardiopulmonary, endocrine and allergic reactions to the sweetener. These studies say these reactions occur to 70% of the population, which ingests aspartame, chiefly in diet soft drinks.
Economic Costs vs. Health Education - Because aspartame is 200 times sweeter than table sugar or sucrose, much less is needed to spend on sweetener if aspartame is substituted. It curbs weight and reduces the incidence of major medical and dental conditions that usually follow extreme sugar consumption. On the other hand, these benefits may be defeated by observed cases of migraines, allergies, neurologic, cardio-pulmonary, and endocrine effects in aspartame consumption. A healthy balance should be achieved or another and less controversial sweetener substitute should be considered.
Economic Costs vs. Biology - Aspartame is an indigestible protein, an advantage to weight watchers and those diagnosed with serious health conditions associated with obesity. But its by-product is also be responsible for major health risks. The cost saved by substituting it to sucrose may be negligible as compared to its negative health effects.
Integration of Disciplines
Aspartame is biologically 200 sweeter than sucrose and cost-advantageous. It will not provide calories and thus reduce or prevent weight gain, obesity and major health consequences. But studies continue to show greater adverse health consequences of aspartame consumption. The costs saved may be negligible as compared to expenditures incurred with major health conditions for which it is responsible.
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