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Aspartyl-phenylalanine methyl ester (Aspartame)

A sweetener, 150 times sweeter thsan sugar, derived from several plants, including soybeans.

It's made up of Aspartic acid, Phenylalanine (an Amino acid) and Methanol and lacks the bitter taste of saccharin.

It's sold as a tabletop sweetener under the brand names 'Nutrasweet' or 'Equal'.

It upsets just a few people who have 'Phenylketonuria' (PKU), a congenital hereditary condition caused by the body's inability to oxidise Phenylalnine to Tyrosine due to a defective enzyme. Such people risk brain damage if they use these products.

A high intake of Aspartame, possibly through the excess consumption of soft drinks, is said to cause dizziness, headaches, irritability and nausea. See 'Amino-acid'; 'Aspartic acid';'Tyrosine'

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