Aspartame and Keto: Examining Its Role in a Low-Carb Diet


Embracing the ketogenic lifestyle has a unique set of challenges. For instance, if you’re used to starting your day with a sweet cup of coffee or tea, you go for sugar-free alternatives like aspartame. Given its nutritional facts, yes it is!

It’s wise to research sugar-free sweeteners before adding them to your diet because you don’t want anything inadvertently sabotaging your keto goals. Not all artificial sweeteners are compatible with keto; some may have undesirable side effects.Can aspartame and ketosis co-exist? What are the specifics on aspartame carbs? Is it safe to use aspartame every day? Let’s determine if aspartame is eligible to become your number one keto companion.

is aspartame keto


Serving Size: 1 packet

keto approved

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What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners in the world, but it’s also one of the most controversial. Aspartame is sold under the brand name Equal or NutraSweet.

This artificial sweetener is also found in many diet sodas and sugar-free or reduced-calorie foods. It is very common to find aspartame in packaged foods that are “diet” branded.

Aspartame comprises two naturally occurring amino acids, Phenylalanine, and aspartic acid. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that you get from food. Aspartic acid is a non-essential amino acid that your body can produce.

Aspartame is considered to be 200 times sweeter than regular table sugar. This means the amount of aspartame you need to sweeten food is very low, and the calorie content is usually considered low enough to be recorded as 0.

Different types of artificial sweeteners have different tastes from regular table sugar. Aspartame is considered to be one of the closest taste profiles to sugar.

However, the sweetness of aspartame lasts longer than sucrose (sugar), so it is often blended with other artificial sweeteners like acesulfame potassium to produce a sweetener that tastes more like table sugar.

Is Aspartame Safe?

Aspartame is one of the most rigorously tested food products of all time. The safety of aspartame has been studied ever since it was discovered. Aspartame has been deemed safe by over 100 regulatory bodies in several different countries, including:

  • The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • UK Food Standards Agency
  • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
  • World Health Organization
  • European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
  • Health Canada
  • American Dietetic Association
  • American Heart Association

These organizations have all said that aspartame is safe for human consumption. There is one concern, though.

Aspartame contains Phenylalanine. This is a naturally occurring amino acid but a health hazard to people with phenylketonuria (PKU). PKU is a rare disease that prevents Phenylalanine from being metabolized.

Because of this, products containing aspartame are labeled “Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine” in the United States. If you have PKU, you should avoid aspartame.

There have been rumors that aspartame causes cancer or neurotoxic effects. Studies have not been able to show any link between aspartame and these conditions.

The evidence suggests that aspartame is safe.

How Much Aspartame Can You Consume?

Most things are safe in moderation, but there must be a limit when you consume too much. According to the FDA and EFSA, a safe, acceptable daily intake of aspartame is 40-50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

Diet soda contains about 185 milligrams of aspartame. If you weigh 68 kilograms or 150 pounds, you must drink over 15 cans of diet soda to exceed your daily limit.

Diet sodas, like Diet Coke, use aspartame as a sweetener.

What are the Side Effects of Aspartame?

We mentioned above that studies don’t show a link between cancer and neurotoxic effects. However, users of aspartame have reported several side effects. These side effects include headaches, seizures, depression, ADHD, dizziness, congenital disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, MS, and weight gain. Studies are still going on to confirm the link between aspartame and these ailments. At this time, the studies seem to be inconsistent.

Is Aspartame Keto

Aspartame is a glorious member of the sugar-free sweeteners’ clique. Aspartame is a no-calorie and zero-carb substitute for sugar, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be a harmonious addition to your keto regime.  

The low-carb rule sometimes becomes an impasse for keto followers with an aching sweet tooth. When the craving for something comfortingly sweet gets out of control, carb-free sweeteners like aspartame are like a knight in shining armor.

Many of us cannot imagine our daily caffeine doses or pick-me-up beverages without a hint of sweetness. The option of a keto-approved artificial sweetener is more than enough to release stress and make life easier.

This artificial sweetener does not affect your blood sugar level, so it is unlikely to interfere with ketosis. However, it doesn’t have any nutritional value, so it’s not necessarily ideal for keto health goals.

Aspartame is a prominent component in several diet and sugar-free foods, including diet sodas. Some studies suggest that over-consumption of aspartame can have a negative impact on our metabolism. While aspartame can satiate your appetite for something sweet or provide something equivalent to the “sugar-high” you yearn for, do not let it turn into an addiction.

Many keto enthusiasts shun artificial sweeteners because they consider them a trap. They prefer to rely on natural sources or attain a sweet victory by other means – either that or no sweetness at all!

Is aspartame a worthy keto companion? There’s no right or wrong answer to that. It all rests upon understanding your body and realizing what’s best for you. If adding aspartame to your diet makes you happy and doesn’t come in the way of what you’re trying to achieve with keto, make the best of it.

The Bottom Line on Aspartame

Overall, aspartame is a good option for people looking for an alternative to sugar that will keep them in ketosis. However, you may want to watch out for some of the listed side effects we mentioned above.

In particular, some people who drink excess diet soda find that they have weight loss stalls.

If you’re on keto, consuming aspartame, and having difficulty losing weight, you may want to experiment with using less aspartame.

Most studies show that aspartame is safe and not linked to cancer. Hundreds of organizations worldwide have approved aspartame as a food product and consider it safe for human consumption.

Aspartame Alternatives

We think aspartame is a good sweetener. However, several competing artificial and natural sweeteners are low in carbs and calories. These alternative sweeteners are also a good choice for a keto diet.

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