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Acesulfame Potassium

Acesulfame potassium commonly referred as acesulfame K is a high intensity artificial sweetener available in the supermarkets with the trade name of Nutrinova, Sweet one and Sunett. It is similar to aspartame in sweetness that is around 200 times sweeter than table sugar or sucrose. When used in high concentrations, like saccharin it has a slight bitter after taste. It is usually blended with other sweeteners to mask this quality, to give a synergistic effect and to give a more sugar like taste to the product. Acesulfame K can be effectively used for cooking or baking purpose as it is heat stable and also stable in mild acidic or basic conditions.
The good taste, solubility and stability of this compound make it suitable for various products in the market. Acesulfame K is used as an artificial sweetener or food addictive in many food and beverages to reduce the calories from sugar and the food additive code or E number for acesulfame K is E950. It is used as a table top sweetener, in puddings, desserts, baked goods, soft drinks, carbonated beverages, sodas, canned foods, soft candies, hard candies, dairy products, low calorie chewing gums, mints, cough drops and lozenges. It is also a popular compound in protein powders used by body builder and athletes.

Acesulfame K helps to reduce calories thus it is beneficial for people on low carbohydrate diets or for weight loss. But one should keep in mind that sugar free does not mean calorie free. People with diabetes can safely include acesulfame K in their diet as studies have shown that it does not have effects on blood glucose and insulin levels or on cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Acesulfame K is non carriogenic and is not associated with dental plaques or dental carries. The acceptable daily intake (ADI) for acesulfame has been established by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives of 15 mg per kg body weight.

There is always a hunt for low calorie sweet tasting products as the general population is becoming more health conscious and not every one wants to gain the excess pounds. There is a common health concern with acesulfame K and other artificial sweeteners regarding their safety. Although the Food and Drug Administration has permitted acesulfame K for use as general purpose sweetening agent (expect stevia that is used as a dietary supplement), some critics say that this compound should be studied properly as it may prove carcinogenic.
Submitted on February 24, 2009