Advantame – The “New & Improved” Artificial Sweetener, Approved By FDA

Advantame – The “New & Improved” Artificial Sweetener, Approved By FDA The Open Mind July 8, 2014 News No Comments

By Deane Alban

Artificial sweeteners have always been bad news for your health. They are suspected of causing many serious health problems including memory loss, brain tumors, and Alzheimer’s.

Ironically, they aren’t making us any thinner, either!

The US Food & Drug Administration recently announced their approval of a new artificial sweetener – Advantame. Since it’s made from aspartame (a known neurotoxin and carcinogen) there is no reason to believe this latest sweetener will be any better for your health, your waistline, or your brain function.

Let’s take a look at what is known about this new “high intensity” sweetener.

Advantame “Benefits”

Advantame is the brainchild of the Ajinomoto Group. This Japanese company produces most of the world’s MSG and is also the major supplier of aspartame, both known neurotoxins.

They thought they could improve on aspartame, so by adding the artificial flavor vanillin they developed a “new and improved” version called Advantame.

Here are the reported “benefits” of Advantame:

1) It’s 20,000 times sweeter than sugar. By comparison, aspartame, sucralose and saccharin range from 200 to 700 times sweeter than table sugar. “High-intensity” (not “artificial” sweetener) is now the preferred industry term.

Data courtesy of

2) It does not break down when exposed to high heat. It has been approved for use in baked goods, soft drinks, frozen desserts, and the like – foods that have little place in a healthy diet anyway.

3) According to the manufacturer, it has a “clean, sweet taste very similar to aspartame”. As if that’s a selling point…

Study Results

According to the FDA, 37 studies, including both human and animal studies, were reviewed before the decision to put Advantame on the market was made.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reports that the number of mice that survived to the end of a key cancer study was below FDA’s own scientific recommendations.

… but the FDA has approved the additive anyway.

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

It’s too soon to have reported side effects for this sweetener. But let’s take a look at its two components — aspartame and vanillin.


Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol.

  • Aspartic acid elevates levels of aspartate and glutamate, brain neurotransmitters. Aspartate and glutamate are “excitotoxins,” meaning that in high amounts they “excite” or stimulate brain cells to death.
  • Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Ingesting aspartame can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the brain which disturbs the normal balance of an important brain chemical, serotonin.
  • Methanol is wood alcohol, the kind of alcohol that is extremely poisonous.

Currently, there are 92 categories of complaints filed against aspartame with the FDA. reports that out of 166 studies on aspartame, 100% of those funded by the manufacturer confirmed aspartame’s safety, while 92% of the independently funded studies found it was unsafe.

According to the American Cancer Society: “Claims have been made that aspartame is related to health effects ranging from mild problems such as headache, dizziness, digestive symptoms, and changes in mood, to more serious health issues such as Alzheimer disease, birth defects, diabetes, Gulf War syndrome, attention deficit disorders, Parkinson disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and seizures.”


Vanillin is a synthetic version of the natural flavor vanilla which is made from a species of orchid seed pods.

The demand for this universally loved flavor has always exceeded production so there have been many processes over the years for manufacturing fake vanilla flavor.

Currently, some vanillin is made from lignin, a byproduct of the paper and wood pulp industries. But, most vanillin is made from guaiacol, a petrochemical precursor.

Coming Soon to a Store Near You!

Besides having been approved in the US, Advantame has also been approved for general use in Australia and New Zealand. Final approvals are pending in Japan and in the European Union (EU).

Interesting it got approved here before it did in its country of origin — Japan.

Advantame is not a brand name; it’s a generic term. When it starts being used in our food supply, it almost certainly will have a brand name similar to Sweet and Low, Splenda, orEqual.

So right now I can’t tell you exactly what you’ll need to watch out for. But the best way to avoid this and all other potentially dangerous food additives is to stick with eating “real food.” And if you must eat something in a box or a package, read the label very carefully.

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The Open Mind

Staff Writer and Social Media Manager for The Open Mind. I am a seeker of knowledge, striving to expand and help others on their quests!

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