Bill, I have seen MRPs and protein powders contain “aspartame and acesulfame-K free” on their labels. I want to avoid aspartame, but I don’t know what acesulfame-K is and whether or not it is something I should avoid. Can you educate me?

It’s another artificial sweetener, on which
there’s been quite a lot of research for
safety, and for which the Acceptable Daily
Intake for man has been set according
to levels found safe for animals and then
with an additional extremely large safety
factor. However, the same is true for
aspartame, so if your reason for avoiding
aspartame is a belief that it causes brain
tumors or something like that, it would
be equally reasonable to avoid acesulfame
as well.

However, if your reason is that you’re
convinced by personal observation on yourself
(most if not all such cases are really just
chance or placebo effect I expect) that
aspartame gives you problems, then maybe
you’d like to try acesulfame. However, acesulfame is usually used in combination
with aspartame, since they work synergistically together.

One point regarding acesulfame that’s valid
is that it increases insulin release. Whether
that’s good, bad, or indifferent I suppose
depends on the case. Aspartame in contrast
does not do that. (At least not in rats.)