Aspartame is an artificial sweetener discovered in 1965 by a chemist named James Schlatter. At the time he was investigating new treatments for gastric ulcers and during his labwork he got some of this compound on his hand and licked it. Noticing its sweet taste and also importantly its lack of any bitter aftertaste. Aspartame’s potential was realised and its production is now a big industry.


It is commonly used in diet soft drinks as a substitute for real sugar. Approximately 6000 foods and beverages worldwide use aspartame as an ingredient. Examples are fizzy drinks, chewing gum, squashes, yoghurts and table top sweeteners.


A molecule of aspartame (taken from



Its chemical name is aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester. It has a chemical and empirical formula of C14H18N2O5 and a molecular mass of 294g


Diet Coke is just one of the many products that contains aspartame