Skip to Content

What is Neotame? Understanding the Artificial Sweetener

Neotame is a non-caloric artificial sweetener derived from aspartame, and is known by the trade name Newtame. It is widely used in the food and beverage industry as a sugar substitute due to its remarkable properties, such as being approximately 6,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose and maintaining heat stability. Moreover, neotame has a zero glycemic index, making it an attractive choice for people with specific dietary requirements and those aiming to reduce sugar consumption.

It is important to note that neotame has been approved for use by major regulatory bodies, including the FDA and the European Union. The approval process involves rigorous assessments of the safety and quality of this artificial sweetener, ensuring that consumers can enjoy it without worrying about adverse health effects. Furthermore, neotame does not cause any significant off-flavors when compared to sugar, allowing food manufacturers to maintain the desired taste profile of their products.

Key Takeaways

  • Neotame is a highly potent, non-caloric artificial sweetener derived from aspartame
  • Approved for use by the FDA and European Union, it is considered safe for consumption
  • Its properties make it suitable for various applications in the food and beverage industry

Neotame Properties

Neotame is a non-caloric artificial sweetener derived from aspartame and is commonly used as a sugar replacement in food and drink products. In this section, we will discuss its properties, including sweetness intensity, taste, and its role as a flavor enhancer.

Sweetness Intensity

Neotame exhibits a high level of sweetness. It is 8000 times sweeter than sucrose, making it an attractive option for food manufacturers as they need to use significantly less of it when compared to traditional sweeteners like sugar or high fructose corn syrup. The result is a reduction in caloric content without compromising sweetness.


One of the advantages of neotame is that it has no notable off-flavors when compared to sucrose. This allows it to effectively mimic the sweet taste of sugar without imparting unwanted flavors or aftertastes. Its ability to provide a natural and unaltered sweet taste makes it highly desirable as a sweetener in various products.

Flavor Enhancer

In addition to its intense sweetness, neotame also possesses the capacity to enhance the original flavors of food. By boosting the existing flavors in a product, it not only contributes to the overall sweetness but also improves the taste experience for consumers. This dual functionality makes neotame a versatile and valuable ingredient in the food industry.

Neotame Sourcing and Production

Neotame is a non-caloric artificial sweetener and an aspartame derivative. It is commonly used as a sugar substitute in food and drinks due to its remarkably high sweetness, heat stability, zero glycemic index, and its safety for those with Phenylketonuria (PKU). In terms of sweetness, neotame is 6,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose and 30-60 times sweeter than aspartame.

To produce neotame, two amino acids – aspartic acid and phenylalanine – are combined, creating a dipeptide compound. This compound is then N-alkylated using 3-dimethylbutyl, which results in neotame’s distinct level of sweetness and its structure as an aspartame analog.

One of the key differences between neotame and aspartame is the addition of the 3-dimethylbutyl group. This modification prevents the breakdown of neotame into methanol and phenylalanine, making it a safer alternative to aspartame for those with PKU, who must avoid excessive intake of phenylalanine.

In conclusion, the production of neotame involves the synthesis of aspartic acid and phenylalanine into a dipeptide compound, followed by N-alkylation using 3-dimethylbutyl. This process yields a sweetener that is significantly sweeter than both sucrose and aspartame while remaining safe for those with PKU.

Health and Safety

ADI and Regulatory Approval

Neotame is an artificial sweetener approved by the FDA for general use in food. The safety of neotame has also been evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). These regulatory agencies have assigned an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for neotame, which is the amount considered safe to consume each day without any adverse effects. The ADI for neotame is 2 mg/kg body weight per day.

Phenylketonuria and Neotame

Unlike aspartame, neotame is safe for individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU). PKU is a genetic disorder that results in the body’s inability to break down phenylalanine, an amino acid present in aspartame. Neotame undergoes a different metabolic pathway that does not produce phenylalanine, making it a suitable sweetener for people with this condition.

Possible Side Effects

While neotame has generally been considered safe for consumption, it shares some chemical similarities with aspartame, which has been associated with certain side effects and toxic properties, such as the production of formaldehyde. However, more research and data are needed to determine the long-term effects of neotame on the human body. It is important to monitor and moderate consumption of artificial sweeteners, especially among sensitive populations like pregnant women.

Although neotame has no calories and may aid in managing body weight when substituted for sugar, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet and not rely solely on artificial sweeteners as a means of reducing calorie intake.

Applications in Food and Beverages

Neotame (E961) is a high-potency artificial sweetener derived from the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine. It is approximately 6,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) and presents several advantages, including being a no-calorie sweetener, having a zero glycemic index, and being safe for individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU). Since neotame is heat stable, it can be used in various food and beverage applications.

Comparison to Other Sweeteners

Compared to other high-intensity sweeteners, such as sucralose, saccharin, and NutraSweet, neotame offers certain benefits. Not only is it much sweeter than these alternatives, but it also does not impact blood sugar levels, making it suitable for diabetics who need to closely monitor their insulin and blood sugar levels. Furthermore, neotame’s stability under various conditions allows it to maintain its sweetness and flavor enhancement properties in different applications.

Neotame is commonly used in a variety of food and beverage products. These include:

  • Carbonated soft drinks and water: Neotame can be used as an optimal sugar replacement in carbonated beverages, providing sweetness without the added calories.

  • Coffee and tea beverages: In hot and cold beverages alike, neotame serves as a suitable sugar replacement, offering sweetness without affecting the taste.

  • Chewing gums and candies: Neotame is used to maintain sweetness in gums and confections, while helping to reduce sugar content.

  • Baked goods and cakes: Thanks to its heat stability, neotame can be incorporated into baked products without breaking down or losing its sweetening properties during the baking process.

  • Frozen desserts and yogurts: Neotame can be used to lower sugar content in frozen treats, as well as in dairy products like yogurt, without compromising taste.

  • Toppings, gelatins, puddings, jams, and jellies: Neotame’s versatility allows it to be used in various sweet applications, providing sweetness without the need for table sugar.

Overall, neotame serves as a useful sugar alternative in many food and beverage applications. Its high-intensity sweetness and heat stability make it a popular choice for manufacturers looking to reduce sugar content and create healthier options for consumers. Although long-term effects and possible health concerns regarding neotame are still being studied, it is currently FDA-approved as a safe food additive.

Quality and Stability

Neotame is a high-quality artificial sweetener known for its intense sweetness and lack of notable off-flavors when compared to sucrose. It is a derivative of aspartame, but with improved stability and potency, being 7000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar and with no calories. This makes it a popular choice for use in various food and drink applications.

In terms of stability, neotame demonstrates an advantage over other artificial sweeteners due to its heat resistance. It maintains its sweetness even when exposed to high temperatures, making it suitable for use in baking and cooking. Additionally, neotame has a pH range between 5.0 and 7.0 in a 0.5% aqueous solution, which further contributes to its stability in various food and beverage environments.

Neotame’s characteristics also extend to its metabolism. Unlike aspartame, it is safe for people with phenylketonuria (PKU). PKU patients must avoid aspartame since it is metabolized into phenylalanine, which they cannot properly process. Neotame, however, does not present this issue, allowing it to cater to a wider range of consumers.

As a non-caloric sweetener, neotame does not contribute to weight gain or blood sugar fluctuations, thereby presenting a suitable alternative for diabetics and those looking to control their caloric intake. This feature, coupled with its zero glycemic index, makes it a versatile option for various dietary needs.

With respect to safety concerns, neotame has undergone extensive evaluation, and no evidence has been found to indicate that it is carcinogenic or poses any substantial risks associated with carcinogens. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved neotame as a safe food additive, supporting its use in various food applications.

In summary, neotame is a high-quality artificial sweetener with impressive stability across various food and beverage applications. Its intense sweetness, non-caloric nature, and compatibility with special dietary needs make it a popular choice for use in an array of products. The safety evaluations and FDA approval support its use, providing confidence in this sweetener’s suitability for consumption.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is neotame produced?

Neotame is an artificial sweetener derived from aspartame. It is created through a chemical process involving the modification of the aspartame molecule, specifically by adding a 3,3-dimethylbutyl group to the peptide. This results in a sweetener that is significantly sweeter and more stable than aspartame.

What are the caloric differences between neotame and sugar?

Neotame is a non-caloric sweetener, meaning it contributes no calories to food products. In contrast, sucrose (table sugar) contains 4 calories per gram. Since neotame is approximately 8,000 times sweeter than sucrose, only a tiny amount is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness, which ultimately leads to its non-caloric nature.

Which products contain neotame?

Neotame is commonly used in a variety of low-calorie or reduced-sugar food and drink products to provide sweetness without adding calories. Examples of products containing neotame include chewing gum, soft drinks, beverages, tabletop sweeteners, bakery goods, and dietary products.

How does neotame compare to other artificial sweeteners like sucralose?

Neotame is significantly sweeter than other artificial sweeteners such as sucralose. While sucralose is approximately 600 times sweeter than sugar, neotame’s sweetness is about 6,000 to 8,000 times that of sucrose. Additionally, neotame has a taste similar to sugar and lacks bitter or metallic aftertaste, making it an appealing option for replacing sugar in various food and beverage applications.

What are the health benefits of neotame?

The main health benefit of neotame is that it provides sweetness without calories, allowing individuals to enjoy sweet-tasting foods and beverages without the caloric impact of sugar. This can support weight management efforts and help individuals with diabetes maintain better blood sugar control.

Are there any potential risks associated with neotame consumption?

Neotame has undergone extensive testing and is considered a safe alternative to sugar by regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, as with any food ingredient or artificial sweetener, it is essential to consume neotame in moderation and follow the recommended daily intake guidelines.