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August 19, 1983

FDA approves Aspartame as soft-drink sweetener

JAMA. 1983;250(7):872-873. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340070004002

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Aspartame (NutraSweet), an artificial sweetener discovered when a chemist licked his fingers, now can be used in soft drinks in this country.

The Food and Drug Administration announced the approval in July. It follows the 1981 FDA approval of aspartame "as a free-flowing sugar substitute for dining table use; as a tablet for hot beverages and for use in cold cereals; as a dry base sweetener for powdered beverages, instant coffee and tea, gelatins, puddings, fillings, and dessert toppings; and as a flavoring agent in chewing gum."

The FDA said its evaluation of this new use "included reviewing recent animal and limited human studies" by Richard J. Wurtman, MD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge. Wurtman, who is professor of neuroendocrinology in MIT's Department of Nutrition, says additional studies are needed to determine if brain neurotransmitters may be affected when aspartame is consumed in a carbonated beverage at the same