One of the more recent toxic additions to our food supply is the artificial sweetener called Neotame.
In the European Union, where it was approved as a flavour enhancer as of November 2010, it is known by its “E number,” E961.
Made by NutraSweet (a former division of Monsanto and the original manufacturer of aspartame), neotame is 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar, and about 30 times sweeter than aspartame.
It’s based on the aspartame formula—despite the fact that 80 percent of all FDA complaints pertain to adverse reactions from aspartame.
Neotame is essentially aspartame plus 3,3-dimethylbutyl--the presence of which ends up reducing the production of phenylalanine, which allegedly makes it safe for those suffering from phenylketonuria (PKU).
Neotame, which is based on the aspartame formula, is 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar and about 30 times sweeter than aspartame. It’s approved for use in a wide array of food products, including baked goods. However, contrary to internet rumours, neotame is not allowed in organic foods
Neotame is essentially aspartame plus 3,3-dimethylbutyl, which blocks production of phenylalanine, thereby eliminating the need for a warning on labels directed at people who cannot properly metabolize phenylalanine. 3,3-Dimethylbutyraldehyde is a highly flammable irritant, and carries risk statements for handling including irritating to skin, eyes and respiratory system
Neotame is used as a substitute for molasses in cattle feed. The product is marketed as “Sweetos” in India, and according to a press release, cattle consume more fodder when mixed with Sweetos—a statement that effectively bursts the myth that artificial sweeteners like neotame are excellent diet aids
(Hence neotame does not need to bear a PKU warning label like aspartame.)
Unfortunately, it may actually be an even more potent and dangerous neurotoxin, immunotoxin and excitotoxin than aspartame.
Proponents of neotame claim that increased toxicity is of no concern because less of it is needed to achieve the desired effect.
Still, Monsanto's own pre-approval studies of neotame revealed adverse reactions, and there were no independent studies that found neotame to be safe.
That said, my recommendation for neotame is similar to that for aspartame, which is: avoid it at all costs if you care about your health. Neotame is like aspartame on steroids, so while you want to avoid both, neotame appears to be more toxic. One way of avoiding all artificial sweeteners is to purchase foods bearing the USDA 100% Organic label. I don’t believe there’s any reason to suspect organic foods will contain neotame.
I’ve previously expounded on the many health dangers of aspartame, and all of those dangers apply equally to neotame. But as if aspartame wasn't bad enough, NutraSweet “improved" the aspartame formula by adding 3,3-dimethylbutyraldehyde, which blocks enzymes that break the peptide bond between aspartic acid and phenylalanine, thereby reducing the availability of phenylalanine. This eliminates the need for a warning on labels directed at people who cannot properly metabolize phenylalanine.
Neotame is also more stable at higher temperatures than aspartame, so it’s approved for use in a wider array of food products, including baked goods.