Aspartame is an artificial non-saccharide sweetener 200 times sweeter than sucrose, and is commonly used as a sugar substitute in foods and beverages. It is a methyl ester of the aspartic acid/phenylalanine dipeptide with the trade names, NutraSweet, Equal, and Canderel. Aspartame was first made in 1965 and approved for use in food products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981.
Aspartame is one of the most rigorously tested food ingredients. Reviews by over 100 governmental regulatory bodies found the ingredient safe for consumption at current levels. As of 2018, several reviews of clinical trials showed that using aspartame in place of sugar reduces calorie intake and body weight in adults and children.