Artificial Sweeteners: What the heck is Acesulfame Potassium?

In our ongoing coverage of sweeteners, you may recall that some artificial food sweeteners can be up to 200 times sweeter than natural sugar (imagine the non-sugar sugar rush!). One such incredibly saccharine-flavored sweetener is acesulfame potassium, also known as acesulfame K, Ace K or sold under the brand name Sunett, according to WebMD. The FDA has approved the sale of this artificial sweetening agent in dosages of up to 15 mg/kg per body weight per day, WebMD says. Ace K is used to either preserve or increase the sweetness factor of various foods found on your table and in the grocery store.

According to Caloriecontrol.org, Ace K has a sweet taste that does not linger in the mouth for too long. Unlike other sweeteners, it does not produce an “off-taste” or anything else deemed unpleasant by those who consume it.  The National Institutes of Health cites some research that shows a correlation between an increased intake of Ace K and increased cancer risk, but the website says those conclusions are preliminary and more research needs yet to be undertaken. According to the NIH, the single greatest use of Ace K and other artificial sweeteners is in the beverage industry. As we’ve discussed here recently, some products containing artificial sweeteners can be safe if consumed in moderation, but the trouble comes when too much of any food is overconsumed, which can lead to all manner of health and weight problems.


Because Ace K has no sugar content, Caloriecontrol maintains that studies show that it has no effect on the body’s blood sugar content. The cited study also found that consuming Ace K did not affect adversely the body’s insulin levels, which is also good news for those who suffer from diabetes or who may be pre-diabetic. The study also showed the sweeteners had no effect at all on the rate at which the stomach empties its contents. However, WebMD says that Ace K contains methylene chloride, a known carcinogen that can be harmful to the body and may cause headaches, depression, nausea and liver problems, especially if consumed in hearty quantities. However, more research needs yet to be done to determine a positive correlation.


Moderation is the spice of everything, including in health and nutrition—which indeed have an inverse relationship. Cutting back on sugar is a great goal, and sweeteners like Ace K offer a great way for you to continue to get a sweet taste out of your food without the attendant calories and pre-diabetic problems that accompany sugar ingestion. To reiterate, just because it doesn’t have sugar doesn’t mean you can pig out on foods that have Ace K; as with any other food, the more you eat, the more calories you consume, and the more your belly will try to get to know your toes better.

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