Have You Heard Of Acesulfame K?

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A girl resisting what she is being told.

Acesulfame K is yet another chemical sweetener you should avoid.

This sweetener is yet another chemical sugar that you may not be aware of. Popular in Europe and Canada, Ace-K is now one of the top two commercial sweeteners used mostly in the sweetener blends.

So, what is Acesulfame K?

Acesulfame K (Ace-k And Sunette®)

First discovered in 1967, this manufactured sweetener is composed of:

  • Carbon
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen
  • Hydrogen
  • Sulfur
  • Potassium

This may sound nutritious, but this combination of atoms typically creates fertilizer.

Acesulfame K is commonly used in combination with aspartame or other sweeteners because it has a synergistic effect (the ability to combine easily) that enhances and sustains the “sweet taste” of foods and beverages. It seems to work better than any other chemical sugar substitute discovered so far.

Unlike most of the other manufactured sugars, ace-K is heat stable, so it can be used in baked products better than aspartame or sucralose. (There is a good reason why man-made, chemical sugars do not heat up as safely as real sugar does, but that’s a topic for another article.)

Ace-K has been used in Europe since 1983, and is a good blending counterpart for manufacturers because it appears very stable in beverages that are too harsh for other non-nutritive sweeteners, such as aspartame. As a result, Nutrinova (The European parent company of ace-K) is pushing Sunette blends to be used in all beverage products, including ‘healthy’ fruit drinks and milk-based drinks, along with colas.

After ace-K was first approved for soft drinks in 1998, Pepsi-Cola’s PepsiOne® was the first “major” brand to be launched in the United States with ace-K blended with aspartame. Ace-K received GRAS approved in July 2003.

Blending sweeteners is state-of-the-art in regions such as Europe,” says Maria Dolores Perez, Nutrinova’s global marketing manager for beverages and sweeteners, “They have been blending Sunett with other sweeteners in Germany for years. In the U.S., it’s just getting started. I think it’s just a question of time before the trend to blend will be state-of-the-art in the U.S., as well.”

So, What’s Wrong With This Chemical Sweetener?

A line of red question marks.

What are the dangers of using ace-K?

I’m sorry to keep repeating the same thing, but yet another carcinogen is used in the manufacturing of this product – methylene chloride, which even the FDA states in their Final Rule Report on acesulfame K, is a cancer-causing component.

Documented in the FDA Final Rule Report: Methylene chloride is used as a solvent in the initial step in the manufacturing process of acesulfame potassium and may be present as an impurity in the additive.”

The December 1, 1994 59 FR 61538 document states, “ … these hydrolysis products are formed under extreme conditions of temperature and/or pH:

Methylene Chloride: Methylene chloride, a carcinogenic chemical, is a potential impurity in ACK (ace-K) resulting from its use as a solvent in the initial manufacturing step of the sweetener … ”

As far as I’m concerned, the FDA recognizes the presence of a known carcinogen in acesulfame K, and knowing that, I recommend avoiding it, especially for pregnant women and children. And, what is this substance going to do when you mix it with the chlorine in sucralose and the methanol in aspartame to make a sweetener blend?

How does anyone know what this is doing to a fetus or a small child?

Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride, used commonly in manufacturing, is a dangerous poison. Below is the warning from CHEMTRC and The Emergency Response Center’s MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) concerning methylene chloride:

WARNING! Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin. Affects central nervous system, liver, cardiovascular system, and blood. Causes irritation to skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Suspect cancer hazard.

Health Rating: Severe (Cancer Causing)

Contact Rating:  Severe


Storage Color Code: Blue (Health)

Methylene chloride may cause cancer in humans. Risk of cancer depends on level and duration of exposure.


Inhalation: Causes irritation to respiratory tract. Has a strong narcotic effect with symptoms of mental confusion, light-headedness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and headache. Causes formation of carbon monoxide in blood that affects cardiovascular system and central nervous system. Continued exposure may cause increased light-headedness, staggering, unconsciousness and even death. Exposure may make the symptoms of angina (chest pains) worse.

Ingestion: May cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract with vomiting. If vomiting results in aspiration, chemical pneumonia could follow. Absorption through gastrointestinal tract may produce symptoms of central nervous system depression ranging from light-headedness to unconsciousness.

Skin Contact: Causes irritation, redness and pain. Prolonged contact can cause burns. Liquid degreases the skin. May be absorbed through skin.

Eye Contact: Vapors can cause eye irritation. Contact can produce pain, inflammation and temporal eye damage.

Chronic Exposure: Can cause headache, mental confusion, depression, liver effects, kidney effects, bronchitis, loss of appetite, nausea, lack of balance, and visual disturbances. Can cause dermatitis upon prolonged skin contact. Methylene chloride may cause cancer in humans.

Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions: Persons with pre-existing skin disorders, eye problems, impaired liver, kidney, respiratory or cardiovascular function may be more susceptible to the effects of this substance.

So now you have heard of acesulfame K. And now you can avoid it! 

About Janet Hull PhD, CN

Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN has been working with clients in the holistic health field since 1995. Using natural medicine to cure herself from a diagnosis of Graves’ disease caused by aspartame, Dr. Hull began researching the toxic causes of disease. Today, she is one of the world’s leading experts in environmental toxicology and holistic health and nutrition. Dr. Hull is the first researcher to publicly expose the dangers of aspartame. Connect with Dr. Hull on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

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