Of all of the low- and no-calorie sweeteners, aspartame has a sweetness that most closely replicates the taste of table sugar. Because aspartame is made up of two naturally occurring amino acids, which yield 4 calories per gram, aspartame is technically a caloric sweetener. However, because it is also about 200 times sweeter than sugar, 190 milligrams (~1 calorie) of aspartame has the same sweetening power as about 40 grams (160 calories) of sugar.
Consumer safety concerns regarding aspartame often stem from a misunderstanding of its metabolism, and animal studies that have been misinterpreted to infer that aspartame could increase hunger and food intake. However, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and an independent international expert review panel have confirmed that aspartame does not cause cancer, seizures or other health problems, and an evidence-based research review by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics confirms aspartame does not increase in appetite or food intake. Aspartame is permitted for use in more than 100 countries worldwide. It is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients in the world. Aspartame is found in table top sweeteners like Equal®.