Consuming too much added sugar is not just a health issue but is also a concern for our environment. Non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs), like aspartame and neotame, may offer a solution. Although health issues around alternate sweeteners are often discussed, their environmental impacts have been less explored. This groundbreaking study looks into the environmental effects of these sweeteners, marking the first-ever analysis of neotame’s footprint.
Key findings include:
- Aspartame’s Global Warming Potential (GWP): 29.25 kgCO2-eq per kg.
- Neotame’s GWP: 43.42 kgCO2-eq per kg.
Surprisingly, when replacing sugar for sweetness, neotame’s environmental impact is only 0.4-0.7% of what sucrose (common sugar) would be, while aspartame’s impact is 10.5-18.4%. This suggests that despite the resources needed to produce neotame from aspartame, its incredibly high sweetness intensity (200 to 8000 times that of sugar) makes it a favorable choice from an environmental perspective.
However, there are challenges. Assessing the environmental impact of refined food additives isn’t straightforward. Accurate data is hard to obtain, and collaboration with and across industries is crucial. Despite these complexities, the study emphasises the potential of NNSs not just for our health, but for our planet as well.