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What Is Acesulfame Potassium?

By Amber Canaan

Acesulfame potassium is an artificial sweetener used in place of sugar in foods, beverages, candy and chewing gum. It is approved by the FDA and is reported to be safe. Acesulfame potassium is widely used in diet products to provide sweetness without calories.

Description and Sweetness

Acesulfame potassium, or acesulfame K, is approximately 200 times sweeter than ordinary sugar. This ingredient is often combined with other artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, to provider a sweeter product than if used alone. Acesulfame K is actually a type of potassium salt. When used as a sweetener, it does not add calories because it is not absorbed into the body; it is eliminated from the body completely unchanged. It maintains its stability at high temperatures and dissolves easily.


According to The Coca Cola Company, acesulfame K was discovered in 1967. It was first approved by the FDA in 1988. Despite its approval, it wasn’t used to sweeten sodas until 1998. In 2003 it was approved as a general purpose sweetener in the United States. Acesulfame K has a longer history in other parts of the world; Europe began using it in 1983. It is currently used in products in 90 countries around the world.

Brand Names

Acesulfame K is marketed primarily under the brand name Sunette. It may also be found under the names Sweet One and Swiss Sweet, particularly in other countries. Acesulfame K may be found in other non-food items as well, including toothpaste and medications.


There is an ongoing debate about whether artificial sweeteners are safe when ingested into the human body. The FDA, the World Health Organization and other organizations across the globe have researched the safety of acesulfame K and concluded that it is safe for consumption. This includes consumption by children, pregnant and breastfeeding women. The National Institute of Health reported no increased risk of cancer when the ingredient was tested on mice.


As with anything, acesulfame K should be ingested in moderation. The acceptable daily intake for this sweetener is 15 mg per kg. Diet sodas usually contain 40 mg of acesulfame K. An individual weighing 125 pounds could drink 20 sodas each day and still be within the accepted daily intake for this ingredient.


It is possible to experience sensitivity to acesulfame K and other artificial sweeteners. Since acesulfame K is so often included with other sweeteners, it is often difficult to determine which one is causing a reaction. If you experience headaches, sensitivity to light, digestive disturbances or any other physical ailments, contact your doctor for diagnosis.

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