Aspartame One of the most common artificial sweeteners is aspartame, also seen as Equal or Nutrasweet. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar and lower in calories. It is composed of the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylananine, which are building blocks of proteins. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the acceptable daily intake of 50 mg/kg of body weight/day. The European Food Safety Authority recommends only 40 mg/kg. There is much controversy on whether aspartame causes cancer. Expert agencies in the United States declare aspartame as safe to consume. A few studies have given rats aspartame with leukemia and lymphomas occurring in rats. However, many studies in the lab and by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) examined the effects of aspartame and saw no signs of aspartame as a carcinogen, or causing cancer. Health problems can still occur with the consumption of aspartame. People with phenylketonuria (PKU) should not eat foods with aspartame because phenylalanine is a component of aspartame and they cannot break down that specific amino acid. If it does, levels of phenylalanine can build up in the blood, preventing necessary chemicals to reach the brain. "Aspartame." American Cancer Society :: Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Prostate, Lung and Other Forms. 17 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 May 2011. <http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/AtHome/aspartame>.