Sugar: Now Much Sweeter Than You

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ST. LOUIS: If it were any sweeter, they'd sell it in vials. Chemical giant Monsanto Co. is seeking FDA approval for neotame, an artificial sweetener that is not only cheaper (and calorie-free) but 8,000 times more powerful than sugar. Aspartame, used in the company's NutraSweet product, is only 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar and does contain a trace of calories.

Monsanto's projected savings with neotame? Half a billion dollars a year, minimum. But aspartame, despite the FDA's and Monsanto's protestations, still faces doubts as to its safety. Expect neotame, 16 years in the making, to get an extremely close look.