Posted by: angel | 2004/01/09

what is phenylalanine

Could some one please inform me what exactly phenylalanine is and whether it is harmful at all?
I see on the back of my coke light can it states that the sweetner contains phenylalanine and i was just curious.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Angel
Phenylalanine is one of the essential amino acids that occurs in proteins. Most people can ingest this amino acid without problems, but there is a small number of individuals who suffer from a hereditary condition called phenylketonuria - they lack an enzyme which is required to metabolise phenylalanine. If they should consume a food which contains this amino acid they can get very ill, which is why all foods which would not normally contain proteins (which the phenylketonurics know to avoid anyway), must carry a warning on their labels if they happened to contain phenylalanine. The phenylalanine in your lite coke is derived from the sweetener which is used, usually Aspartame.
Best regards

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