Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is 180-200 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose). Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter and was approved by the FDA as a food additive in 1983 for use in diet sodas. Aspartame is found in a wide variety of low-calorie foods. Aspartame can be used as a low calorie alternative to table sugar. Because aspartame is nearly 200 times sweeter than sugar, very little is needed to sweeten foods.