Category Archives: Product Reviews

On the hunt for aspartame-free gum

aspartame gum, sugar-free gum

Growing up on the low-protein PKU diet, I was well aware to stay clear of chewing gum that contained aspartame (also marketed under brand names AminoSweet ®, Equal®, NutraSweet® and NatraTaste®). I had a ‘safe list,’ if you will, of all the brands I could choose from, but after searching through all my familiar fav’s on a recent visit to the grocery store, it appears that nowadays you cannot find a single pack of gum that doesn’t contain aspartame.

Discovered in 1965 and later approved as a food additive by the FDA in 1981, aspartame is used in chewing gum to provide a long-lasting sweet sensation since other ingredients such as sugar, dextrose, and corn syrup dissolve soon after chewing begins. Chemically, aspartame is comprised of a small amount of methanol and the two amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine – the last of which we know is very harmful to PKU patients.

According to, aspartame is currently found in more than 6,000 products worldwide including soft drinks, confections, gelatins, dessert mixes, puddings and fillings, frozen desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, and some pharmaceuticals such as vitamins and sugar-free cough drops. That’s a lot of products for PKU patients to be wary of!

Thankfully, with the growing popularity of all-natural products, there’s a new selection of chewing gums hitting the market featuring xylitol, an all-natural sugar alcohol. Also, since xylitol is an anti-microbial, it helps prevent tooth decay and provide a quick breath-freshener, especially after just chugging a serving of PKU formula.

Here’s a look at some of the aspartame-free gum currently on the market. Since they’re still rather new, finding these in common grocery and drug stores is difficult, but I’ve been able to buy some online, specifically through Amazon. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to find these products at specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Jungle Jim’s or Earth Fare.

aspartame-free gum, PKU-friendly gum

Click to enlarge image.

  • Pür Gum
  • XyloBurst Xylitol Gum
  • Epic Xylitol Gum
  • Peppersmith Chewing Gum
  • Sugar-Free Glee Gum

If you’ve tried any of these aspartame-free gum products – or have others to add to the list – just let me know in the comments section below.



Filed under Lo-pro Diet Management, Product Reviews

Cambrooke’s RESTORE Brings Convenience to the PKU Diet

Cambrooke Foods, RESTORE, PKU, PKU formulaTo the untrained eye, this photo may seem like a magazine advertisement for Gatorade, but look a little closer and you’ll see that the innovative food scientists at Cambrooke Foods have out-done themselves again!

Their new product is called RESTORE and according to the medical foods company, it is the “first ever thirst-quenching metabolic formula specifically developed for patients with PKU.”

Sports drinks like Gatorade are not restricted for PKU patients (unless they contain nutrasweet or aspartame), but what makes this new product unique is its dual functionality: part super-charged formula, packed with 10 grams of PKU-friendly protein, and part hydration beverage that contains critical electrolytes commonly lost during prolonged exercise.

I requested a free sample from Cambrooke and tried the new product for myself. The lemon-lime flavor wasn’t too tart or harsh and the serving size was relatively large enough (16.9 fl oz) to quench your thirst after some pretty intense cardio.

Contrary to what has been said on the PKU ListServ, I did not experience any grittiness in my sample. Since I knew that the product’s instructions required you to shake before drinking, I continued to shake the beverage while I was drinking it, especially if I put the lid back on and walked away from it for a moment.

Despite any negative reviews the product has received, I believe PKU patients will really enjoy Cambrooke’s RESTORE and the convenience it brings to the low-protein diet. The sports drink does not require pre-measured water, blender bottles or any post-consumption dish washing activities. Just grab, shake, drink and toss—perfect for those individuals at the office, heading home from the gym, or even great for kids who don’t like to pack formula in their school lunch.

In the future, Cambrooke plans to release additional flavors of RESTORE. If you’d like more information about the product or would like to know how to request your own sample, visit Cambrooke’s website.

I give the product an A+ and will certainly be talking with my clinic about how to go about getting a supply.



Filed under Formula, Product Reviews