Sweeteners are used in almost everything we consume – from coffee to food to dressings and sauces to chewing gum. You name it, it probably has some type of sweetener.
There are two types of sweeteners: nutritive and non-nutritive. Nutritive sweeteners (i.e. fructose, sucrose, and sugar alcohols) are absorbed by the body and provide energy. Non-nutritive sweeteners are not absorbed by the body and therefore do not provide energy. The most popular non-nutritive sweeteners are saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose.
My clients often ask me which sweeteners are best. I always recommend choosing on taste, as the dietary differences are minute.
- Commonly known as: Sweet N Low, Sweet Twin, Necta Sweet
- Approved by the FDA as a beverage sweetener
- Approved by the FDA as a tabletop sweetener (with specific maximum allowable amounts)
- 200 – 700 times sweeter than sucrose
- Noncarcinogenic and produces no glycemic response
- In 1977 the FDA banned saccharin because it was considered carcinogenic in rats. In the year 2000 it was removed from the list of potential carcinogens.
- Commonly known as: Equal, NutraSweet, Sugar Twin (blue box)
- Approved by the FDA as a general purpose sweetener
- 160 – 220 times sweeter than sucrose
- Noncarcinogenic and produces limited glycemic response
- not heat-stable
- A 130 lb person can consume 2950 mg/day
- Each packet has 35-40 mg, 12 oz diet soda has 225 mg, 8 oz yogurt has 80 mg, 8 oz drink made from powder has 100 mg, and ¾ sweetened cereal has up to 32 mg.
- Commonly known as: Splenda
- Approved by the FDA in 1998 as a general purpose sweetener
- 600 times sweeter than sucrose
- noncarcinogenic and produces no glycemic response
- Made from sugar, but not absorbed by the body