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Understanding artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes

Views: 122     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-11-08      Origin: Site


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If you're trying to reduce the sugar and calories in your diet, you may be turning to artificial sweeteners or other sugar substitutes. You are not alone.

Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are found in a variety of foods and beverages that are sold as 'sugar-free' or 'diet', including soft drinks and baked goods. What exactly are these sweeteners? What is their role in your diet?

Understanding artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes

Sugar substitutes are sweeteners that you use to replace regular table sugar (sucrose). Artificial sweeteners are just one type of sugar substitute.

The topic of sugar substitutes can be confusing. One problem is that the terminology is often open to interpretation.

Some manufacturers call their sweeteners "natural", even though they are processed or refined. Stevia preparations are an example. And some artificial sweeteners are derived from naturally occurring substances - sucralose comes from sugar.

Natural sweeteners

Natural sweeteners are alternatives to sugar and are often promoted as a healthier option than sugar or other sugar substitutes. However, even these 'natural sweeteners' are often processed and refined.

Natural sweeteners recognised by the US Food and Drug Administration as generally safe include.

Fruit juices and nectars



Maple syrup

Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes. However, they may come from naturally occurring substances such as herbs or sugar itself. Artificial sweeteners are also known as intense sweeteners because they are many times sweeter than sugar.

Artificial sweeteners can be attractive alternatives to sugar because they add little to no calories to your diet. Also, you only need a small amount of artificial sweeteners compared to the amount of sugar you normally use to sweeten your diet.

artificial sweetener

Uses of artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are used in a wide range of processed foods, including.

Soft drinks, powdered drink mixes and other beverages

Baked goods



Canned foods

Jams and jellies

Dairy products

Artificial sweeteners are also popular for home use. Some can even be used for baking or cooking.

Some recipes may need to be modified because, unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners do not provide volume or bulk. Check the labels of artificial sweeteners to see if they are suitable for home use.

Some artificial sweeteners may leave an aftertaste. Different artificial sweeteners or combinations may be more appealing.

Possible health benefits of artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners do not cause tooth decay or dental caries. Artificial sweeteners may also help.

Weight control. Artificial sweeteners have almost no calories. In comparison, a teaspoon of sugar has about 16 calories, so a can of sweetened cola with 10 teaspoons of sugar added has about 160 calories. If you want to lose weight or prevent weight gain, products using artificial sweeteners may be an attractive option, although their effect on long-term weight loss is not known.

Diabetes. Artificial sweeteners are not carbohydrates. Therefore unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners do not generally raise blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic, ask your doctor or dietitian before using any sugar substitute.

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