What are low-calorie sweeteners?
Low-calorie sweeteners (also referred to as alternative sweeteners, non-nutritive sweeteners, intense sweeteners, or sugar substitutes) are used in foods and beverages instead of sugar (sucrose) to provide sweetness without adding a significant amount of calories.

Most people tend to think that all low-calorie sweeteners are artificial. But in fact, many are natural and come from a plant or fruit. There is a difference in taste when it comes to sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are single molecules and have a simple, clean sweet taste.  Sweeteners from a natural source tend to have a complex taste because they are developed from more than one component of the plant. 

Common examples of low-calorie sweeteners include:

  • Aspartame
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame Potassium (Ace K)
  • Stevia
  • Monk Fruit

Low-calorie sweeteners have been around for over 100 years. Consumers can be reassured that sweeteners have been thoroughly tested and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration for safety.  Low-calorie sweeteners are approved in many countries for use in foods and beverages.

How are Low-calorie sweeteners used?
Low-calorie sweeteners are widely used in processed foods, including baked goods, soft drinks, powdered drink mixes, candy, puddings, canned foods, jams and jellies, dairy products, and scores of other foods and beverages.

Low-calorie sweeteners are also popular for home use. Some can even be used in baking or cooking. It’s important to note that certain recipes may need modification because unlike sugar, low-calorie sweeteners don’t provide bulk or volume.  

What are the benefits of low-calorie sweeteners?
Low-calorie sweeteners provide a taste similar to that of table sugar (sucrose), but are sweeter than sugar.  Because of the high sweetening power, the main benefit of low-calorie sweeteners is that they reduce and/or eliminate the amount of sugar used in food or beverages, therefore reducing the amount of calories.  In the midst of the current obesity epidemic, food and beverage companies and consumers are looking for simple ways to reduce calories, and using low-calorie sweeteners in some products is one way to manage caloric intake.

Low-calorie sweeteners also provide people with diabetes the opportunity to enjoy foods and beverages without sacrificing taste. Unlike sugar, low-calorie sweeteners are not carbohydrates and generally don't raise blood sugar levels. Low-calorie sweeteners also allow people to indulge their sweet tooth while avoiding cavities.

Source:

  • IFT Member, Ihab Bishay, PhD, Senior Director, Business Development/Application Innovation at Ajinomoto North America, Inc.

More Food Facts

What is CRISPR

CRISPR is a defining feature of the bacterial genetic code and its immune system, functioning as a defense system that bacteria use to protect themselves against attacks from viruses. The acronym “CRISPR” stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering, and “GMOs:” Why all the Controversy?

Biotechnology, and the newer methods of genetic modification—genetic engineering and recombinant (r) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques and technologies can be very useful in pursuing important improvements in food production and the food supply and doing so much more readily and effectively than previously possible.

The Potential of Blockchain Technology Application in the Food System

The popularity of Bitcoin and other blockchain technologies reached new heights in 2017. Bitcoin is the most prominent in a new type of currency, called cryptocurrency, where transactions are made without an established intermediary (i.e. banks).

More from IFT right arrow

Seeking a Sustainable Supply Chain

With customer demand for transparent and responsibly produced products gaining momentum, food and beverage companies are asking how they can operate in more sustainable ways. They’re taking a closer look at their environmental impact—and turning to their suppliers for solutions.

Unlocking the Genomics of Lactic Acid Bacteria

Leading food science researchers discuss advances in lactic acid bacteria, probiotics, fermentation, and CRISPR genome editing that have transformed the fermented foods industry.

Poring Over the Health Benefits of Coffee

Based on recent research, breakfast’s no. 1 sidekick—a cup of coffee—may well be the most important drink of the day.

Research Shines Light on Crop Photosynthesis

As part of the RIPE (Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency) project, a group of international scientists has determined that it’s possible to quickly and efficiently measure the impact of genetically engineered improvements using a process called spectral analysis.

IFTNEXT

Can cheese prevent blood vessel damage?

A small study from researchers at Pennsylvania State University and two other universities suggests that the antioxidants in cheese may offset the damage caused to blood vessels by sodium consumption.

Newly discovered Listeria strain may present new food safety threat

International researchers led by the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) in Germany have discovered a highly virulent strain of Listeria monocytogenes that may present a new food safety threat.

Low FODMAP diet may reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease

Researchers from the UK and France have found that a diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) improved some gut symptoms and improved health-related quality of life for sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).