Sweeteners are a discovery in order to substitute sugar contained in food, because of the increased incidence of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and obesity. Which are the most common sweeteners, what is the recommended daily dosage and how can we distinguish natural from artificial sweeteners?

Sweeteners are a very wide range of both natural and artificial sugar substitutes used in food preparation. They have very high sweetness and contain zero or very few calories. Fructose, xylitol (E 967), sorbitol (E 420), mannitol (E 421), agave syrup and stevia (E960) are defined as natural sweeteners. Similarly, artificial sweeteners are saccharin, cyclamic acid (E 952), acesulfame-K (E 950), aspartame (E 951), aspartame-acesulfame salt, neotame (E 961), cyclamic acid, sucralose (E 955) and neoesparedine DC (E959). Depending on their chemical structure, natural sweeteners can be characterized as sweetening alcohols or not. The letter E indicates a way to symbolize the sweetener compound in the food industry as a shortcut.

Benefits of Sweeteners

The main benefits of sweeteners are:

  • Reduced or zero calories
  • Increased sweetness
  • Gradual or no increase of blood glucose
  • They do not destroy teeth
  • They act as food sweller

Safety

All sweeteners which are used in the food industry through extensive research, have been characterized safe for use, as long as the daily recommended dose (ADI) is not exceeded, according to World Health Organization (WHO), EFSA and FDA, respectively.

Sweeteners

Among the most commonly used sweeteners in food industry and dietary supplements are:

Stevia

It derives from the plant stevia and is 200-400 more sweet than sugar. It does not have calories and the acceptable recommended daily dose is 4mg/kg.

Saccharin

It is the first sweetener to be invented and does not have calories. It is 300-500 times smore sweet than sugar and the recommended daily dose is 5mg/kg.

Sucralose

It does not have any calories, because it is not metabolized by the body. It is widely used in the production of pastries. It has up to 600 times greater sweetness than sugar and the recommended daily dose is 15mg/kg.

Acesulfame K

It has 200 times more sweet taste than sugar and the recommended daily dose is 15mg/kg.

Aspartame

Common sweetener that is 180 times sweeter than sugar. It is relatively sensitive to high temperatures and is metabolized into phenylalanine. It is widely used in soft drinks and snacks (chewing gum, jelly etc.). It is contraindicated by people suffering from phenylketonuria.

Neotame

Derivative of aspartame. It has 8000 times more sweet taste than sugar. It has the advantage of not being metabolized to phenylalanine and the acceptable recommended daily dose is 2mg/kg. Suitable for people suffering from phenylketonuria.

Side effects

Consumption of sweeteners is absolutely safe, as long as it is limited to the daily recommended intake. Large consumption can cause diarrhea or flatulence.

In Vita4you you can find a wide variety of sweeteners.