Schermbeck, Rebecca M. School of Public Health, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Artificial sweeteners, published March 2018:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Artificial sweeteners, published June 2015:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Approved artificial sweeteners
- Health benefits and concerns
- Consumption patterns in the United States
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Substitutes for sugar (sucrose) in foods and beverages that provide intense sweetness with few to no calories. Artificial sweeteners are sometimes called low-calorie sweeteners, high-intensity sweeteners, noncaloric sweeteners, non-nutritive sweeteners, or intense sweeteners (see illustration). Artificial sweeteners can be used in combination with sugar or can completely replace sugar in food and beverage products. Sugar contains roughly 4 calories per gram, that is, about 16 calories per teaspoon. The average 355-ml (12-oz) soft drink contains about 140 calories from sugar, while the same-size soft drink with an artificial sweetener may contain less than 5 calories. Artificial sweeteners can be 150–20,000 times sweeter than sugar, thus requiring only small amounts of the sugar substitute to achieve the same level of sweetness in a food or beverage. If an artificial sweetener does contain calories, so little of the artificial sweetener is used that the calorie contribution to the person’s diet is almost zero. See also: Food; Food manufacturing; Sugars (sweeteners); Taste
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