Artificial Sweeteners: 4 Main Types You Should Know About

Artificial sweeteners are low or no calorie chemically-derived sugar alternatives. They’re often grouped into two categories: nutritive sweeteners are those that do contain calories (so provide energy), whereas non-nutritive sweeteners do not contain calories. Despite the calorie differences, all sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar, meaning that the amount required is less. Curious? Read on to discover more about the different types of sweeteners and the best option for you in Artificial Sweeteners: 4 Types You Should Know About!

1. Saccharin

You’ve probably stumbled upon saccharin in restaurants, cafes or supermarket shelves under the brand name of Sweet’N Low. It is calorie free and around 200–700 times sweeter than table sugar. If you’ve ever read the food label on packaged foods, you’ll see sucralose listed in beverages and juices, though it can also be used as a direct sugar substitute.

For all sweeteners, an acceptable daily intake (ADI) is provided which aims to prevent any undesirable reactions. Luckily, it’s quite difficult to meet this ADI. For example, a person weighing 60kg would have to consume more than 45 sachets of sweetener, that’s not an easy target!

2. Aspartame

Unlike saccharin, aspartame does contain calories, albeit less than table sugar. Brand names for aspartame include NutraSweet, Equal and Sugar Twin and you’ll often find it used in chewing gum, cold breakfast cereals or as a table-top sweetener.

Additionally, it isn’t as sweet as saccharin, being only 200 times sweeter than table sugar. The ADI for aspartame is 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. To put that into context, a 60kg person would have to exceed an even greater quantity of 75 sachets of sweetener a day!

3. Sucralose

Sucralose, being 600 times sweeter than table sugar, is one of the more intense, calorie-free options available. This means you’ll require much lower quantities to reach the equivalent sweetness intensity as sugar.

It is sold under the brand name Splenda and frequently used in baked goods, beverages, chewing gum and frozen dairy desserts. Again, you probably don’t need to worry about exceeding the ADI, as long as you don’t exceed 23 sachets of sweetener per day.

4. Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K)

Acesulfame potassium is often shortened to Ace-K, but it can also appear on ingredient lists as acesulfame K or acesulfame potassium. Additionally, it often doesn’t appear as a stand-alone sweetener and is instead found combined with other sweeteners. With an ADI of 15 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, a 60kg person would only exceed the safe limit if they were consuming an excess of 23 sachets of sweetener.

The list doesn’t stop here, and internet searches into artificial sweeteners will reveal an even larger variety. It’s worth trying a few different types before you settle on one sweetener, as those with a very high sweetness intensity can have rather metallic aftertastes. Finding your preference is key. What’s your go-to sweetener? Let us know in the comments below, or on FacebookTwitter & Instagram! Feel free to check out these other sugar-centric articles!

Charlotte Ripley

Charlotte is a nutrition student at Newcastle University, aiming to pursue a career as a Nutritionist or Dietitian. She's been sporty from a young age and loves to run and go to the gym. A passion for healthy eating has organically followed this and now she's on her own vegan journey. Her other interests include reading and learning languages!

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