Sugar, or sucrose, is one of the most widely used ingredients in the foods we buy and consume. All other sweeteners basically are compared to how they stack up against sugar.
Sugar and other sweeteners like fructose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, honey, corn syrup and concentrated Sugar Alcohols, including sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and erythritol, also are considered nutritive sweeteners.
Nutritive sweeteners add energy and calories, to the diet; non-nutritive sweeteners do not add energy or calories to the diet.
The FDA has approved five non-nutritive sweeteners. Those are saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose and stevia.
There are many benefits of using non-nutritive sweeteners. They:
•Can contribute pleasurable sweet sensations without increasing energy intake.
•Do not increase the incidence of dental caries and may even prevent cavities.
•Do not affect blood sugars.
•Decrease calorie content of food.
•Can be used to replace sugar in cooking or baking.
•May aid in weight control.
The downside of using non-nutritive sweeteners includes:
•They may cause an aftertaste.
•They are not all good substitutes for sugar in cooking and baking.
•There is limited research on the safety during pregnancy.
•Sweetener or sweet taste may increase appetite.
For a copy of the fact sheet, “The Real Truth about Non-Nutritive Sweeteners,” contact the LSU AgCenter office at 337-332-2181.