Artificial Sweeteners

Five artificial sweeteners – acesulfame-K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose – are approved for use in the U.S.

Artificial sweeteners are used in one of two ways. They may be used directly in commercially processed foods, or they are mixed with one or more starch-based sweeteners before sale to consumers. Artificial sweeteners are so intensely sweet that dextrose or maltodextrin, or both, must be added to dilute their intense sweetness in order to imitate the sweetness of a sugar. Artificial sweeteners can not be sold directly to consumers since only infinitesimally small amounts are required to mimic sugar’s sweet taste.

The dextrose or maltodextrin carriers add calories to the brands of artificial sweeteners sold to consumers. Food and Drug Administration regulations permit any food product that has 5 or fewer calories per serving to be labeled as containing “0” calories. Additionally, diabetics must count these starch-based sweeteners as part of their carbohydrate limits since insulin is required for their metabolism.

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