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Home : Food and Dining : Sweeteners

Sugar Substitutes and Sweeteners

People generally use sugar substitutes to cut down on their consumption of carbohydrates and calories, although the term sugar substitutes can refer to any sweetener that you use instead of regular table sugar (sucrose). Other commonly used terms for sugar substitutes include artificial sweeteners, alternative sweeteners, calorie-free sweeteners, sugar-free sweeteners, and non-caloric sweeteners.

For dieters and people with diabetes, non-caloric sugar substitutes are often used to sweeten foods and beverages such as iced tea or coffee, as an ingredient in diet or low-carb recipes, or as an ingredient in prepared products. There are a number of calorie-free sugar substitutes available to choose from and can be found in both liquid and non-liquid forms.

Artificial sweeteners include Acesulfame potassium or Acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One), Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet,AminoSweet, NatraTaste Blue), Neotame, Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet'N Low), Sucralose (Splenda) and Advantame. Sugar alcohols include Erythritol, Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, Isomalt, Lactitol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, and Xylitol. Novel sweeteners are combinations of various types of sweeteners. They include Stevia extracts (Better Stevia, Pure Via, Truvia, A Sweet Leaf, Steviva), Tagatose (Naturlose), and Trehalose.

Sweeteners to watch for on food labels because they contain calories and carbohydrates include: high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin, fructose, juice concentrate, sugar, glucose syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, and molasses.

Common sweeteners that are considered diabetic-friendly include: Acesulfame potassium (Acesulfame K), Aspartame, Neotame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Stevia/Rebaudioside A, Erythritol, Isomalt, Lactitol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, and Xylitol.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that provides added benefits. Xylitol is natural, lower in calories than sugar, and shown not to raise blood sugar levels or cause hyperglycemia. This is great for people living with diabetes! In addition, Xylitol has the added benefit of promoting oral health. Diabetics are at an increased risk of oral health issues, such as thrush and candidiasis (which can be fatal). Xylitol, and xylitol-containing products, may assist in the prevention and management of these health issues.

This area features articles and information relating to sugars and alternative sweeteners, as well as the relationship between sweeteners and diabetes.

Recommended Reading

What is xylitol and is it safe for diabetics? Learn how many carbs and calories xylitol has, what it is, how to use it and more.
Acesulfame potassium is used in thousands of foods, beverages, oral hygiene and pharmaceutical products in about 90 countries. Among these are tabletop sweeteners, desserts, baked goods, soft drinks, and candies.
Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener which is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose.
Non-nutrative sweeteners not yet approved in the United States as of May 2002 include Alitame, Cyclamate, and Neotame. Here is some information about these three sweeteners.
Sucralose is a non-caloric sweetener made from sugar that is also widely known as Splenda.
Saccharin has been used to sweeten foods and beverages without calories or carbohydrates for over a century and has had it's share of public ups and downs.
Polyols are sugar-free sweeteners. They are used cup-for-cup in the same amount as sugar is used, unlike other sweeteners.
Diabetes 101: Sucralose is a low-calorie sweetener made from sugar. It is about 600 times sweeter than sugar and can be used like sugar in a broad range of foods.

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