What are Artificial Sweeteners?
Sugar substitutes are loosely considered any sweetener that you use instead of regular table sugar (sucrose). Artificial sweeteners are just one type of sugar substitute.
The chart lists some popular sugar substitutes and how they’re commonly categorized. And some artificial sweeteners are derived from naturally occurring substances — sucralose comes from sugar, for example.
Also Read: What is Brown Sugar? – Its Uses, Functions, Advantages, Side Effects, Commercial Production
List of Artificial Sweeteners – Sugar Substitutes
|Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One)
||Stevia extracts (Pure Via, Truvia)
|Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)
||Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate
||Fruit juice concentrate
|Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet’N Low)
Functions of Artificial Sweeteners
An important part of these substitutes are high-intensity sweeteners. This category contains many functional properties and benefits in food applications.
1) Can be used at just a fraction of a percent compared to sugar (sucrose). This means less is needed to mimic the taste of real granulated sugar.
2) They are non-caloric and therefore help people reduce their caloric intake which helps weight management.
3) Diabetes sufferers are able to enjoy the sweetness of sugar without the risk of raising blood glucose levels.
4) Artificial sweeteners do not contribute to bacteria growth in the mouth that leads to tooth decay.
Since artificial sweeteners are considered a food additive, the FDA has specific regulations regarding its usage. (Bakerpedia)
Also Read: Agave Bakery Ingredient -Functions, Advantages, Disadvantages – Works as Sugar Replacer in Food Products
Types/Variations of Artificial Sweeteners
- Saccharine (300-500 times sweeter than sugar);
- Aspartame (200 times sweeter than sugar);
- Sucralose (600 times sweeter than sugar and is heat stable);
- Acesulfame potassium, or Ace-K (200 times sweeter than sugar and is heat stable)
Uses for artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are attractive alternatives to sugar because they add virtually no calories to your diet. In addition, you need only a fraction compared with the amount of sugar you would normally use for sweetness.
Also Read: What are Reducing Sugars & their Use in Bakery Products?
Artificial sweeteners are widely used in processed foods, including baked goods, soft drinks, powdered drink mixes, candy, puddings, canned foods, jams and jellies, dairy products, and scores of other foods and beverages.
Artificial sweeteners are also popular for home use. Some can even be used in baking or cooking. Certain recipes may need modification, though, because artificial sweeteners provide no bulk or volume, as does sugar. Check the labels on artificial sweeteners for appropriate home use.
Some artificial sweeteners may leave an aftertaste. Try different artificial sweeteners to find one or a combination that you enjoy.
Possible health benefits of Artificial Sweeteners
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One benefit of artificial sweeteners is that they don’t contribute to tooth decay and cavities. They may also help with the following:
- Weight control. One of the most appealing aspects of artificial sweeteners is that they are non-nutritive — they have virtually no calories. Although, some research has suggested that consuming artificial sweeteners may be associated with increased weight, but the cause is not yet known.
- Diabetes. Artificial sweeteners may be a good alternative to sugar if you have diabetes. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners generally don’t raise blood sugar levels because they are not carbohydrates.
Possible health concerns with artificial sweeteners
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Artificial sweeteners have been scrutinized intensely for decades. Critics of artificial sweeteners say that they cause a variety of health problems, including cancer. That’s largely because of studies dating to the 1970s that linked saccharin to bladder cancer in laboratory rats. Because of those studies, saccharin once carried a warning label that it may be hazardous to your health.
But according to the National Cancer Institute and other health agencies, there’s no sound scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the U.S. cause cancer or other serious health problems. And numerous research studies confirm that artificial sweeteners are generally safe in limited quantities, even for pregnant women. As a result of the newer studies, the warning label for saccharin was dropped.
FDA Regulations on the use of Artificial Sweeteners in Food Products
Artificial sweeteners are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as food additives. They must be reviewed and approved by the FDA before being made available for sale.
Also Read: Artificial Preservatives – Foods Ingredients and Additives
In some cases, the FDA declares a substance “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). These GRAS substances, including highly refined stevia preparations, are deemed by qualified professionals based on scientific data as being safe for their intended use, or they have such a lengthy history of common use in food that they’re considered generally safe and don’t require FDA approval before sale.
The FDA has also established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for each artificial sweetener. This is the maximum amount considered safe to consume each day over the course of your lifetime. ADIs are intended to be about 100 times less than the smallest amount that might cause health concerns.