Artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes are chemicals that are used as a food additive that renders a sweet taste similar to sugar. These sweeteners have significantly very less energy than sugar-based sweeteners, thus making it a zero-calorie sweetener. Artificial sweeteners are manufactured from plant extracts or processed by chemical synthesis. Also Checkout: Honey And Its Various Avatars For Therapeutic Benefits- Infographic

artificial sweteners

Artificial sweeteners are also referred as intense sweeteners as they render a flavour quite similar to that of table sugar but more than a thousand times sweeter. Artificial sweeteners are of two types of calorie-free sweetener and artificial sweetener with minimal calories. Sugar alcohols are sweeteners that contain calories and have a minimal effect on blood glucose levels, examples are sorbitol and xylitol. Calorie-free sweeteners do not have any effect on blood glucose levels, and these are 30-3000 times sweeter than normal table sugar, examples -aspartame and acesulfame K. Also Read: Is Jaggery Healthier Than Sugar?

Artificial sweetener is one best way of maintaining sweetness in food and beverages and help people with diabetics to avert blood sugar spikes and for fitness enthusiasts to cut down on simple sugars and unwanted calories. Controlling blood sugar is vital for diabetes to avert complications of diabetes including neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy and cardiovascular disease. Let’s read about 5 best low-calorie artificial sweeteners.

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Stevia

Stevia is a zero-calorie natural sweetener obtained from the plant Stevia rebaudiana. It is produced from the purified leaves chemical compound steviol glycosides. A highly-processed product which is 150-300 times sweeter than normal table sugar or sucrose. It prevents blood sugar spikes, helps to lose weight and has a bitter aftertaste. The recommended daily intake of stevia (FDA) is 4 mg/ kg body weight, which is equivalent to 9 packets of tabletop sweetener version of stevia.

Sucralose

Sucralose is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener made from sucrose which is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. It is a popular sweetener used in a wide range of products from chewing gum to baked foodstuffs. Sucralose is a heat-stable sweetener while most of the other sweeteners lose their taste when heated, thus making sucralose the preferred choice of artificial sweetener agent for baking and flavouring hot beverages. It does not render a bitter after taste. The recommended daily intake of sucralose (FDA), is 5mg/kg of body weight which almost equals 23 packets of a tabletop sweetener a version of sucralose.

sugar alternatives

Aspartame

Aspartame is a commonly available sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar and used extensively in a spectrum of food products, including diet soda.  This sweetener is not suitable for heating or baking as aspartame breaks down at high temperatures and usually used as a tabletop sweetener only. As per the FDA, acceptable daily intake is 50mg/kg of body weight and a person can safely take 75 packets of aspartame in the form of a tabletop sweetener. However, aspartame is not recommended and safe for use for people with phenylketonuria a rare genetic disorder.

Acesulfame Potassium

Acesulfame potassium is also called as acesulfame K and Ace-K, which is around 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is mostly combined with other sweeteners to minimize its bitter aftertaste. It is a low-calorie sweetener and several studies claimed it to be safe. The FDA recommended allowance of Ace-K s 15mg/kg of body weight and a person can safely take almost 23 packets of a tabletop sweetener version of acesulfame potassium.

Saccharin

Saccharin is a zero-calorie sweetener that is almost 200-700 times sweeter than table sugar. It is a commonly available sweetener and various studies have supported it to be safe for consumption. The FDA recommended the allowance of saccharin is 15mg/kg of body weight and people can safely take about 45 packets of a tabletop sweetener version of it.

Conclusion

Artificial sweeteners are low in calorie which has allowed people to relish the sweet treat without affecting blood sugar levels and prevent weight gain. However, it is best to have it in moderate quantities to avert any unwanted side effects.