What are Low / No Calorie Sweeteners?
Low / no calorie sweeteners are food ingredients with a sweet taste and no, or virtually no, calories that are used in foods and beverages as well as in table-top sweeteners in place of sugar to provide the desired sweetness with fewer or zero calories.
Low / no calorie sweeteners are intensely sweet compounds, which means that they are several hundred times sweeter than table sugar. Thus, only very small quantities are needed to confer the desired level of sweetness to foods and drinks, while contributing very few or no calories at all to the final product.
Low / no calorie sweeteners impart no, or virtually no, calories to our foods and drinks, so they can be a helpful tool in reducing individuals’ total calorie intake.
Commonly Used Low / No Calorie Sweeteners
The most known and commonly used low / no calorie sweeteners worldwide are acesulfame potassium (or acesulfame-K), aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, sucralose and steviol glycosides. Other low / no calorie sweeteners that have been approved for use in Europe and around the world include: thaumatin, neotame, neohesperidine DC, advantame, and aspartame – acesulfame salt.
In the scientific literature, low / no calorie sweeteners may also be described by the terms: non-nutritive sweeteners, non-energy sweeteners, low-calorie sweeteners, intense sweeteners, high potency sweeteners, or even as sugar substitutes.
The History of Low / No Calorie Sweeteners
Low / no calorie sweeteners have been safely used and enjoyed by consumers all over the world for more than a century. The first commonly used low / no calorie sweetener, saccharin, was discovered in 1879. Since then, a number of other low / no calorie sweeteners have been discovered and are now used in foods and drinks worldwide.
Nowadays, as we are facing worrying rates of obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) globally and public health authorities recommend to limit the intake of excess amounts of free sugars in our diets, low / no calorie sweeteners can be a helpful tool, as they provide sweet taste with few or no calories.
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