The science of nutrition and healthy eating
The science of nutrition and healthy eating

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4 Sweeteners

A pile of different sweetener sachets with different brands.
Figure 8 Different packets sweetener sachets.

Sweeteners are used in some foods to reduce the energy from food, in an attempt to reduce obesity. There have been many headlines about the safety of sweeteners. In 2010, there was a Panel discussion about sweeteners and they came up with ten points in a document called ’The Science of Low Calorie Sweeteners – separating fact from fiction’.

Low calorie sweeteners are food additives that provide a sweet taste with very few calories (Table 4). Click on this link and read the document: The science of low calorie sweeteners – separating fact from fiction [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (British Nutrition Foundation, 2010)

Table 4 Sweeteners used in the UK to reduce the amount of sucrose (table sugar) which provides 4kcal/gram
Type of sweetenerNameE numberAcceptable daily intake (ADI)

mg/kg body weight

Energy providedComments
Bulksugar alcohols:








None specified2.4 kcal/g


10g/100g or more require a warning statement as it can lead to gastrointestinal side effects in sensitive individuals.




acesulfame K (AceK)










saccharin: 375x sweeter than sugar, bitter metallic aftertaste

aspartame: 200x sweeter than sugar, cannot be used by people with PKU

acesulfame K (AceK): 200x sweeter than sugar, long-term effects unknown

IntensesteviaE9604zeroPlant based: 200–300 times sweeter than sucrose
Intense sucralose E95515zero600 times sweeter than sucrose
IntenseneotameE961None specifiedzero7000 times sweeter than sucrose

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