Artificial Sweeteners

artificial sweetener packets

Artificial sweeteners do not raise blood sugar levels.

When used instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners help you keep within your carbohydrate goals when planning meals.

Artificial sweeteners, or non-nutritive sweeteners offer the sweet taste of sugar, but have no carbohydrates or calories. Artificial sweeteners do not raise blood sugar levels. So when used instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners can help you keep within your carbohydrate goals when planning meals. And because artificial sweeteners have no calories, choosing foods made with artificial sweeteners may lower your calorie intake.

Look for manufactured foods and sweeteners for the table that contain one of these 5 sugar substitutes approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration:

  • Aspartame (Brand Name: Equal)
  • Sucralose (Brand Name: Splenda)
  • Acesulfame-K (Brand Name: Sweet One)
  • Saccharin (Brand Name: Sweet and Low, Sugar Twin)
  • Neotame

A note to household chefs

Aspartame loses sweetness when cooked. Sucralose, acesulfame-K and saccharin can be used for baking. Look for special baking recipes for artificial sweeteners, as direct substitution for sugar might not give you the result you want. Or, try a combination of artificial sweetener and sugar in recipes to get your desired result while lowering the overall carbohydrate amount. Keep in mind that some artificial sweeteners can be sweeter than equal amounts of natural sugar. A little bit goes a long way.

What is Stevia?

This naturally sweet herb has been used in other countries for centuries. It is not FDA approved for use as a sweetener, but it can be purchased as a “dietary supplement” in many health food stores. Stevia comes in powder, liquid and tablet form. It doesn’t provide calories or impact blood glucose.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?

The FDA has completed careful testing of all the artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to be safe to eat. Despite rumors of cancer causing effects of artificial sweeteners, research does not support that risk. All artificial sweeteners may be used by people with diabetes.

Food For Thought

Some foods made with artificial sweeteners may have more calories or fat than the original sugar-sweetened product. This may be the case with desserts and baked goods. Read food labels to compare products for serving sizes, calories and fat. Choosing a smaller portion of a sugar-sweetened product may be lower in calories than the artificially sweetened version!

View a printer-friendly Guide to Sweeteners.

Self-assessment Quiz

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