Your Guide to Artificial Sweeteners

They are described as sweetness without the calories..Those who are trying to cut down on sugar, lose weight or have diabetes tend to go for artificial sweeteners aka sugar substitutes or low calorie sweeteners.

What are they?
Artificial sweeteners are chemicals or natural compounds that provide the sweet taste of sugar minus the calories. They come in many forms – tablets, liquid drops & powders. Food products made with artificial sweeteners tend to have a much lower calorie count than those made with sugar.

Where do we find them?
Artificial sweeteners are usually added to diet yoghurts, desserts, diet soft drinks & cordials, lollies, jams & jellies.

Meet the Popular Sweeteners
  • AspartameNutrasweet, Equal
  • SaccharinSweet’N Low, SugarTwin
  • SucraloseSplenda
  • Acesulfame KSunett, Sweet One, Hermesetas Gold

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) & Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have approved of these popular sweeteners as being safe for public consumption. However, only aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet) and Sucralose (Splenda) are approved for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some artificial sweeteners can have a laxative effect when consumed in large amounts & cause also cause wind/gas.

Aspartame, a hot topic in the media? Aspartame has been placed in hot water by the media due to concerns of its effects on health. Websites and magazines have linked it to diseases such as cancer. After extensive research by the ” Big guys” aka FDA and other worldwide agencies, they concluded that the evidence does not link aspartame to cancer, hair loss, depression, dementia or any of the other conditions being reported in the media. Aspartame, however, isn’t safe for people who have the rare hereditary disease phenylketonuria (PKU). Products that contain aspartame are required to have a PKU warning on the label.

Are there sugar substitutes that provide calories? Sorbitol, mannitol, lactitol, xylitol, maltitol are sugar alcohols with the same calories as sugar but are not as sweet. Foods containing them are usually labelled “carbohydrate modified” and may still be high in fat. Too much of these could raise blood glucose levels, increase weight and cause diarrhoea & gas.

Remember By only removing the sugar for popular snacks and foods does not classify them as low calorie, low fat foods. Consuming a lot of these foods will still lead to weight gain if you eat more calories than you may need. Some of these foods also lack any beneficial nutrients..So ask yourself – Am I eating large amounts of such foods that affects the quality of my diet? Am I drinking way too much diet soft drink and barely any water?

If you have any questions about sweeteners, feel free to email me at or just post a comment!

1 Comment
  1. First of all, thanks for the article Sandra.
    I used to consume the artificial sweeteners and was a heavy diet coke user. I then got some warning signals with my health (i.e. craving for sugar, headache and weight gain). I didn’t realise it was because of these artificial sweeteners, then later when I had more insights about artificial sugar substitute, I now know how dangerous/harmful these chemical sweeteners can do to my body and health. Well in other part, I think it was great opportunity for myself to do some research on sugar and now I have some knowledge about sugar and other good sugar substitutes. I have switched sugar and artificial sweeteners to “natural” sweeteners. The one I’m consuming lately is called Natvia. It has “no” aspartame and saccharin that does bad for our body/health. It is made by the purest natural herb, Stevia (Reb A), which gives “no” bitter aftertaste. Also, the calories are a lot less than sugar that 1 tsp of Natvia is only 0.6 calories when 1 tsp of sugar contains 16 calories. From my experience so far, it is doing great for me and I am telling all my friend about Natvia nowadays. haha.. hope people know better about natural sweeteners and try them!

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