Sugar substitutes can be used to satisfy your taste for sweets, without the same calorie content. Most substitutes are artificially derived, though some are natural sugar substitutes. People with diabetes often use sugar substitutes to sweeten their coffee, tea or food.
Five types of artificial sugar substitutes are available in the United States, and each one of them has a very high intensity of sweetness. High intensity of sweetness means a little, a few drops (or a small fraction of a drop) only, will result in sufficient sweetness.
- Saccharin is the oldest artificial sugar, discovered in 1879. It is 300 times sweeter than normal sugar. It leaves a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth after use.
- Aspartame is sold under several brand names like Equal, NutraSweet, Canderel, and Natrataste. Aspartame is used in more than 6,000 consumer foods and beverages across the world, including Diet Coke. Although aspartame is associated with a number of controversies, it is widely used by diabetics.
- Sucralose is around 300 to 1,000 times sweeter than normal sugar -- about two times sweeter than saccharine, and about four times sweeter than aspartame. It is sold under the brand name Splenda.
- Neotame is really hyper-sweet – about 8,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than the general sugar. Neotame is manufactured by NutraSweet. At present, it is not widely used.
- Acesulfame potassium is about 180 to 200 times sweeter than normal sugar. It is also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K, and is sold under the brand name of Sunett and Sweet One.
- Artificial sweeteners: A safe alternative to sugar – a page from the Mayo Clinic’s website