Test Yourself: Do You Know Everything About Artificial Sweeteners?

By Jim F

See if you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to choosing a sugar substitute.
1) Artificial sweeteners have been around a long time: which was approved for use first?
a) Acesulfame-K
b) Aspartame
c) Saccharine
d) Sucralose

2) Which artificial sweetener is made from sugar?
a) Sweet ‘N Low
b) Splenda
c) Equal
d) Sweet One

3) True or False: “Sugar alcohols” contain neither sugar nor alcohol.

4) True or False: “Sugar-free” foods have few or no calories.

5) Which 4 artificial sweeteners are approved for use by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration?
a) Sucrose, maltose, dextrose and fructose
b) Saccharine, mannitol, xylitol and lactose
c) Sucralose, saccharine, acesulfame K and aspartame
d) Stevia, xylitol, fructose and dextrose

(6) True or False: All artificial sweeteners can be used for cooking

ANSWERS

1. C: Saccharine is oldest, invented in 1879. Although it is approved for use by the FDA, scientists continue to study saccharine. Moderate consumption is recommended.

2. B: Splenda, or sucralose, is manufactured using a chemical process that modifies a sucrose (sugar) molecule. It is not a “natural” sugar. It’s an artificial sweetener and is about 600 times sweeter than sugar. It’s also approved by the FDA for moderate use.

3. True. Also known as polyols, sugar alcohols include maltitol, sorbital, mannitol and xylitol. They are made from plants and are not calorie or carbohydrate-free. According to the International Food Information Council, sugar alcohols range from 1.5 to 3 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for sucrose or other sugars. If eaten in moderate amounts they have little effect on blood glucose. Beware: they can have an uncomfortable laxative effect when eaten in excess.

4. False. As noted above, sugar alcohols are not calorie-free and average about 2.4 calories per gram (about 40% fewer than sugar). Find any packaged food’s total carbohydrate and calorie count by just reading the nutrition facts panel on the package. Remember that all numbers listed represent one serving. Often times a package that you think contains one serving actually contains two or more!

5. C: sucralose (Splenda), saccharine (Sweet ‘n Low), acesulfame K (Sweet One), and aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet) are approved by the FDA as artificial sweeteners. Sucrose, maltose, dextrose, lactose and fructose are all different forms of natural sugar, and have 4 calories per gram. Mannitol and xylitol are sugar alcohols, or polyols.

6. False. Aspartame loses its sweetness when heated, making it inappropriate for cooking and baking. Sucralose, saccharine and acesulfame K do not lose their sweetness when heated. Baking requires special recipes because removing sugar from the recipe affects the baked item’s texture. Sucralose (Splenda) makes a special baking product that contains additional carbohydrate.

13 Comments

  1. Drew

    This is wrong. 3 is false. All polyols are alcohols. Technically they are not sugars, but they are extremely similar. They are often made from and metabolize into sugar.

    “They are made from plants and are not calorie or carbohydrate-free.”
    All carbohydrates are sugars, so by this logic then you should be saying they are sugars. There are no carbohydrates in sugar alcohols because they are not sugars.

    Reply
  2. Heather

    My D.O. told me that Splenda does in fact have an effect on the brain function. Calls is a “brain toxin.” Better choices would be: Xylitol, Stevia, or Erythritol (Truvia is a brand name of Eryth.)Everything in moderation. Take it easy on the sweeteners and try to wean yourself to lesser amounts. Anything in excess can be harmful.

    Reply
  3. GLADYS WRIGHT

    Mt name is Gladys Wright and I am 64 years young, and my question to you is how many callories of sugar is a person allowed a day that is on a diet, I will be
    starting my diet in nutrisystem by next friday. I use splenda now instead of sugar.

    Thanks for your reply.

    MRS.GLADYS WRIGHT

    Reply
  4. K!@n@

    im doing a scince fair project about splenda and i rele need help like is it bad for ya?
    and is iy better/worse for ya then regular sugar????

    HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  5. Rex Fultz

    Does the sugar substitute Sweet Thing contain aspertane. And is it an approved sugar substitute?

    Reply
  6. pauline nielson

    I’ve been using Splenda for years, since it first came out. Lately I’ve also been experiencing problems with equilibrium. For many years I’ve had leg cramps at night and they are getting worse. A week ago I over-indulged on a dessert I made with Splenda and had the worst night ever with the cramps. The very next day I quit using Splenda and the past 5 nights have been cramp-free. The equilibrium problem seems to be getting better, also.

    Reply
  7. Jan74

    No, it doesn’t. Splenda is sucralose. Aspartame is Nutrasweet and other brands.

    Reply
  8. Dee Wright

    Does Splenda contain aspertame?

    Reply
  9. Eugene Nelson

    There are side effects associated with all artificial sweetners ranging from skin rash to abdominal pains and worse. It would therefore be better to satisfy your desire for sweets from natural foods and fruits. Juicing apples, pears, oranges and grapes yeilds a
    delicious beverage that completely satisfies. Mixing 1 cup whole oats with 2T honey, a little salt and other spices and perhaps walnuts yeilds a mixture that can be form into a rolled bar and then baked until golden brown. This too is very delicious, natural and good for you. May God bless you as you endeavor to find the way to complete happiness.

    Reply
  10. Eugene Nelson

    Norma Freeman said:
    I have eaten a candy with 16g sugaralcohol. I do not understand everything I read. I am a diabetic and my doctor isn’t sure if this is harmfull to me. I’m guessing is…………….is it? I’m also 68 yrs. old.[…]

    Reply
  11. carl hester

    could splenda cause equal liberal problems?
    balance problems.

    Reply
  12. carl hester

    does splendar contain aspertane?

    Reply
  13. Norma Freeman

    I have eaten a candy with 16g sugaralcohol. I do not understand everything I read. I am a diabetic and my doctor isn’t sure if this is harmfull to me. I’m guessing is…………….is it? I’m also 68 yrs. old.

    Reply