Food additives have become a necessity of all
types of food products and food industry. Right from the aroma of the
beverage, the texture of the food and its visual appeal, has to be
enriched to make it acceptable.
These are the substances that sweeten food,
beverages, medications, etc., such as sugar, saccharine or other low-calorie
synthetic products. They in general can be termed as sweetening agents. They
all are called artificial sweetenrs as thy are usually not a component of
the product they are added to. As per the source, these substances can be
classified as natural and artificial sweeteners.
Natural sweeteners are obtained from the natural sources like sugarcane and
sugar beet and from fruits (fructose) and the artificial ones have a
chemical origin. Artificial sweeteners are further of two types namely
non-caloric sweeteners and sugar alcohols.
Noncaloric sweeteners do not add calories to foods. They are used in snack
foods and drinks. Sweeteners like saccharine and aspartame fall under this
category. Sugar alcohols are used in chewing gums and hard candies and have
almost same calories as sugar. Examples of sugar alcohols are sorbitol and
Commonly Used Sweeteners
Acesulfame K - It is a 0 calorie sweetener, 130- 200 times sweeter
than sucrose. It is not metabolized by the body. The only limitation it has
is that if used in large quantities, it has an after taste. It is used in
fruit preserves, dairy products and all types of beverages. It is used to
reduce the calories of the products. It is heat resistant and enhances
Aspartame - It is a low calorie sweetener about 200% more sweet than
the sugar. It is disintegrated into aspartic acid, fenylalanine and methanol
in the body on digestion. It's taste is similar to sugar only more sweet. It
is used in all types of foods and beverages and medicines. It is found
naturally in protein rich foods.
Cyclamate - This is a calorie free sweetener 30-50 times sweeter
than sugar. It is metabolized in the gut by few individuals and generally
expelled as such. It is generally used in combination with other sweeteners.
It has a pleasant taste, and is stable at high temperatures and is
Saccharin - It is one of the earliest low calorie sweeteners that is
300-500 times more sweet than sugar. It doesn't metabolize and absorption is
slow. Owing to this it is expelled as such from the body. Saccharin is the
most widely used sweetener. It was earlier banned in certain countries but
now is used quite commonly.
There are other sweeteners like Stevioside, Alitame, Thaumatin, Sucralose,
Neohesperidine DC and Aspartame-Acesulfame Salt. All artificial sweeteners
have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are
considered harmless if taken in limited quantities.
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