Hot topic Artificial Sweeteners And Reducedkcalorie Sweeteners

The introduction of diet soda in the 1950s sparked the widespread use of artificial sweeteners, substitutes for sugar that provide no, or almost no, kcalories. If you drink diet soda, look at the food label and see which artificial sweeteners are present. As of 2005, five artificial sweeteners had been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration: saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and neotame. Because artificial sweeteners are considered food additives, the FDA requires that they be tested for safety before going on the market. Besides offering no kcalo-ries, artificial sweeteners are beneficial because they do not cause tooth decay or force insulin levels to rise as do added sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup.

The FDA uses the concept of an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for many food additives, including these artificial sweeteners. The ADI represents an intake level that, if maintained each day throughout a person's lifetime, would be considered safe by a wide margin. For example, the ADI for aspartame is 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day. To take in the ADI for a 150-pound adult, someone would have to drink twenty 12-ounce cans of diet soft drinks daily.


Saccharin. Saccharin, discovered in 1879, has been consumed by Americans for more than 100 years. Its use in foods increased slowly until the two world wars, when its use increased dramatically due to sugar shortages. Saccharin is about 200 to 700 times sweeter than sucrose and is excreted unchanged directly into the urine. It is approved for use at specific maximum amounts in foods and beverages and as a tabletop sweetener. Known as Sweet'N Low, it is sold in liquid, tablet, packet, and bulk form. Because saccharin leaves some consumers with an aftertaste, it is frequently combined with other artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame.

In 1977, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on its use in foods and allowed its sale as a tabletop sweetener only as an over-the-counter drug. This proposal was based on studies that showed the development of urinary bladder cancer in rats fed the equivalent of hundreds of cans of diet soft drinks a day. The surge of public protest against this proposal (there were no other alternative sweeteners available at that time) led Congress to postpone the ban. In 2000, the National Toxicology Program decided that saccharin should no longer be considered cancer-causing. In 2001, the U.S. Congress repealed the warning labels that had been required on saccharin-containing products.

Aspartame. In 1965, aspartame was discovered accidentally. Aspartame is made by joining two protein components, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and a small amount of methanol. Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are building blocks of protein. Methanol is found naturally in the body and in many foods, such as fruit and vegetable juices. In the intestinal tract, as-partame is broken down into its three components, which are metabolized in the same way as if they had come from food. Aspartame contains 4 kcalories per gram, but so little of it is needed that the calorie content is not significant.

Aspartame is approximately 160 to 220 times sweeter than sucrose and has an acceptable flavor with no bitter aftertaste. It is marketed under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame is approved as a general-purpose sweetener and is found in diet sodas, cocoa mixes, pudding and gelatin mixes, fruit spreads and toppings, and other foods. If you drink diet soft drinks, chances are, they are sweetened with aspartame. Fountain-made diet soft drinks are more commonly sweetened with a blend of aspartame and saccharin, because saccharin helps provide increased stability. Aspartame may become less sweet after prolonged heating. Many products can be baked with aspartame, but for stovetop cooking, it is best to add aspartame at the end of cooking or after removing the food from the heat.

The safety of aspartame provoked concerns in the past, and many studies have been done on it. Recent reviews of studies confirm that aspartame consumption is safe over the long term and is not associated with serious health effects.

The only individuals for whom aspartame is a known health hazard are those who have the disease phenylketonuria (PKU), because they are unable to metabolize phenylalanine. For this reason, any product containing aspartame carries a warning label, "Phenylketonurics: Contains phenylalanine." Some other people may also be sensitive to aspartame and need to limit their intake.

Acesulfame-Potassium. In 1988, the FDA first approved acesulfame-potassium for use in some foods and as a tabletop sweetener. Acesulfame-potassium is now approved as a general-purpose sweetener. Its name is often abbreviated as Acesulfame-K, as K is the chemical symbol for potassium. Marketed under the brand names Sunett and Sweet One, it is about as sweet as aspartame but is more stable and can be used in baking and cooking. Coca-Cola mixes acesulfame-K with aspartame to sweeten one of its diet sodas. Its taste is clean and sweet, with no aftertaste in most products. Acesulfame-K passes through the digestive tract unchanged. It is used in over 50 countries.

Sucralose. Sucralose is the only artificial sweetener made from table sugar. The FDA approved sucralose in 1999 for use as general-purpose sweetener. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and actually tastes similar to sugar. Sucralose cannot be digested, and so it adds no kcalories to food. Sucralose has exceptional stability and retains its sweetness over a wide range of conditions, including heat. Sucralose can be used in baking and cooking. It is even used in sweet microwave popcorn.

Sucralose is available as an ingredient for use in a broad range of foods and beverages under the name Splenda Brand Sweetener. Currently, a range of products sweetened with Splenda are on supermarket shelves, including diet soft drinks, low-calorie fruit drinks, maple syrup, and applesauce.

Like aspartame, sucralose is available in a granular form which pours and measures exactly like sugar. Maltodextrin, a starchy powder, is used to give it bulk, and the resulting product has no kcalories.

Neotame. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved neotame for use as a general-purpose sweetener. Neotame is a high-intensity sweetener that is manufactured by the same company that first manufactured aspartame. The sweetener is structurally similar to aspartame but is much sweeter and does not cause any problems for people with phenylketonuria. Once ingested, neotame is quickly metabolized and completely eliminated.

Depending on its food application, neotame is about 7000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar. Its strength varies depending on the application and the amount of sweetness needed. It is a white crystalline powder that is heat-stable and can be used as a table-top sweetener as well as in cooking. Neotame has a clean, sweet taste in foods.

Food scientists have discovered that blending certain artificial sweeteners with each other results in products that are much sweeter than expected. This is beneficial because you can reduce the amount of artificial sweeteners used and improve the taste profile.

Some artificial sweeteners also work well with traditional caloric sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup and sucralose. When combined with traditional sweeteners, artificial sweeteners can not only improve taste but also decrease kcalories.

Figure 3-26 summarizes information on approved artificial sweeteners.


The artificial sweeteners alitame and cyclamate are awaiting approval from the FDA. Alitame (the brand name is Aclame) is a sweetener made from amino acids (parts of proteins). It is 2000 times sweeter than sucrose and has the potential to be useful in many areas, such as baked goods and as a tabletop figure 3-26 APPROVED ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS




Brand Name(s) Sweet'N Low Sugar Twin* Hermesetas Original (in Europe)

Sample Foods Used in Fountain diet sodas

Kcalories/ Gram 0

Sweetness Compared to Sugar

200 to 700 times as sweet

NutraSweet Equal

Canderel (in Europe)


  • Not metabolized by body.
  • Some consumers report an aftertaste.
  • Approved by FDA at specific maximum amounts for use in beverages, tabletop sweeteners, and foods.
  • Can be blended with other sweeteners to increase sweetness and decrease kcalories.
  • Available in liquid, tablet, packet, and bulk (granular) form. Sweet'N Low Brown is a sugar substitute for brown sugar.

Aspartame NutraSweet Diet sodas, diet drink 4+ 160 to 220

mixes, cocoa mixes, times as pudding and gelatin sweet mixes, fruit spreads and toppings


  • Made of two protein components and a small amount of methanol (found naturally in many foods).
  • Foods containing aspartame must have a warning label because it contains phenylalanine, which a small number of people can't tolerate.
  • Loses its sweet flavor with prolonged heating. Add at end of stovetop cooking. Can often be used successfully in baking.
  • Can be blended with other sweeteners to increase sweetness and decrease kcalories.
  • In Canada, Sugar Twin contains cyclamate, not saccharin.

tBecause so little aspartame is used, the kcalorie content is very close to zero.


figure 3-26 (Continued)


Artificial Kcalories/ Compared

Sweetener Brand Name(s) Sample Foods Used in Gram to Sugar

• Available in tablets, packets, and bulk (granular) form. Also available: Equal Spoonful, which measures like sugar and has zero kcalories, and Equal Sugar Lite, which contains sugar and aspartame and provides half the kcalories and carbohydrates of regular sugar.

Sunett Sweet One

Diet sodas

Acesulfame Potassium (Acesulfame-K) Description:

  • Passes through the digestive system unchanged.
  • Can be used in baking and cooking.
  • Can be blended with other sweeteners to increase sweetness and decrease kcalories.
  • Available in liquid, tablets, packets, and bulk (granular) form.

200 times as sweet



600 times as sweet

Diet sodas, low-calorie fruit drinks, maple syrup, applesauce


  • Cannot be digested.
  • Stays sweet during cooking and baking.
  • Can be blended with other sweeteners to increase sweetness and decrease kcalories.
  • Available in packets and bulk (granular) form. Splenda Granular measures like sugar and has 0 kcalories. Another product, called Splenda Blend for Baking, contains sugar and sucralose. One cup of sugar in a recipe can be replaced by 1/2 cup of Splenda Blend for Baking.


Not yet available

Products using neotame in the United States are still being developed

7000 to 13,000 times as sweet


  • Structurally similar to aspartame.
  • Can be used in cooking and baking.
  • Can be blended with other sweeteners to increase sweetness and decrease kcalories.

sweetener. It is approved for use in Mexico, Australia, and China.

Discovered accidentally in 1937, cyclamate was introduced into beverages and foods in the early 1950s. By the 1960s it dominated the artificial sweetener mar ket. It is 30 times sweeter than sucrose and is not metabolized by most people. In 1969, cyclamate was banned after studies showed that large doses were associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. Cy-clamate is still banned in the United States but is ap proved and used in more than 50 other countries worldwide. Cyclamate is again under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration for use in specific products, such as tabletop sweeteners and beverages. It is stable at hot and cold temperatures and has no aftertaste.

Stevioside is a naturally sweet extract from the leaves of the stevia bush found in South America. The extract is 300 times sweeter than sucrose and is used in several countries, such as Japan. However, the FDA has not approved its use as a sweetener due to insufficient safety testing. Researchers have found that the main chemical in stevia can be converted in laboratory animals to a compound that could cause cancer. You can buy this product as a dietary supplement in the United States because supplement manufacturers do not have to provide detailed scientific information about their product to the FDA in order to get it on the market. It is the responsibility of the FDA to prove that the supplement is unsafe.

Stevia is sold in several forms: liquid, powdered extract, fresh leaves, dried leaves, and powdered leaves. The sweetness level varies from product to product, and some forms of stevia have a mentholaftertaste. In the small amounts in which it is normally used, stevia provides zero calories.


Tagatose is a sweetener that is similar to fructose in structure and is almost as sweet as white sugar. It occurs naturally in some dairy products. Because it is incompletely absorbed, it supplies only 1.5 kcalorie/ gram. Like the sugar replacers, tagatose does not promote dental caries. It provides the natural taste and texture of sugar and can be used in a variety of foods and beverages. Tagatose is approved for use in the United States and marketed under the brand name Gaio.

It is important to have a variety of reduced-kcalorie or no-kcalorie sweeteners in the marketplace, especially for people with diabetes. Although these sweetners are not magical foods that will melt pounds away, they can be a helpful part of an overall weight-control program that includes exercise and a moderate diet.

Tagatose Metabolism

Lipids: Fats and Oils

Functions of Lipids


Triglycerides in Food Trans Fats

Essential Fatty Acids Rancidity

Cholesterol Lecithin

Digestion, Absorption, and Metabolism

Lipids and Health

Heart Disease Cancer

Dietary Recommendations

Ingredient Focus: Milk, Dairy Products, and Eggs

Chef's Tips

Food Facts: Oils and Margarines

Hot Topic: Fat Substitutes

  • LIPIDS A group of fatty substances, including triglycerides and cholesterol, that are soluble in fat, not water, and that provide a rich source of energy and structure to cells.
  • FAT A lipid that is solid at room temperature.
  • OIL A lipid that is usually liquid at room temperature.
  • TRIGLYCERIDE The major form of lipid in food and in the body; it is made of three fatty acids attached to a glycerol backbone.

THE WORD FAT IS TRULY all-purpose. We use it to refer to the excess pounds we carry, the blood component that is associated with heart disease, and the greasy foods in our diet that we feel we ought to cut out. To be more precise about the nature of fat, we need to look at fat in more depth.

To begin, lipid is the chemical name for a group of compounds that includes fats, oils, cholesterol, and lecithin. Fats and oils are the most abundant lipids in nature and are found in both plants and animals. A lipid is customarily called a fat if it is a solid at room temperature, and it is called an oil if it is a liquid at that temperature. Lipids obtained from animal sources are usually solids, such as butter and beef fat, whereas oils are generally of plant origin. Therefore, we commonly speak of animal fats and vegetable oils, but we also use the word fat to refer to both fats and oils, which is what we will do in this chapter.

Like carbohydrates, lipids are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Unlike most carbohydrates, lipids are not long chains of repeating units. Most of the lipids in foods (over 90 percent), and also in the human body, are in the form of triglycerides. Therefore, when we talk about fat in food or in the body, we are really talking about triglycerides. This chapter will help you to:

  • Describe lipids and list their functions in foods and in the body
  • Describe the relationship between triglycerides and fatty acids
  • Define saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats and list foods in which each one is found
  • Describe trans fatty acids and give examples of foods in which they are found
  • Identify the two essential fatty acids, list their functions in the body, and give examples of foods in which they are found
  • Define rancidity
  • Define cholesterol and lecithin, list their functions in the body, identify where they are found in the body, and give examples of foods in which they are found
  • Describe how fats are digested, absorbed, and metabolized
  • Discuss the relationship between lipids and health conditions such as heart disease and cancer
  • State recommendations for dietary intake of fat, saturated fat, trans fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and cholesterol
  • Distinguish between the percentage of fat by weight and the percentage of kcalories from fat
  • Calculate the percentage of kcalories from fat for a food item
  • Discuss the nutrition and uses of milk, dairy products, and eggs on the menu


Fats have many vital purposes in the body, where they account for 13 to 30 percent or more of a person's weight. Fat is an essential part of all cells. At least 50 percent of your fat stores are located under the skin, where fat provides insu-


  • ADIPOSE CELL A cell in the body that readily takes up and stores triglycerides; also called a fat cell.
  • ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS Fatty acids that the body cannot produce, making them necessary in the diet: linoleic acid and linolenic acid.
  • SATIETY A feeling of being full after eating.

lation (because fat doesn't conduct heat well), optimum body temperature in cold weather, and a cushion around critical organs (like shock absorbers).

Most cells store only small amounts of fat, but specific cells, called fat cells or adipose cells, can store loads of fat and actually increase 20 times in weight. The number of fat cells increases most during late childhood and early adolescence. It can also increase during adulthood, when you eat more kcalories than you expend. Fat cells are a compact way to store lots of energy. Remember that 1 gram of fat yields 9 kcalories, compared with 4 kcalories for 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein. Fats provide much of the energy to do the work in your body, especially work involving the muscles. Fat prevents protein from being burned for energy so that protein can do its own important jobs.

Fat is an important part of all cell membranes. Fat also transports the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) throughout the body. Certain fat-containing foods also provide the body with two fatty acids that are considered essential fatty acids because the body can't make them. Fatty acids are the major component of triglycerides and are discussed next. The essential fatty acids are needed for normal growth and development in infants and children. They are used to maintain the structural parts of cell membranes, and they play a role in the proper functioning of the immune system. From the essential fatty acids, the body makes hormonelike substances that control a number of body functions, such as blood pressure and blood clotting.

Lipids also include cholesterol and lecithin. Their functions will be discussed later in this chapter.

In foods, fats enhance taste, flavor, aroma, crispness (especially in fried foods), juiciness (especially of meat), and tenderness (especially in baked goods). Fats such as cooking oils do a wonderful job of carrying many flavors, as in an Indian curry. Fats also provide a smooth texture and a creamy feeling in the mouth. The love of fatty foods cuts across all ages (just watch a preschooler devour french fries or an elderly adult eat a piece of chocolate cake) and cultures (where fatty foods are available). Eating a meal with fat makes people feel full, because fat delays the emptying of the stomach. This lasting feeling of fullness is called satiety.


  1. Fat accounts for 13 to 30 percent or more of your body weight.
  2. Many fat cells are located just under the skin, where fat provides insulation for the body and a cushion around critical organs.
  3. At 9 kcalories per gram, fat stores are a compact way to store lots of energy. Fat spares protein from being burned for energy.
  4. Fat is an important part of all cell membranes.
  5. Fat also transports the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) throughout the body.
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