Nutritive and Non-Nutritive Sweetners

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Nutritive and Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

Today, artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are found in a variety of food and beverages marketed as "sugar-free" or "diet," including things such as soft drinks, chewing gum, baked goods, and candy. Because these sweeteners are so prominent in our diet, it raises concern as to whether these sweeteners are a healthy alternative to natural sugar. There are many types of sugar substitutes. Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes derived from naturally occurring substances, including herbs or sugar itself. These are known as intense sweeteners because they are many times sweeter than regular sugar. Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that occur naturally in certain fruits and vegetables, but can be manufactured. These aren't considered non-caloric or non-nutritive sweeteners because they contain calories, but they're lower in calories than regular sugar, making them an attractive alternative (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2012). Novel sweeteners are combinations of various types of sweeteners. Novel sweeteners, such as stevia, are hard to fit into one particular category because they are new; the production and ingredients are still unstandardized. Finally, natural sweeteners occur naturally: foods like honey, lemon or molasses that sweeten food and drinks (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2012). There have been several studies on whether sugar or artificial sweeteners are more beneficial. The no-calorie sweeteners sound like a good idea, but some research suggests that they don't ultimately help people lose weight; we tend to make up the calories elsewhere in our diet (Fernstrom, Munger, Sclafani, de Araujo, Roberts & Molinary, 2012). Schools have also joined the fad of non-nutritive s...

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