Nutrition Articles

All About Artificial Sweeteners

The Lowdown on Zero-Calorie Sugar Substitutes

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Saccharin goes by the brand names Necta Sweet, Sugar Twin and Sweet 'N Low.
  • 200-700 times sweeter than sugar
  • 0 calories per gram
  • Heat stable (can be used in cooking and baking)
  • Produces no glycemic response
  • ADI: 15 mg/kg body weight per day
Stevia (Rebaudioside A) goes by the names PureVia, Sun Crystals and Truvia. It is a steviol glycoside, one component of the stevia plant that provides sweetness. Click here for SparkPeople's in-depth article on stevia.
  • 250-300 times sweeter than sugar
  • 0 calories and 0 carbohydrates per gram
  • ADI: 0-4 mg/kg body weight per day
  • Metabolized by the body into steviol, which is not absorbed in the blood and therefore leaves the body unchanged
Sucralose goes by the brand name Splenda.
  • 600 times sweeter than sugar
  • 0 calories per gram
  • Heat stable (can be used in cooking and baking)
  • Produces no glycemic response
  • ADI: 5mg/kg body weight per day
  • Poorly absorbed and excreted unchanged
Sugar substitutes can offer calorie-conscious consumers a way to enjoy the taste of sweetness with little or no calories and no glycemic response. They may assist in weight management, blood glucose control, and the prevention of dental caries. Foods sweetened with sugar substitutes are lower in calories than food sweetened with caloric sweeteners and can be one component of a weight loss program. But remember, you need to control calories in your entire eating plan to lose weight. Removing the sugar from a soda, cookie or candy bar does not turn it into a health food. Without monitoring your portion size, you can still get too many calories and zero nutritional benefits from foods and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners.

At SparkPeople, we acknowledge and respect each member's personal choice to either incorporate sugar substitutes into their diets or not. We will continue to stay on top of the most current food and nutrition research and disseminate this information to our members when available.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

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