What It Is:
Acesulfame Potassium, or Acesulfame-K, is sold under the names Sunett and Sweet One. The letter K stands for potassium
, and it has a structure that's similar to saccharin
. It's about 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar, so very little is needed to sweeten foods, so acesulfame potassium adds no calories to foods.
What It Is Not:
Acesulfame-K is not toxic and it is not a source of dietary potassium. After absorption, almost all the molecules remain unchanged and are excreted in the urine.
How To Use It:
Acesulfame-K is heat-stable and often combined with other sweeteners. It's been approved for general use in foods and is found in many food products worldwide. However, in the United States it is not as popular as sucralose and aspartame.
Acesulfame-K has been shown to be safe in more than 90 studies by the FDA and the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives.
Acesulfame Potassium has been blamed for causing tumors in rats. However, the overwhelming majority of studies show it to be safe. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
considers acesulfame-K safe when used as part of a healthy eating plan.
Other No-Calorie Sweeteners:
Several artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners are available:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: appropriate use of nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners." J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Feb;104(2):255-275.
United States Food and Drug Administration. "Artificial Sweeteners: No Calories ... Sweet!" July 2006.