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Artificial Sweeteners - Safety and Information

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Updated February 02, 2014

Artificial sweeteners are controversial.There are concerns about the safety of these products. Here's a list of the most common zero-calorie sweeteners with links to articles that explore the background and safety issues.

Saccharin

Saccharin is the oldest of the artificial sweeteners. It's not as popular as it used to be, but it's still found in some foods, and in little pink packets of Sweet'N Low. Learn more about saccharin.

Aspartame

Aspartame has replaced saccharin in popularity because it doesn't have the same strong bitter aftertaste. Some people worry that aspartame may be bad for your health, but so far the only scientifically validated problems are potential for being a migraine trigger, and it can't be used by people who have phenylketonuria. Learn more about aspartame.

Sucralose

Sucralose is similar in structure to table sugar because it's made by chemically altering sugar molecules. That simple alteration makes it difficult for your body to absorb much of it so it passes through your digestive system unchanged. Learn more about sucralose.

Neotame

Neotame is fairly new compared to the other artificial sweeteners so it's not as well-known. It's similar to aspartame, but much sweeter, so even less of it is needed to sweeten foods and beverages. Learn more about neotame.

Acesulfame-K

Like neotame, Acesulfame-K is not as well-known as the other zero-calorie sweeteners, but you may find it listed on the ingredients portion of the Nutrition Facts labels for a few diet foods.  Learn more about acesulfame-K.

Stevia

Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener made from a component of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It's only recently been approved for use as a sweetener in the United States, but it's been commercially available as a dietary supplement for years. Learn more about stevia.
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