Sugar Substitutes --
Can You Enjoy Sweets Without Getting (As) Fat?

What are sugar substitutes?

Natural and synthetic additives that taste like sugar but contain less food energy.

What are the various sub classes of these substitutes?

  1. Synthetics -- These sweeteners have basically no food value. They include aspartame (found in Equal); saccharin (found in Sweet 'N Low); sucralose (found in Splenda); as well as less common chemicals like dulcin, P4000, and alitame.

  2. Natural Sweeteners -- These substitutes include Xylitol, Stevia, Sorbitol, Inulin, and Maltitol.

  3. Sugar Alcohols -- Also known as polyols, these sweeteners are often used in low carb diet bars, candies, and ice creams.

Why are sugar substitutes considered preferable to real sugar?

Theoretically, they’re more difficult to digest than sugars, so they shouldn’t cause post-prandial insulin spikes. That said, the research on these compounds is ongoing, and the precise effects these sweeteners have on appetite and digestion are debated.

What are the theorized benefits of sweeteners?

  • Since they typically contain few calories and carbs, they can be used in diet plans of practically every stripe.
  • They may be helpful in potentially warding off sugar-related diseases, such as tooth decay, cavities, reactive hypoglycemia and type 2 diabetes.
  • They allow individuals transitioning from typical American high-carb diets to controlled-carb diets (like Atkins) to enjoy treats and desserts.
Are there dangers associated with these substitutes?

Certain substitutes, such as Cyclamate, have been banned by the FDA for potential carcinogenic effect.

But nutritional science in general has not conducted the kinds of double-blind long-term clinical trials that might help us verify or disclaim our diet-related fears.

Return from Sugar Substitutes to Glossary

Sign up for my FREE report and email series. Finally, get CLARITY on all your calorie-related questions :)