Sweeteners are very popular these days. But how healthy are they really? And can they really help you lose weight? You will find out in this blog!
What are sweeteners?
Sweeteners are substances added to foods to make them taste sweeter, without the addition of sugars. Sweeteners can be recognised by the E-number they are given. They can be found in soft drinks, yoghurt, juices, jam, etc. Sweeteners contain fewer calories than products with sugars and can also be obtained separately as sweeteners or in powder form.
“Sweeteners can give off the same taste as sugars”Chris Deprez – Patient Care Manager ECFS Obesity Solutions
2 Types of sweeteners
There are 2 types of sweeteners, namely intense sweeteners and extensive sweeteners. Let’s first take a closer look at the intensive sweeteners.
Intensive sweeteners have a stronger sweetening power than sugar. This means that they taste stronger than sugar. They provide little to no calories and are usually produced artificially in a factory. Examples of intensive sweeteners are: Aspartame, Saccharin and Stevia. More on these later in this blog.
Extensive sweeteners have a lower or equal sweetening power than sugar. They provide up to 2x fewer calories than sugar. Various extensive sweeteners occur in nature. Examples of extensive sweeteners are: Malitol, Lactitol and Sorbitol.
Sweeteners in a diet
Many people consume products in which the sugars are replaced by sweeteners when following a diet. In the short term, this can certainly be a solution. For the time being, there is no clear evidence that sweeteners can contribute to weight control and better health in the long term. It is therefore not advisable to consume products with sweeteners instead of sugars for life. An excess of sweeteners can also be very unhealthy for the body.
Our Patient Care Manager Chris talks about sweeteners:
Sweeteners can give off the same taste as sugar. The taste creates a certain dependency. The craving for the sweet taste does not change by replacing sugar with sweeteners. Overconsumption can occur due to the desire for sweetness and the idea that sweeteners are healthier. It is therefore not recommended to replace sugars by sweeteners for life. However, it is allowed to occasionally reach for light soft drinks or other products with sweeteners.
How many sweeteners can I consume?
As mentioned above, it is not forbidden to occasionally consume products rich in sweeteners. However, you should always take care not to consume too many sweeteners.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has established an ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake). This means that a maximum daily quantity of a substance has been established that can be consumed for a long time without harmful effects on health.
|Aspartame||E951||40 mg/kg body weight|
|Saccharin||E954||5 mg/kg body weight|
|Stevia||E950||4 mg/kg body weight|
Most common intensive sweeteners
Aspartame (E951) is a protein consisting of 2 amino acids. Aspartame is approximately 200 times stronger in taste than sugar. It provides no calories and is made synthetically from natural ingredients. Aspartame is used in many things such as chewing gum, yoghurt drinks, ice cream, light jam …
Saccharin (E954) is the oldest artificial sweetener. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar and is often used in combination with other sweeteners. Saccharin is used in toothpaste to improve its taste. It is also found in light soft drinks and gherkins.
Stevia (E960) is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Due to its bitter taste, Stevia is often combined with other sweeteners. Stevia is heat-resistant and can therefore be used in more things. It is produced from the leaves of stevia plants. Stevia is found in sweets, liquorice and table-top sweeteners.