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A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners.

An important class of sugar substitutes are known as high-intensity sweeteners. These are compounds with sweetness that is many times that of sucrose, common table sugar. As a result, much less sweetener is required, and energy contribution often negligible. The sensation of sweetness caused by these compounds (the "sweetness profile") is sometimes notably different from sucrose, so they are often used in complex mixtures that achieve the most natural sweet sensation.

If the sucrose (or other sugar) replaced has contributed to the texture of the product, then a bulking agent is often also needed. This may be seen in soft drinks labelled as "diet" or "light," which contain artificial sweeteners and often have notably different mouth feel, or in table sugar replacements that mix maltodextrins with an intense sweetener to achieve satisfactory texture sensation.

Some non-sugar sweeteners are polyols, also known as "sugar alcohols." These are, in general, less sweet than sucrose, but have similar bulk properties and can be used in a wide range of food products. Sometimes the sweetness profile is 'fine-tuned' by mixing with high-intensity sweeteners. As with all food products, the development of a formulation to replace sucrose is a complex proprietary process. There is some ongoing controversy over whether artificial sweetener usage poses health risks.

Sweeteners Info


E420 Sorbitol and Sorbitol Syrup

E421 Mannitol

E950 Acesulfame K


E951 Aspartame


E952 Cyclamic Acid and its Na and Ca salts

E953 lsomalt

E954 Saccharin and its Na, K and Ca salts


E955 Sucralose


E957 Thaumatin

E959 Neohesperidine DC

E962 Salt of Aspartame-Acesulfame

E965 Maltitol and Maltitol Syrup

E966 Lactitol

E967 Xylitol

E968 Erythritol

E961 Neotame

E960 Stevia Glycoside

E964 Polyglycitol Syrup

E969 Advantame