Food additives that have been assessed are assigned E Numbers in the EU.
These appear on labels and lists of ingredients. E Numbers have, in the minds of many consumers, become a dirty word. However many natural, and perfectly harmless, substances are designated their own numbers. It is useful as a clear method of identification.
It can be slightly confusing, though, to read only the e number on a list of ingredients, without a description of the substance. The listing below may help in this regard.
E Number Index for Sweeteners is as follows:
E420 Sorbitol - Sugar Alcohol
E421 Mannitol - Sugar Alcohol
E422 Glycerol - Sugar Alcohol
E950 Acesulfame K - Artificial Sweetener
E951 Aspartame - Artificial Sweetener
E952 Cyclamate - Artificial Sweetener
E953 Isomalt - Sugar Alcohol
E954 Saccharin - Artificial Sweetener
E955 Sucralose - Artificial Sweetener
E956 Alitame - Artificial Sweetener
E957 Thaumatin - Natural Sweetener
E958 Glycyrrhizin - Natural Sweetener
E959 Neohesperidin DC - Artificial Sweetener
E960 Stevioside - Natural Sweetener
E961 Neotame - Artificial Sweetener
E962 Aspartame-acesulfame Salt - Artificial Sweetener
E965 Maltitol - Sugar Alcohol
E966 Lactitol - Sugar Alcohol
E967 Xylitol - Sugar Alcohol
E968 Erythritol - Sugar Alcohol
E969 Advantame - Artificial Sweetener
Twenty one sweeteners are currently assigned e numbers in the EU. Note that the list includes three natural sweeteners and ten artificial ones.
There are eight sugar alcohols (Polyols) on the list. Stevioside (an extract from the Stevia plant) is given E number 960. It was first approved in France, and has now been approved as a food additive throughout the EU. Truvia and PureVia both contain Stevioside and are now for sale in most supermarkets.
Glycyrrhizin (E958), is a natural sweetener, yet it has some reported side effects. Saccharin (E954) an artificial sweetener, has none, and appears to be safer!
Advantame is the newest addition to the list. It is the sweetest substance yet created, being 20,000 times as sweet as sugar.