Types of sweetener

It is possible to categorize all sweeteners into 6 groups:

1. Sugars
2. Sugar Alcohols
3. Natural Caloric Sweeteners
4. Natural Zero Calorie Sweeteners
5. Modified Sugars
6. Artificial Sweeteners

Nearly all types of sweetener fall into these 6 categories. A few such as Inulin could be considered as sugar fibers, but they could also fall under the Sugar heading.

1. Sugars.
These are carbohydrates and contain 4 calories per gram. They are found naturally in many foods including fruit, vegetables, cereals and milk. They can be harmful to teeth and tend to have a high glycemic index.

The most common are:
Sucrose, Glucose, Dextrose, Fructose, Lactose, Maltose, Galactose and Trehalose.


2. Sugar Alcohols
Like sugars these are carbohydrates and occur naturally, though in small amounts, in plants and cereals. They typically contain fewer calories per gram than sugar and do not cause tooth decay. Because they are carbohydrates, they should have 4 calories per gram. However the body is unable to fully metabolize them, and consequently they tend to have fewer available calories per gram. The downside of this is that they can cause cramps or bloating if taken in excess. They are harmless to teeth and tend to have a very low glycemic index.

The most common are:
Sorbitol, Xylitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Erythritol, Isomalt, Lactitol, Glycerol


3. Natural Caloric Sweeteners
These are the oldest known sweeteners and include honey and maple syrup. They contain sugar but also other nutritive qualities. They tend to have a somewhat lower glycemic index than sugar, but still need to be taken in moderation as they can be detrimental to health in large quantities. They can also be harmful to teeth.

They include:
Honey, Maple Syrup, Coconut Palm Sugar and Sorghum Syrup.




4. Natural Zero Calorie Sweeteners
These are not carbohydrates and contain little or no calories. It is only in recent years that interest has grown in these as a better alternative to artificial sweeteners. They have zero glycemic index and are harmless to teeth. Like artificial sweeteners they can have an aftertaste.

They include:
Luo Han Guo, Stevia, Thaumatin, Pentadin, Monellin, Brazzein.


5. Modified Sugars.
These are typically sugars produced by converting starch using enzymes. The list also includes sugars that have been modified such as caramel or golden syrup. They tend to have a high glycemic index and can be harmful to teeth. They are often used in cooking or in processed foods.

A few are:
High Fructose Corn Syrup, Refiners Syrup, Caramel , Inverted Sugar, Golden Syrup.


6. Artificial Sweeteners.
There are many types on the market and some appear to be safer than others. They have been in use in America and Europe for over 120 years. They have zero glycemic index and are harmless to teeth.

The most common are:
Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin, Neotame, Acesulfame K, Cyclamate.


More detailed information on all the above types of sweetener and more can be found on the All Sweetener List. Click Here



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