Due to the sharp increase in sugar consumption since the beginning of the 20th century, nutritionists believe that it is desirable to have some control over sugar consumption. This is necessary for people suffering from diseases such as diabetes, obesity (overweight) and candida, and it is important for dental health in general.
For these reasons, consumers and producers are looking for artificial sweeteners, which do not, or to a much lesser extent, entail the disadvantages of sugars. They are therefore more tooth-friendly, have lower energy value and are better suited for diabetics.
Main groups of artificial sweeteners
This search has led to the development of artificial sweeteners, which can be divided into two main groups:
- Intensive sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame-K, saccharin, cyclamate, thaumatin and neotame. These are also called non-calorific artificial sweeteners. These products are 30-300 times sweeter than saccharose (ordinary granulated sugar) and generally do not cause caries.
- Bulk sweeteners, or polyols such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomatol, maltitol, lactitol. These are also called the calorific artificial sweeteners. They are sweet or even less sweet than sugar and in particular take over the bulk and texture function of sugar. They also have an energy value that is lower or equal to that of sugar.
To get a good taste profile a combination of artificial sweeteners is often used. The artificial sweeteners are used in all kinds of products, including sweets, syrups, drinks, dessert products, confectionery, snacks, jam, ice cream, baked goods, etc.
Artificial sweeteners in the news
Artificial sweeteners have often been in the news in recent years and not to highlight their positive properties. The artificial sweeteners that are nowadays used in all kinds of products are often tooth-friendly and have few calories, but those properties are overshadowed by the many negative properties. The food products, supported by the pharmaceutical industry and the government, are still getting away with it because the negative properties of artificial sweeteners have not been proven.
Natural sweetener Stevia
Since the end of 2011, a new natural sweetener has entered the European market. The name of the new sweetener is stevia and comes from the plant stevia rebaudiana.
Aware of alternative sweeteners?
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