We are all aware of the harmful consequences of consuming too much sugar. Therefore, sugar substitutes or sweeteners are becoming more and more popular. But are they really better?
These additives give food products a sweet taste without providing as many calories as sugar. There are two main categories of sweeteners.
- Intensive sweeteners, which have a much stronger sweetening power (50 to 3000 times) than sugar, so you don’t need much. These additives contain little or no calories. Among them: stevia, aspartame, acesulfame-K, saccharin and sucralose.
- Extensive sweeteners have less sweetening power than sugar, but provide about half the calories. They are often used to prepare chewing gum, pastries and cookies. Among them: maltitol, lactitol, sorbitol, xylitol and erythritol.
Sweeteners differ not only in sweetness but also in taste and chemical properties. Thus, some sweeteners are not resistant to high temperatures and therefore are not suitable for cooking. In fact, combinations of sweeteners are often used in preparations. Sugar and a sweetener are also often combined into a single product, for example in carbonated drinks or milk drinks, to reduce the calorie content but retain the taste of sugar as much as possible.
Sweeteners are pretty healthy, but consume them in moderation. It’s better to get rid of too much sweetness than replace sugar with all kinds of additives.
Products containing high doses of sweetener must display the statement “excessive consumption may have a laxative effect”.