Human Beings Are Born Liking the Sensation of Sweetness.

by ADA

The claim that nutritive sweeteners have caused an increase in chronic disease (eg, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dental caries, behavioral disorders) is not substantiated but many consumers want the taste of sweetness without added energy.

Use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners -- Position of ADA J Am Diet Assoc. 1998;98:580-587.

Human beings are born liking the sensation of sweetness. A number of food ingredients stimulate this sensation by interacting with taste buds in the mouth and throat. The sweetening power of these ingredients varies with the properties of the food system, such as physical state, temperature, and the presence of other flavors. Furthermore, perception of sweet taste can be influenced by genetics, health status, and aging (1). Nutritive sweeteners provide a sweet taste and a source of energy; nonnutritive sweeteners are sweet without providing energy. The claim that nutritive sweeteners have caused an increase in chronic disease (eg, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dental caries, behavioral disorders) is not substantiated (2) but many consumers want the taste of sweetness without added energy. The food industry has responded to this demand by producing a number of energy-reduced or nonnutritive sweeteners.

POSITION STATEMENT

It is the position of The American Dietetic Association that consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners when consumed in moderation and within the context of a diet consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

TYPES OF SWEETENERS

Although sweeteners can be grouped a number of different ways, the grouping "nutritive" and "nonnutritive" acknowledges a difference in the amount of energy provided by sweeteners. Nutritive sweeteners include sugar sweeteners (eg, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, glucose, dextrose, corn sweeteners, honey, lactose, maltose, various syrups, invert sugars, concentrated fruit juice) and reduced-energy polyols or sugar alcohols (eg, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates). Nonnutritive sweeteners (eg, saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, and sucralose) offer no energy, and, as they sweeten with little volume, can also be referred to as high-intensity sweeteners. Both polyols and nonnutritive sweeteners can replace sugar sweeteners and are therefore termed macronutrient substitutes, sugar substitutes, sugar replacers, or alternative sweeteners.

Some sweeteners are considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) ingredients and others are considered food additives. These terms were defined by the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The 1958 amendment also states that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve the safety of all additives (3). The safety limit of food additives or conditions of use are expressed as the acceptable daily intake (ADI), that is, the estimated amount per kilogram body weight that a person can safely consume every day over a lifetime without risk. ADI is a conservative level--it usually reflects an amount 100 times less than the maximum level at which no observed adverse effect occurs in animal (very occasionally human being) studies. The ADI concept is used by FDA and the Joint Expert Committee of Food Additions (JECFA) of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization.

The Table provides a summary of the amount of energy provided, the regulatory status, and descriptions of the approved nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. Table Descriptions, other names, regulatory status, and amount of energy provided by nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners
Sweetener Kcal/g Regulatory status Other
names Description
Sucrose 4 GRASb Granulated: coarse,
regular, fine; powdered: confectioner's; brown:
turbinado, demerara; liquid: molasses Sweetens;
enhances flavor; tenderizes, allows browning, and enhances appearance in baking; adds characteristic flavor with unrefined sugar Fructose 4 GRAS High fructose corn syrups: 42%, 55%, 90% fructose; crystalline fructose: 99%

fructose Sweetens; functions like sucrose in baking. Some persons experience a laxative response from a load of fructose (greater than or equal to 20 g). May produce lower glycemic response than sucrose Polyols-monosaccharide

Sorbitol 2.6 GRAS (label must warn about a laxative effect) Same as chemical name 50% to 70% as sweet as sucrose. Some persons may experience a laxative effect from a load of sorbitol (greater than or equal to 50 g)

Mannitol 1.6 Permitted for use on an interim basis (label must warn about a laxative effect) Same as chemical name 50% to 70% as sweet as sucrose. Some persons may experience a laxative effect from a load of mannitol (greater than or equal to 20 g)

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