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Artificial Sweetener Reference Chart

Five Sweeteners Approved by the FDA


Updated June 25, 2014

Artificial Sweetener Reference Chart

Photo by Sanja Gjenero

Are you looking to cut calories? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Americans eat an average of 20 teaspoons of sugar a day. Most of this sugar is hidden in the foods we buy. Sugar is found in obviously sweet foods, like sodas and packaged baked goods, and also in the not-so-obvious, like spaghetti sauces and canned soups. Artificial sweeteners can reduce calorie intake and help weight loss efforts.

Artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than sugar that very small amounts are needed to create a sweet taste. That is what minimizes the calories of the sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners contribute almost no carbohydrates to foods, so people with diabetes can enjoy their favorite foods without affecting blood glucose levels. Currently, five FDA approved artificial sweeteners on the market.


Saccharin is the oldest artificial sweetener, developed in 1879. It is 200 to 700 times sweeter than sugar. After being suspected of causing bladder cancer in rats in 1972, many studies were done which ultimately disproved any link to cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, "Human epidemiology studies (studies of patterns, causes, and control of diseases in groups of people) have shown no consistent evidence that saccharin is associated with bladder cancer incidence." Saccharin has been considered safe for human consumption since 2002 and is marketed under the brand names SweetN' Low, Sweet Twin and Necta Sweet.


Aspartame was approved by the FDA in 1981. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Its chemical compound breaks down into a substance known as phenylalanine. This can pose a danger for people who have Phenylketonuria, (PKU) but overall, aspartame is considered safe for the general public. Equal and Nutrasweet are the brand names for aspartame.


Acesulfame-K was approved in 1988 as a "tabletop sweetener" and in 2003 as a general purpose sweetener. It is not metabolized by the body, which means that no calories are absorbed when eaten. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is marketed under the brand names, Sweet One and Sunett. It is frequently blended with other artificial sweeteners.


Sucralose comes from sugar, but it is 600 times sweeter. It isn't absorbed by the body, so it does not add calories to foods. In 1999, it was approved as a general purpose sweetener. It can also be used in home baking to reduce calories in homemade foods. The brand name for sucralose is Splenda.


Neotame is a cousin to aspartame, and is 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar. It was approved in 2002 as a general purpose sweetener. Although it is related to aspartame, it doesn't carry the same warning about phenylalanine, because a minimal amount of phenylalanine is produced during digestion. Neotame is not marketed under any brand names yet.


"Artificial Sweeteners: No Calories... Sweet!" FDA Consumer Magazine Vol. 40, Number 4, July-August 2006 20 Apr 2007.

"Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer: Questions and Answers." National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet. 05 Oct 2006. National Cancer Institute. 20 Apr 2007.

Artificial Sweetener Reference Chart

Saccharin Sweet'N Low, Sweet Twin, Necta Sweet, Equal 200-700 times sweeter than sugar Tabletop sweetener, beverages, baked goods, jams, gum. Heat stable1879
Aspartame Nutrasweet 200 x sweeter than sugar In processed foods and beverages Not heat stable1981
Acesulfame-KSunett, Sweet One 200 times sweeter than sugar General purpose Heat stable to 392 degrees F 1998
SucraloseSplenda600 times sweeter than sugarGeneral purposeCan be used in home baking1998
NeotameNo brand name7,000 - 13,000 times sweeter than sugarGeneral purposeSimilar to aspartame2002

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