Get the Skinny on Sugar Substitutes

Occurring naturally in places like sugarcane, sugar beets, and honey, sugar has long been the sweetener of choice. However, within the past half-century, other products have shown up next to sugar on grocery store shelves, touting their low-calorie advantages with the same or even sweeter taste. Sugar substitutes now line the shelves in a variety of forms. Take a look at some of the different kinds below.

  • Sucralose: Derived from sucrose – common table sugar – sucralose is sugar with a twist, literally! The chemical formula is altered by replacing 3 hydrogen-oxygen groups with chlorine atoms, which changes both the shape of the overall molecule and the way it interacts with the body. While remaining sweet, the molecule is not accumulated as extra energy the way sugar molecules are. Sucralose is potent – approximately 600 times sweeter than sucrose – and can be added as a liquid or solid in foods and beverages. Because sucralose passes through the body unimpeded, diabetic patients are able to consume sucralose with no worry when it is added to foods or drinks. Bacteria do not use sucralose as a food source either, so cavities do not form from eating foods with sucralose as a sweetener.

  • Aspartame: With its clean, sweet taste, aspartame enhances citrus and fruit flavors. Chewing gum containing aspartame remains sweet almost 4 times longer than similar gum containing sucrose. Much like sucralose, the chemical composition of aspartame (C13H18O5N2) causes it to flush from the body without being stored as an energy source. Therefore, diabetic patients are able to enjoy foods and beverages containing aspartame, and consumers will not suffer dental caries from consuming aspartame.

  • Stevia: A recent newcomer to the sugar substitute stage is stevia. Unlike other sugar substitutes, stevia is derived directly from a plant, much like how cane sugar is derived from sugarcane. The stevia plant, related to ragweed and daisies, has been used locally for hundreds of years in Paraguay and Brazil as an herb to sweeten foods, treat burns, and cure illnesses, such as colic and upset stomachs. With zero calories, stevia is 200 times sweeter than table sugar in the same concentration.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports in a 2012 interview that approximately 24% of adults and 12% of children use sugar substitutes, and that market is only continuing to expand. Keep up with the demand by ordering these food-grade ingredients and many others from Bell Chem, your Jacksonville chemical supplier. Bell Chem’s headquarters are located in Longwood, FL – just north of Orlando – with hundreds of products stocked in our 50,000+ square-foot warehouse. You can expect the highest quality products, expedited shipping options for maximum efficiency, and unrivaled personalized customer service. Let our knowledgeable and friendly customer service representatives and accounting staff handle all your needs by calling 407-339-BELL (2355) or send us an online message.