Understanding Sugar Substitutes and Their Role in Healthy Eating

A sugar substitute is a food additive that provides a sweet taste similar to sugar but with fewer calories or different metabolic effects.
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Nutrition | Dietetics | Food Science | Artificial Sweeteners | Healthy Eating Alternatives
Prepared by Lee Cheng, reviewed by Jane Cox

Sugar Substitute FAQ

What is a sugar substitute?

Sugar substitutes are used in place of sugar to enhance the flavor or add sweetness to foods and beverages. They typically have far fewer calories and are significantly sweeter than sugar, meaning that you only need a very small amount to achieve the same level of sweetness. Sugar substitutes are typically plant or chemical-based.

Can you replace added sugar with sugar substitutes?

If you replace added sugar with sugar substitutes, it could lower your risk of getting tooth decay and cavities. Sugar substitutes also don't raise the level of sugar in the blood. For adults and children with overweight or obesity, sugar substitutes also might help manage weight in the short term.

Are sugar substitutes healthy?

Although sugar substitutes have fewer calories than sugar, it’s best to limit them and focus on healthy food choices. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains are the best sources of nutrition for your body. How can I tell if a food or drink contains a sugar substitute?

Sugar Substitute References

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