Sweeteners in General
In most countries the following are used as table-top sweeteners:
Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin, Cyclamate, Sucralose, Neohesperdineand Thaumatin,
The sweetening strength of sweeteners is considerably greater than that of sugar and yet they have a very low nutritive value (calorie count) or no calories at all.
Aspartame was discovered in 1965. Aspartame is about 200 times sweeter than sugar and is a low-calorie sweetener. However, its sweetening power is so intense that very little is needed and Aspartame can be regarded as virtually calorie free.
The amino acids that make up Aspartame are present in most protein foodstuffs, e.g. meat, cereals, milk products and vegetables.
Acesulfame-K, discovered in 1967, is 130 - 200 times sweeter than sugar and is calorie free.
Particularly when combined with other low-calorie sweeteners, Acesulfame-K has a good synergistic effect, i.e. these combinations of sweeteners are more balanced and taste better than any individual sweetener on its own.
The sweetener saccharin was discovered as far back as 1879. Since the turn of the century, it has been used commercially for sweetening food and drinks.
Saccharin is about 300 - 500 times sweeter than sugar, yet has no calories.
Cyclamate was discovered in 1937. Cyclamate is about 30 to 40 times sweeter than sugar and also has no calories.
Sucralose was discovered in 1976. From 1980 onwards joint technical development by Tate & Lyle and McNeil Speciality Products (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson).
Sucralose is made from sugar and is about 600 times sweeter than sugar.
Thaumatin was discovered in the middle of the nineteenth century. Thaumatin is obtained from a plant (Thaumatococcus Danieli), native in West Africa.
It is the only natural sweetener approved in the EU and is about 2000-3000 sweeter than sugar. The substance is often used for its flavour modifying properties and not as a sweetener.
Discovered in 1963. At customary concentration, Neohesperidine is about 400 - 600 times sweeter than sugar.
Stevioside is not yet approved for use in the EU and in many other countries. It is derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. The Stevia plant originates in South America, but it is also grown in several Asian countries where it is in widespread use.
Available only in Australia, Switzerland, Frrance!
Neotame is a high-intensity sweetener with a sweetness intensity up to 8'000 times that of sugar.
At present, Neotame is approved in the USA and some other countries, but not yet in the EU.