What is the difference between nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners?

Nutritive sweeteners offer nutrition, like it says in the word, that you would get through corn syrup, agave, fruit, easily fruit to sweeten. They offer other things than just the sweetness like vitamins and minerals, whereas nonnutritive like Trulia or Aspartame offer no or low calories but no other benefits of vitamins or minerals. 

Both nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners are added to food to enhance its flavor, but they are both very different types of additions to food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Nutritive sweeteners provide energy to the body by way of carbohydrates, according to the USDA. Some types of nutritive sweeteners are added to foods during processing or preparation to make food taste better or to help it last longer.

Some other kinds of nutritive sweeteners are naturally found in foods, according to the USDA. With these sweeteners – such as fructose found in fruit – the body gains not only the fructose but also the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are all also in the fruit.

Agave, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, sucrose, and table sugar are all examples of nutritive sweeteners, according to the USDA.

Nonnutritive sweeteners are alternatives to nutritive sweeteners that add little or no calories to your diet when they are used to sweeten foods and drinks, according to the USDA.

These sweeteners are sweeter than sugar and only need to be used in small amounts, according to the USDA.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following types of nonnutritive sweeteners:

  • acesulfame-K (branded as Sweet One)
  • aspartame (branded as NutraSweet and Equal)
  • neotame
  • saccharin (branded as Sweet’N Low)
  • sucralose (branded as Splenda)
  • stevia (branded as Truvia and PureVia)

Talk to your doctor for more information about nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners.

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