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Intense sweeteners, also known as non-caloric sweeteners, artificial sweeteners or just sweeteners, are used to provide sweetness of taste without the calories.
There are many types of intense sweeteners including aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K, neotame, neohesperidine DC, cyclamates and saccharin.
Only approved sweeteners may be used in food and drink products and they are subjected to a lengthy and vigorous evaluation procedure before such approval is given. A consumer benefit must also be shown before a sweetener is added to the permitted list of sweeteners.
In the EU the European Food Safety Authority must provide a scientific assessment on all sweeteners. Safety assessments are also carried out by numerous national and international food safety authorities including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as regulatory agencies in many countries worldwide.
Intense Sweeteners and Soft Drinks
Intense sweeteners are used in no- and low-calorie soft drinks in order to provide sweetness without calories.
Soft drinks sweetened with intense sweeteners can play a useful role in helping people to manage their calorie intake as a part of a sensible and healthy lifestyle. Some 40% of soft drinks sales in the EU are in the no- or low-calorie category.
The soft drinks industry is always seeking to improve its offering to consumers by developing alternative products using new sweeteners which satisfy the demands of consumers to be excellent tasting, natural and low in calories. New sweeteners can only be used after approval has been obtained from the EU Commission based on the food safety authority’s assessment.