Non-nutritive sweeteners are virtually calorie free.
Be careful when products use the term “natural” because “natural,” has no legal FDA definition. My doctor always says, “If you don’t pick it off a tree or a plant and eat it immediately…it’s not natural”.
My problem with most of the non-nutritive sweeteners is they haven’t been ingested all that long, so I don’t think we really know exactly how some of them can affect us. I was a kid when most of the non-nutritive sweeteners were approved and I am not even 60 years old. We will know more when people born in the 1970’s are retired and have used these products their entire life.
1965 Aspartame – Equal, NutraSweet – USA approved: 1981
1967 Acesulfame potassium – Sweet One, Sunette – USA approved: 1988
1976 Sucralose – Splenda – USA approved: 1998
1879 Saccharin – Sweet N’ Low, Sweet 10 – USA approved
Stevia (Rebaudioside A, a highly purified compound of stevia plant) – Truvia,Pure Via – USA approved 2008
Neotame – USA approved 2002 – not available for consumer use
Thaumatin or Talin is approved GRAS in United States: (used mostly abroad) found in the Katemfe fruit from West Africa.
Tagalose – approved 2003 in United States 1.5 calories per gram (sold as Tagetesse)
1980 Alitame (used in Canada)
Stevioside (Rebaudiana) from leaves of the Stevia plant
My concern is the length of time a person uses these sweeteners that are “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS), but are they? Do we know without a doubt? The only one that someone may have used for 70-80 years is Saccharin. The others are just too new. Most of these products have ADI (acceptable daily intakes) based on weight. Many of these may not be a problem for someone in adulthood or with an “adult weight” 100+ pounds, but for a child weighing 30-70 lbs., the “acceptable” level may be too much; One that I would not want to risk with my child.
Think twice before offering your child too many products filled with these alternative sweeteners.
Kids do not constantly need to be “tasting” sweetness, thus developing a “need” or “want” for it.