Nutrition and You!

FDA Approves New Sugar Substitute

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Are you trying to cut down on your sugar intake but still want to sweeten your ice tea, cereal, coffee, or plain Greek yogurt? If so, you can use the blue packet (Equal or Sweet One), the yellow packet (Splenda), or the pink packet (Sweet N’Low), all of which do not add any sweet calories to your foods. Soon there will be a new kid on the block, advantame, which doesn’t have a brand name (such as Sweet’N Low, a brand name for saccharin, or Equal, a brand name for aspartame) as yet.

All of these sugar substitutes are considered high-intensity sweeteners that are FDA-approved food additives. "Sugar substitutes are called ‘high-intensity’ because small amounts pack a large punch when it comes to sweetness,” says Captain Andrew Zajac, U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), director of the Division of Petition Review at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since they also do not raise blood glucose levels, they can be used by individuals with diabetes who are trying to better manage their sugar intake.

Advantame has been approved as a sweetener and flavor enhancer in baked goods, soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages, confections, gum, frosting, frozen desserts, gelatins and puddings, processed fruits and fruit juices, toppings, and syrups. It has also been approved for use as a sweetener in Australia and New Zealand.

“In determining the safety of advantame, FDA reviewed data from 37 animal and human studies designed to identify possible toxic (harmful) effects, including effects on the immune, reproductive and developmental, and nervous systems,” Zajac says. After conducting a thorough assessment, FDA concluded that advantame is safe for human consumption in the above food products.

Interestingly, advantame is chemically related to aspartame and contains the amino acid, phenylalanine. Since some individuals should avoid or restrict the use of aspartame because it contains this amino acid, FDA evaluated whether these individuals should avoid or restrict advantame as well. Since advantame is 20,000 times sweeter than table sugar and 100 times sweeter than aspartame, a little goes a long way. According to the FDA, advantame is so sweet that a person would use only a small amount so the phenylalanine intake would be negligible.

For more on this new sugar substitute, click here.

I am wondering what the color of the advantame packet will be.

Be well, Joan

Follow Joan on Twitter: @JoanSalgeBlake

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