People naturally like the sensation of “sweetness.” There are foods naturally sweet that contain important nutrients to support health. These include:

• Fruit
• Breast milk

Other benefits of sweet foods include:

• Offering a pleasurable addition to a meal or snack
• Helping to mask unpleasant tastes

The sweet taste perception and liking for sweetness varies in different individuals, which could be related to genetics. Older people may show elevated sweet thresholds or a depressed sensitivity, but report the sweetness of concentrated sweeteners equal to younger people.

The liking for sweet taste is natural, although the preferred level of sweetness varies due to a number of factors which may include:

• Taste genetics
• Exposure during childhood
• Diabetes
• Being fed or fasted

We enjoy a wide range of choice in artificial sweeteners offered by food suppliers. There are two kinds of artificial sweeteners. They are:

1. nutritive sweeteners
2. nonnutritive sweeteners

Nutritive sweeteners provide a sweet taste and a source of energy. The nonnutritive sweeteners are sweet without energy.

Due to the rise in obesity rates globally there is great interest in dietary factors that cause energy intake to exceed energy expenditure. The existing evidence does not support claims that diets high in nutritive sweeteners “by themselves” have caused an increase in obesity rates or other chronic conditions that include:

• hyperlipidemia
• diabetes
• dental caries
• behavioral disorders

People who want the taste of sweetness without added energy often select nonnutritive sweeteners to help in the management of weight, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Other potential benefits of nonnutritive artificial sweeteners include:

• assistance in dental health
• dietary quality

Due to the consumer’s high demand of nonnutritive artificial sweeteners, scientists have developed, researched and produced a number of energy-reduced or nonnutritive artificial sweeteners.

The position of the American Dietetic Association is that consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and nonnutritive artificial sweeteners when consumed within a diet that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary References Intakes, as well as individual health goals.

The use of nutritive and nonnutritive artificial sweeteners is evaluated by several governing bodies throughout the world which include:

• Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States
• Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) of the European Commission
• Joint Expert Committee of Food Additions (JECFA) of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization
• The World Health Organization (WHO)

Nonnutritive artificial sweeteners considered and recognized as safe as defined by the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act include:

• Saccharin
• Aspartame
• Acesulfame
• Sucralose
• Neotame

Source: The American Dietetic Association

Disclaimer: *This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem and especially before beginning any kind of an exercise routine.

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box. 5-2007

Author's Bio: 

Visit and sign up for a weekly nutrition and health tip. The article collection is available as FREE reprints for your newsletters, websites or blog. Visit to purchase an array of superior quality, safe and effective products inspired by nature, informed by science and created to improve the health of people, pets and the planet.