We use a variety of different sweeteners in our range of more than 120 products in New Zealand, including low- and no-kilojoule beverages.
Low-kilojoule sweeteners are sometimes called sugar substitutes, non-nutritive sweeteners or intense sweeteners because their sweetness is so potent ― ranging from 200-600 times the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar). That means a little goes a long way. This is why foods with sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and stevia can taste sweet but contain few or no kilojoules.
To help you choose the taste to suit you, we’ve provided a low-down on the sweeteners we use in our products.
#1 Satisfy a sweet tooth
Everybody loves a sweet taste; a dab of honey, a dusting of sugar.
Alternative sweeteners mean we don’t have to give up the tastes we love. Low- and no-kilojoule sweeteners can maintain the sweetness and increase the pleasure of eating* without contributing significantly to kilojoule intake.
*(Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics 2012)
# 2 Sweeteners may help control kilojoule intake for weight management…
Taking control of our kilojoule intake may help with weight management. When substituted for nutritive sweeteners (such as sugar), low- and no-kilojoule sweeteners can help limit carbohydrate and energy intake as part of a strategy to manage weight*.
*(Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics 2012)
# 3 Less Can Be More…
Most low- and no-kilojoule sweeteners are 200-600 times sweeter than sucrose with fewer kilojoules. This means you only need a tiny amount to replace regular sugar.
# 4 Are thoroughly tested
A large body of scientific evidence confirms their safety from regulatory organisations including Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), (MPI) the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee of Food Additives (JECFA), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
#5 Can be suitable for people with diabetes
Low- and no-kilojoule sweeteners provide a useful tool for people with diabetes seeking to manage their blood sugar levels.
The Who’s Who of Sweeteners
Acesulphame Potassium (Ace-K) (Sunette®)
Acesulphame Potassium was discovered in 1967. Acesulphame Potassium tastes 200 times sweeter than table sugar and is often found in table top sweeteners, desserts, puddings, baked, goods, soft drinks, confectionery and canned foods.
Aspartame (Equal®, NutraSweet®)
Discovered in 1965, aspartame is one of the most thoroughly researched ingredients in the world, with more than 200 scientific studies consistently confirming its safety. Made from two naturally occurring amino acids, it has been approved for use by numerous global authorities* Aspartame is 180–200 times sweeter than table sugar and often replaces it in sparkling beverages, chewing gum, gelatins, confectionery, desserts, yoghurts and sugar-free cough drops.
Aspartame contains phenylalanine and should not be consumed by people with the rare genetic disorder, phenylketonuria.
*Including: the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); World Health Organisation (WHO); Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA); the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Saccharin (Sweet N Low®, Sugarine®)
Saccharin has been around since 1879. It was used during sugar shortages, increasing in popularity during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than table sugar and is often used in jams, jelly, soup bases, chewing gum, canned fruit, dessert toppings and salad dressings.
Stevia (PureVia®, Equal Stevia®)
Stevia, a sweetener with zero kilojoules, is obtained from the leaf of the stevia plant. The stevia plant from the chrysanthemum family is native to Paraguay and has been used in South America for hundreds of years. Its leaf is a unique source of intense, natural sweetness.
Sucralose is derived from sugar and was first created in 1976 It’s 600 times sweeter than table sugar and mostly found in confectionery, table top sweeteners and sparkling beverages.
Understanding low- and no-kilojoule sweeteners used in our products
To learn more about the nutritional value of our products including kilojoule information, be sure to check out our Beverage Comparison Tool.
It’s important to understand that the information provided in this guide is general, so you should consult a practicing dietitian or your GP if you are concerned about your diet and weight.