A new zero-calorie sweetener will soon hit store shelves, giving consumers more sugar substitute options to sweeten or add flavor to their foods, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced.
The new sweetener is called advatame, but does not yet have an official brand name. Advatame, along with other marketed sugar substitutes, are called high-intensity sweeteners “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).
Unlike sweeteners like sugar, honey or molasses, high-intensity sweeteners add few to no calories to the foods they flavor. In general, these sweeteners also do not raise blood sugar levels, making them a good option for people with diabetes.
Advatame was approved as a sweetener and flavor enhancer for foods such as baked goods, non-alcoholic beverages (such as soft drinks), chewing gum, confections and frostings, frozen desserts, gelatins and puddings, jams and jellies, processed fruits and fruit juices, toppings and syrups. It is not approved to be used with meat and poultry.
There are five high-intensity sweeteners currently approved for use in the United States. The first was saccharin, which was first discovered and used in 1879. Brand names include Sweet’N Low.
Aspartame was first approved in 1981, and includes the brand name Equal. Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), was approved in 1988 and is known by the brand name Sweet One. Sucralose was approved in 1998 under the brand name Splenda. The last high-intensity sweetener approved was neotame, known as Newtame, in 2002.
Plant or fruit-based high-intensity sweeteners currently on the market include certain steviol glycosides obtained from the leaves of the stevia plant, and extracts obtained from Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle fruit, nown as Lou Han Guo or monk fruit.
While these high-intensity sweeteners are considered safe for their intended uses, some people may be particularly sensitive and experience adverse reactions to one or all of these products. Consumers should talk with their doctors if they have any concerns about using sugar substitutes.
Any side effects associated with these sweeteners should be reported to the FDA MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program at www.FDA.gov/MedWatch/Report.htm.