A limited number of non-nutritive artificial sweeteners are permitted for use in the UK and the US but there are many more available around the world. They have virtually no calories and do not affect blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. The main concern is their safety. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates artificial sweeteners as food additives and as such the FDA in approving these low calorie sweeteners also publish an acceptable daily intake (ADI) considered safe for each sweetener. The inference therefore is that they are safe and as a result these sweeteners are used in a variety of manufactured sugar free low calorie foods and drinks. 

Aspartame (NutraSweet or Equal) is 200 times as sweet as sugar but it does not taste exactly like sugar. Despite many controversial research reports aspartame continues to be widely available in the US and EU markets. Sucralose (Splenda) is 600 times as sweet as sugar and unlike many other sweeteners, it is stable when heated and can therefore be used in baked foods. Controversy here surfaced regarding false advertising claims. The advertising slogan 'made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar' was banned by the French courts.

Saccharin (Sweet'N Low) is about 400 times as sweet as sugar but is said to have a bitter aftertaste. Concern about saccharin resulted after it was shown to cause bladder cancer in rats although the mechanism by which it does this is not found in humans. Saccharin continues to be approved by the FDA and used in many other countries while there are other countries that have exerted an outright ban. Acesulfame K (Sweet One) is approved for use in the US and the UK and is often used in the diet soft drinks industry. Cyclamate is also permitted in the UK and in many other countries but not in the US. The FDA banned the sale of cyclamate after research studies indicated a possible link with bladder cancer.

Fizzy Drinks and Fruit juice ‘The News story’
The News Story: Fizzy drinks and fruit juice cause Type 2 diabetes, opting for plain water might pre... more
Laser treatment for retinopathy
It always important when you are a diabetic to maintain good blood glucose and blood pressure contro... more
Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
Heart attacks and stroke are by far the most frequent cause of premature death with patients in diab... more
Nutrition and diabetes
In the past patients have been given a prescription called a diabetic diet with many foods banned. ... more
Kidneys and diabetes Kidney Disease (nephropathy)
Diabetes represents the commonest cause of kidney failure in the Western World, Normal functioning ... more
Feet and Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
We often forget about the importance of foot care. But simply having diabetes greatly increases the ... more