A sweet solution
Two types of sweeteners commonly found in foods and beverages are: sugars, which provide kilojoules, and low-kilojoule sweeteners, which provide few or no kilojoules. People who have a sweet tooth, but are also trying to watch their weight, often choose non-nutritive sweeteners.
Sweeteners like table sugar (sucrose) and honey are considered nutritive sweeteners because they are energy-containing carbohydrates that can be used to fuel the body. Sucrose contains about 17 kilojoules per gram or 68 kilojoules per teaspoon.
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 and saccharin can taste sweet but contain few or no kilojoules.
There is confusion surrounding low-kiljoule sweeteners, particularly aspartame, the main sweetener contained in sparkling beverages. Having more information about the sweeteners used in beverages can help you make informed decisions and better understand the role beverages can play in an active, healthy lifestyle that includes a sensible, balanced diet and regular physical activity.
More than 200 scientific studies and food regulatory bodies across the world including Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), Food and Drug Administration in the US (FDA) and the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA), confirm the safety of aspartame as a non-nutritive sweetener.
In addition, Coca-Cola Australia has established an advisory council of experts in the area of obesity, public health and nutrition, to provide advice and counsel to the Company on nutritional topics such as this. In August 2007 the Council reviewed the latest research on the sweeteners we use in our beverages. The review found that these sweeteners are acceptable and safe for use and that they can also play a beneficial role in the diet of people with diabetes or people interested in managing their weight. Download the full report or summary:
Natural zero calorie sweetener
Stevia is the common name for rebiana or rebaudioside A, a natural, zero-kilojoule sweetener found in the stevia leaves. It is made using a process similar to that used to make other natural flavourings, such as vanilla, spearmint and cinnamon. It is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, and contains nothing artificial or synthetic.
Learn more about sweeteners used in our beverages in Australia: