Not Completely Carbohydrate and Calorie-Free…

When you buy low-calorie sweeteners in the store as table top sweeteners, you can get them in large packages or as individual packets.

You have probably seen some of the name brands like Splenda, Sweet ‘N Low, or Equal. Many stores also carry generic brands which tend to cost less.

In order to make these table top sweeteners look similar to sugar, additional ingredients are added to the pure sweeteners for texture and volume. These ingredients (some common ones are dextrose and maltodextrin) will also add a small amount of calories and carbohydrate to the product.

One teaspoon or one packet of artificial sweetener is usually considered a serving.

Artificial sweeteners are also considered a “free food” for people with diabetes because they have 5 grams or less of carbohydrate per serving.

Sweetener Comparisons

Compare some different sweetener packets to regular sugar below:

1 packet Splenda = 4 calories + ‹ 1 gram of carbohydrate

or

1 packet of Sugar Twin = 3 calories + ‹ 1 gram of carbohydrate

or

1 packet of Equal = 4 calories + ‹ 1 gram of carbohydrate

vs.

1 packet sugar = 11 calories + 3 grams of carbohydrate

What is 'No-Calorie'?

Food products are considered “no-calorie” if they have 5 calories or less per serving. Notice that even though the nutrition labels on sweetener packets claim to have zero calories and carbohydrate, there are a small amount calories and carbs from those added ingredients.

When you use a large amount of these products, it can start to add up. As with all foods, it is important not to go overboard.

  • Last Reviewed: August 1, 2013
  • Last Edited: January 31, 2014

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast