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Difference between sweeteners.

Sweetener is the generic term for all sweetening substances.
It encompasses three different categories:

intense sweeteners sugar


This group includes not only sucrose (sugar) but also monosaccharide like fructose and glucose. Honey for example also belongs in this category.

BENEO produces Intense Sweetener

Sugar Substitutes

These are primarily sugar alcohols (polyols) such as isomalt with special properties such as reduced calories. They are also gentle on teeth and suitable for diabetics. Sugar substitutes are bulk sweeteners.

intense sweetener

Intense Sweeteners

Essentially, the function of these is purely for sweetening and, because of their normally high sweetness intensity, are only used in small doses. For the most part, sweeteners are calorie-free and are often used in combination with other intense sweeteners. They are also frequently needed to sweeten polyols.


The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) is the amount of a food additive that can be ingested daily with the diet, even during a lifetime, without an appreciable health risk on the basis of all facts known at the time.

Basically the ADI values are established by scientific expert committees that advise national and international regulatory authorities:

  • In the European Union the “Scientific Committee on Food” (SCF) is responsible
  • On an international level the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA, a body within the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations/World Health Organisation)

To determine an ADI all available toxicological data from scientific studies is reviewed. The maximum dietary level of the additive that is without demonstrable toxic effects is called the “No Observable Effect Level” (NOEL). This level is then adjusted by inclusion of a large safety factor – often 100 – providing a large margin of safety.

The ADI values are recommendations and do not have legal status. They are taken into consideration during the rulemaking process by the legislator.

Overview of the ADI value of sweeteners (mg/kg body weight)

intense sweetener adi value table

(Values according to JECFA-evaluation)

Regulations on sweeteners.

The use of sweeteners in foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals requires legal authorisation. Before an approval of sweeteners as food additives they undergo extensive scientific tests, lasting up to ten  years, which must prove that the amount of the additive that is expected to be consumed by humans is safe.

The Regulation (EC) 1333/2008 sets the rules on food additives, e.g.:

  • Lists all approved food additives
  • Shows functional classes of food additives
  • Lays down the conditions of use

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History of Intense Sweeteners.

Ancient Rome: “SAPA”: Extraction from fermented wine which is heated and from which magnificant crystals seperate.
Mid of 19. century (1841-1855): Discovery of Thaumatin
1878/79: Discovery of Saccharin
1887: Begin of Saccharin -Production at Fahlberg List AG
1914 – 1945: World War I and World War II and post war period: sharp rise in the consumption of Saccharin, it becomes a sought-after comodity because of the shortage of sugar.
1937: Discovery of Cyclamate
1950: Abbott markets Cyclamate under the brand name “Sucaryl”.
1963: Discovery of Neohespiridine DC
1965: Discovery of Aspartame
1967: Discovery of Acesulfame K

1975: Diet directive permits the use of Saccharin and Cyclamate in
certain dietary foodstuffs.
1976: Discovery of Sucralose
1980: Joint technical development of Sucralose by Tate & Lyle and McNeil
1990: Acesulfame K and Aspartame has general use approval as a sweetener in Germany
1994: Entry into force of the EU-Sweeteners Directive
1994: Neohesperidine gets general use approval as a sweetener in the EU
2004: Sucralose gets general use approval as a sweetener in the EU
2009: Neotam gets general use approval as a sweetener in the EU
2011: Stevia (Steviol glycoside) gets general use approval as a sweetener in the EU
2014: Advantame gets general use approval as a sweetener in the EU

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