What is the difference between Natural and Artificial sweeteners?

Too much sugar can be detrimental to health, which is why many among us are opting for alternate sweeteners. Widely promoted as healthier sweeteners, there are two main alternates ones can choose from – natural and artificial sweeteners. But what’s the difference between the two? We’ll break it down for you.

Natural sweeteners

There are various types of sugar – sucrose (household sugar), lactose (milk sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), maltose (malt sugar) and glucose (dextrose). Sugar cane and sugar beet plants contain sucrose in large quantities and sugar is derived from them. Some of the recommended natural sweeteners that are comparatively safe to consume are stevia, coconut nectar, agave, honey, molasses sugar alcohol and maple syrup. Most contain a wide range of minerals, antioxidants, iron, calcium and potassium and are recommended because of their low glycemic index.

However, they have pitfalls if consumed in excess. A study done by scientists at the University of California says that fructose, a natural sugar used to sweeten drinks and fast foods, leads to obesity.

Artificial sweeteners

These are known as non-nutritive sweeteners because they have low to zero calories. They are more economical since they are high-intensity sweeteners, thus requiring a much lower quantity to be added to get the desired result. Some common artificial sweeteners used are aspartame, saccharine, sucralose, neotame and acesulfame.

These sweeteners do not affect the blood sugar and are promoted for diabetic patients. They also don’t cause dental decay or cavities like natural sweeteners can. However, in recent times, food watchdogs like the US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have regulated artificial sweeteners. This has been done because some artificial sweeteners have been found to break down into highly toxic chemical agents that can damage the body.

Given these reasons, a sugar substitute that not only delivers sweetness but also ensures that there is no detrimental impact on one’s health is the need of the hour. Addressing this need is TATA Nx’s new offering – Zero Sugar** – which is natural, delivers the right sweetness, and is safe to consume.