Comparison of Sweetener Attributes

Relative Intensity*

Sucrose = 1.0

Functionality in Application
Sucrose 1.0
  • Bulking agent
  • Texture enhancer
  • Viscofier
  • Yeast-fermentable substrate
  • Crystallization control
  • Humectant
  • Inhibits starch gelatinization and protein denaturation
  • Extends shelf-life of baked goods through moisture retention
  • Achieves moist, fine crumb in cakes
  • Lowers freezing point in frozen dairy products
  • Enhances and balances flavor
  • Enhances mouthfeel in beverages
Fructose 1.1-1.7
  • Low glycemic index
  • Reducing sugar
  • Good humectant
  • Controls surface cracking in cookies
Lactose .2-.6
  • Bulking agent
  • Reducing sugar
  • Flow agent
  • Induces Maillard browning in baked goods
  • Good humectant
  • Yeast fermentable substrate
  • Controls crystallization
  • Replaces sugar in carbonated beverages
  • Builds body and helps provide stability and emulsification in non-carbonated beverages
  • Provides adhesion in bars
  • Stabilizes foams in marshmallows/nougats
  • Retards sucrose crystallization in caramels and toffees
  • Lowers freezing point in frozen dairy products
  • Maintains softness of products at freezing temperatures
  • Adds body to dairy foods
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Xylitol 1.0
  • High humectancy
  • High negative heat of solution
  • Cariostatic
  • Enhances cooling effect
  • Provides moisture to baked goods
  • Promotes glossiness of frostings
Maltitol .9
  • Similar solubility melting point and sweetness as sucrose
  • Low hygroscopicity
  • Maintains plasticity of gum
  • Base ingredient for hard candy
Erythritol .7
  • Non-caloric (0.2 Kcal/g)
  • High digestive tolerance
  • Zero glycemic index
  • Noncariogenic
  • Good heat and acid stability
  • High negative heat of solution
  • Improves baking stability and shelf life
  • Adds bulk and body to dairy products
  • Freezing point depression in dairy
  • Produces characteristic glss, texture, snap and melt in calorie-reduced chocolate
Mannitol .6
  • Low hygroscopicity
  • Chelates iron and copper ions
  • Dusting agent on gum
  • Prevents stickiness on hard candy
Sorbitol .6
  • High humectancy
  • Chelates iron and copper ions
  • Aids in compressibility of tablets
  • Helps control water activity in food systems
  • Acts as a cryoprotectant and prevents denaturation of fish proteins in surimi
  • Crystal inhibitor in frozen desserts
Isomalt .5
  • Low hygroscopicity
  • Inhibits moisture absorption
  • Low cooling effect
  • Achieves crisp texture in baked goods
  • Similar properties to sugar
  • Low cooling effect
  • Low hygroscopicity
  • Highly verstalile sweetener
  • Improves shelf-life and stability of confections
High Intensity Sweeteners top of page
Saccharin 300-600
  • Heat stable
  • Good solubility and stability
  • Bitter, metallic aftertaste
Used in diet beverages, jelly, baked goods, chewing gum
Cyclamate 30
  • Syngeristic enhancement with other sweeteners (i.e. saccharin)
  • Slow on-set
  • Masks off-flavors
  • Good thermal stability
  • Highly soluble
  • Banned in 1970 in the United States; currently awaiting re-approval
  • Can be combined with saccharin (10 parts cyclamate: 1 part saccharin) to reduce perceived bitterness of saccharin
  • Stable at baking temperatures
Aspartame 160-220
  • Can leave a lingering sweet aftertaste
  • Enhances fruit flavors
  • Unstable to prolonged heat, although available in encapsulated form
  • May hydrolyze at pH >5
  • Most stable at pH 3-5
  • Subject to Maillard browning
  • Used in carbonated beverages, dry beverage mixes, frozen desserts, fillings
  • Enhances fruity and citrus beverage flavors
Alitame 2,000
  • Promotes Maillard browning
  • Petition for food additive status still under review
Neotame 7,000-13,000
  • Good stability
  • Slow onset
  • Slight lingering taste
  • Flavor masking/enhancing properties
  • Sweetener in carbonated and still beverages, dairy and bakery products
  • Flavor enhancing effects in chewing gum
Acesulfame K 200
  • Stable over a wide range of temperatures and pH
  • Readily soluble
  • Noncaloric
  • Noncariogenic
  • Excellent heat stability in baked goods
  • Used in dry beverage mixes, confections, carbonated soft drinks, chewing gum, dry dessert mixes and baked goods
Sucralose 400-800
  • Heat and pH stability
  • Similar onset and duration as sucrose
  • Long shelf-life
  • Used in baked goods, extruded products and beverages
  • Stable during ultra high temperature (UHT) processing and pasteurization
Thaumatin 2,000-3,000
  • Large protein molecules
  • Enhances coffee flavors
  • Masks bitter notes of saccharin
  • On the GRAS list as a flavor enhancer, but not as a sweetener
Glycyrrhizin 50-100
  • Derived from licorice root
  • Lingering aftertaste
On the GRAS list as a natural flavoring agent, but is not approved for use as a sweetener
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  • Derived from lactose
  • Low calorie (1.5 Kcal/g)
  • Noncariogenic
  • Prebiotic
  • Bulk sweetener
  • Flavor-enhancing properties in soft drinks
*Relative intensity can vary under different conditions. For instance, sucrose intensity = 1 at all temperatures, whereas fructose intensity decreases dramatically between 140°C (284°F) and 60°C (140°F)