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Low-Cal Sweeteners Are Not As Intensely Sweet As Plain Old Sugar

September 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study comparing the sweetness of non-nutritive sweeteners to sugar found that the sweeteners weren’t necessarily more intensely sweet. Participants in the study said they could detect sweetness at lower concentrations in such sugar substitutes as aspartame, acesulfamek and stevia, but the intensity wasn’t sweeter. The researchers said the  assumption that sweeteners are excessively sweet could be because people confuse potency – the lowest concentration that activates taste receptors – and intensity, which is the magnitude of the taste response. Sugar is actually less potent, but is more intensely sweet.
R G Antenucci et al., "Nonnutritive sweeteners are not supernormal stimuli. ", International Journal of Obesity, September 17, 2014, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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