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March 7, 2023

Many people are cutting back on their sugar intake for health reasons. But the food industry has found another way to give consumers their sweet fix. It is quietly replacing the sugar in many packaged foods with sucralose, stevia, allulose, erythritol and a wide variety of other artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes. Low- and zero-calorie sweeteners have been used in diet soft drinks for decades. But now food companies are adding them to a growing number of packaged foods, including many that might surprise you! …The number of food products containing low- or no-calorie sugar substitutes has surged in the past five years, according to an analysis by Mintel, the market research firm.

Some consumers groups called for new labeling rules to make it easier to know when sugar substitutes are used in packaged foods. One particularly vocal critic is the sugar industry. The Sugar Association, an industry trade and lobbying group, in 2020 submitted a lengthy petition to the FDA pointing out that packaged foods that carry label claims like “reduced sugar” and “no added sugars” are often sweetened with sugar substitutes. The group argued that consumers are being “misled” because these products are frequently marketed as healthier, even though they’re often “higher in calories or contain alternative sweeteners that consumers are not familiar with.”

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