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Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes

Can I give my children foods sweetened with no- and low-calories sweeteners?

Noncaloric sweeteners, also called no- and low-calorie sweeteners, or sugar substitutes, add sweetness to foods and beverages without adding calories. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, foods and beverages sweetened with noncaloric sweeteners can be incorporated into a healthy eating plan.

Noncaloric sweeteners can help make reduced-calorie foods and beverages taste better, which can help in long-term weight maintenance.

Check Food Labels

Keep in mind that products containing noncaloric sweeteners may not be calorie-free or fat-free. Check the food labels for nutritional information.

Where We Stand

Due to limited studies in children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has no official recommendations regarding the use of noncaloric sweeteners.

Noncaloric Sweeteners Approved by the FDA

The following is a chart of noncaloric sweeteners approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  Brand Name(s) Year Approved General Information
Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)


Sweet & Safe

Sweet One


All noncaloric sweeteners are:

  • Safe for the general population, including people with diabetes, pregnant women, and children. (Note: Aspartame contains phenylalanine and is not safe for people with a rare hereditary condition called phenylketonuria [PKU].)
  • Do not cause or increase the risk of cancer. (Note: In 2001 products containing saccharin no longer required a warning label; studies found no link between saccharin and bladder cancer in humans.)
  • Do not cause or increase the risk of other health conditions. Sweetness and taste vary among sweeteners.



Sugar Twin (blue box)


Sweet'N Low

Sweet Twin

Necta Sweet

Years prior to 1958
Rebiana Truvia 2008
Sucralose Splenda 1998


Additional Information:

Last Updated
Healthy Children, Fit Children: Answers to Common Questions From Parents About Nutrition and Fitness (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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