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A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners. In the United States, six intensely sweet sugar substitutes have been approved for use. They are stevia, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium, and saccharin. An important class of sugar substitutes is known as high-intensity sweeteners. These are compounds with many times the sweetness of sucrose, common table sugar. As a result, much less sweetener is required and energy contribution is often negligible. The sensation of sweetness caused by these compounds is sometimes notably different from sucrose, so they are often used in complex mixtures that achieve the most natural sweet sensation. If the sucrose  that is replaced has contributed to the texture of the product, then a bulking agent is often also needed. This may be seen in soft drinks or sweet tea that are labeled as "diet" or "light" that contain artificial sweeteners and often have notably different mouthfeel, or in table sugar replacements that mix maltodextrins with an intense sweetener to achieve satisfactory texture sensation.


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