An artificial sweetener is a sugar substitute. Artificial sweeteners are synthetic.
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. An important class of sugar substitutes are 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 (the 'sweetness profile') is sometimes notably different from sucrose, so they are often used in complex mixtures that achieve the most natural sweet sensation.
Contributions by Michaeljosephcleary, FirstPrinciples, and SmackBot.
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