Sweeteners approved for use in food by the European Commission

Food additives permitted in the EU: sweeteners

Sweeteners are food additives used to impart a sweet taste to industrial or household foods, without resorting to the use of glucose, fructose, sucrose, or maltose, namely, without adding calorie.
Below is a review of some of sweeteners, such as sugar alcohols, aspartame or saccharin, present in the list of food additives approved in the European Community on the basis of the European Commission regulation No 1129/2011 published on 11 November 2011. Such list is an amendment of Annex II to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament, that was then modified in 2013. It is possible to consult the list in its entirety, in PDF or HTML format and in the different European languages, by following the link in the References.
Each additive is identified both by the name of the substance and the E number, namely, the letter E followed by a number. For example, xylitol, a sweetener found in many chewing gums, is also known as E967, while aspartame, widely used to sweeten drinks, yoghurts, and many other foods, is also known as E951.

Sugar alcohols Sweetness compared to sucrose
E420 (i) Sorbitol, (ii) Sorbitol syrup 0.5-1
E421 (i) Sorbitol, (ii) Sorbitol syrup 0.7
E953 lsomalt 0.5
E965  (i) Maltitol, (ii) Maltitol syrup 1
E966 Lactitol 0.5
E967 Xylitol 1
E968 Eritriolo 0.6-0.8
Intense (synthetic) sweeteners
E950 Acesulfame K 200
E951 Aspartame 180-200
E952 Cyclamic acid and its sodium and calcium salts 30
E954 Saccharin and its sodium, potassium and calcium salts 300-500
E955 Sucralose 600
E957 Thaumatin 2000-3000
E959 Neohesperidine DC 1900
E961 Neotame 7000-13000
E962 Salt of aspartame-acesulfame 350


  1. Bender D.A. “Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology” 8th ed. Woodhead Publishing. Oxford, 2006
  2. Commission Regulation (EU) No 1129/2011 of 11 November 2011 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council by establishing a Union list of food additives. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2011/1129/2013-11-21
  3. Mortensen A. Sweeteners permitted in the European Union: safety aspects. Food Nutr Res 2006;50(3):104-116. doi:3402/fnr.v50i3.1588

Biochemistry, metabolism, and nutrition