Sweetness plays an important role in the selection and enjoyment of foods and beverages and can add taste appeal to a nutritious diet. In fact, research shows that humans are inherently drawn to sweet tastes more than any other taste sensation. Caloric sweeteners range from simple sugars primarily fructose and glucose to ingredients and foods that contain these sugars, such as table sugar, molasses, honey, agave and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Like most carbohydrates, caloric sweeteners provide 4 calories (17 kilojoules) per gram. Today, people's preference for sweet tastes can be satisfied with either caloric sweeteners or low- and no-calorie sweeteners.
Like all foods and beverages, those containing caloric sweeteners can fit within an eating style that meets both nutritional and energy needs when consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with regular physical activity. What's important for nutrition and weight management is to stay mindful of the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten and to remember that the energy obtained from food and beverages is measured in calories, and that all calories count, including those from beverages. For most individuals, strategies like choosing portion sizes that are right for them, and using foods and beverages sweetened with low-and no-calorie sweeteners, can help them satisfy their desire for sweet tastes while keeping calorie levels in line with their energy needs.