Some Zero-Calorie Sweeteners Have Calories, And Everything Is A Lie

Zero doesn’t always mean zero.

If you rely on Splenda as your go-to calorie-free sweetener, this video is going to rock your world.If you rely on Splenda as your go-to calorie-free sweetener, this video is going to rock your world.

When you see the label “zero calories” or “no calories” on certain food products, you probably take it literally and assume the product in question doesn’t contain calories. But according to a new video, certain labels can be deceiving.

The YouTube channel Technicality recently explored products that advertise with “zero” or “no calories” labels ― like Diet Coke, Splenda and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. In the eight-minute clip, the host breaks down just how many calories the products actually have and why they’re allowed to obtain that somewhat deceiving label.

“How can a food or drink, that we ingest and then turn into power, have literally no calories?” Alex, the host, asks. “Yeah, that’s not a thing.”

Basically, it all comes down to the FDA’s labeling practices for nutrition labels. The Huffington Post reached out to a spokesperson for the FDA’s labeling practices, who helped break it down even more.

“According to federal regulations, the terms ‘calorie free,’ ‘free of calories,’ ‘no calories,’ ‘zero calories,’ ‘without calories,’ ‘trivial source of calories,’ ‘negligible source of calories,’ or ‘dietarily insignificant source of calories’ may be used on the label or in the labeling of foods, provided that food contains less than 5 calories per reference amount customarily consumed and per labeled serving,” the spokeswoman said.

Even natural zero-calorie sweeteners, like stevia or monkfruit, have some calories. They usually contain erythritol or xylitol, both of which contribute calories per gram in lower amounts than sugar, to help mask some of the off-flavor aftertastes the natural sweeteners may contain. Dextrose can also do the same thing in artificial sweeteners with bitter aftertastes, such as aspartame and saccharin.

The next time you use a “zero-calorie” sweetener, however, make sure you add at least a few calories to the total count of your drink per packet.