Sweetness is one of the five basic tastes, the others being bitter, sour, salt and savory. The detection of a sweet taste on the tongue and around the mouth is highly developed and is almost universally regarded as a pleasurable experience. Throughout evolution the seeking out of sweet foods has allowed humans to obtain the necessary energy dense foods for survival. It is therefore not surprising that we continue our love of sweetness in all of our everyday food choices.
A sweetener is any added ingredient used to heighten the sensation of a sweet taste. There are three main groups of sweeteners including natural sweeteners such as table sugar, nutritive sweeteners such as sorbitol that have less effect on blood glucose and lower in calories and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or saccharin which do not affect blood glucose and are virtually calorie free.