Yes, some flavors of Jell-O sugar free pudding contain aspartame as the main artificial sweetener. Aspartame is used in place of sugar to provide a sweet taste without the calories. However, not all flavors of Jell-O sugar free pudding contain aspartame – some use sucralose or acesulfame potassium instead. You need to check the ingredients list for each specific flavor to see which sweetener is used.
Ingredients in Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding
The main ingredients in Jell-O sugar free instant pudding mixes are:
- Modified food starch – provides thickness and texture
- Natural and artificial flavors – provide taste
- Artificial sweeteners – sweeten the pudding without added sugars/calories. Aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame potassium may be used depending on the flavor.
By avoiding added sugars, Jell-O sugar free pudding reduces the calorie content significantly compared to regular pudding. A 1/2 cup serving of regular Jell-O pudding contains 100-130 calories, while the sugar free version only has 60 calories or less.
Aspartame in Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in many “sugar free” and “diet” foods and beverages. Chemically, aspartame consists of two amino acids – phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It provides a sweet taste 200 times stronger than sugar with minimal caloric content.
When reading the ingredients label on Jell-O sugar free pudding boxes, you may see aspartame listed under the following names:
Aspartame is the primary sweetener used in the following flavors of Jell-O sugar free pudding:
- French vanilla
- Banana cream
So if you purchase any of those varieties of Jell-O sugar free pudding, aspartame will be present in the ingredients.
Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding Without Aspartame
However, not all flavors of Jell-O sugar free pudding contain aspartame. Some varieties use an alternative artificial sweetener like sucralose or acesulfame potassium instead.
The sugar free Jell-O pudding flavors that do not contain aspartame include:
- Chocolate mousse
- Pumpkin pie
- Dulce de leche
- Coconut cream
- Key lime
So if you want to avoid aspartame, look for those flavor varieties of Jell-O sugar free pudding. Always check the ingredients list on the box to be sure, as formulations may change.
Benefits of Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding
There are some benefits to choosing Jell-O sugar free pudding rather than the regular, sugared varieties:
- Fewer calories – Sugar free pudding only contains about 60 calories per serving compared to over 100 calories in regular pudding.
- Less sugar – Each serving of regular pudding can have 15-25g of sugar. Sugar free pudding avoids this added sugar.
- Sweet taste without sugar – Artificial sweeteners like aspartame provide the sweet flavor people expect in pudding without adding sugars found in the regular versions.
- Potential blood sugar benefits – The lack of added sugars may help control blood sugar levels.
For people seeking to manage calories, sugar intake, blood sugar response, or simply desiring the sweet taste of pudding without as much sugar, Jell-O sugar free pudding can be an appealing lower-calorie substitute.
Potential Drawbacks of Aspartame in Pudding
While Jell-O sugar free pudding offers some advantages over regular pudding, there are also some potential drawbacks of aspartame specifically to consider:
- Phenylalanine content – Aspartame contains phenylalanine, an amino acid that some people need to restrict due to health conditions like phenylketonuria (PKU).
- Gastrointestinal effects – Some people report digestive issues like bloating, gas, or diarrhea after consuming aspartame.
- Allergic reactions – Although rare, some people may experience hives, swelling, or anaphylaxis as allergic reactions to aspartame.
- Ongoing health debates – While government regulators approve aspartame as safe, some health advocates believe there are links between aspartame and problems like migraines, neurological symptoms, or cancer risk.
People who experience negative effects from aspartame or wish to avoid it for other reasons should choose Jell-O sugar free pudding flavors that use alternative sweeteners like sucralose or acesulfame potassium instead.
Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding Nutrition Facts
Here is the nutrition information for a 1/2 cup serving of Jell-O sugar free vanilla pudding, which contains aspartame:
As you can see, sugar free pudding is low in calories, fat, carbs, and sugar compared to regular pudding. However, the sodium content remains fairly high.
Looking at the chocolate flavor that uses sucralose instead of aspartame, the nutrition facts are very similar with 60 calories and minimal carbs, sugar, fat and protein per serving.
So in terms of nutritional content, the different sugar free pudding flavors are comparable whether they are sweetened with aspartame or alternative sweeteners. The key difference is avoiding the phenylalanine in aspartame.
Cost Comparison of Jell-O Pudding
Here is a cost comparison of regular vs. sugar free Jell-O pudding:
|Pudding Type||Typical Price|
|Jell-O Instant Regular Pudding Mix – 3.4 oz||$1.50|
|Jell-O Instant Sugar Free Pudding Mix – 3.4 oz||$2.50|
On average, a 3.4 oz box of regular Jell-O pudding costs about $1.50, while the sugar free version tends to be more expensive at around $2.50.
Of course, prices will vary between stores and when items are on sale. But most of the time, the sugar free Jell-O pudding does come at a moderately higher cost than the regular pudding.
In terms of taste, Jell-O sugar free pudding has a distinct sweet flavor profile from its artificial sweeteners that is a bit different from regular pudding:
- Regular pudding – Smooth, rich taste from sugar and cornstarch. Natural sweetness complements the dairy and vanilla/chocolate flavors.
- Sugar free with aspartame – Very sweet taste upfront, somewhat artificial aftertaste. Still decent creaminess.
- Sugar free with sucralose – Sweetness is a little more even throughout, but has a distinct sucralose taste. Less artificial aftertaste.
While the sugar free versions are still reasonably tasty, most people find the regular pudding with real sugar provides the most natural, creamy sweet flavor. However, personal preferences vary on how much the artificial taste bothers them.
Overall, Jell-O sugar free pudding can be a good lower calorie substitute, but it does not perfectly replicate the exact taste and texture of the original sugared pudding.
Cooking and Baking with Sugar Free Pudding
Jell-O instant sugar free pudding can be used for cooking and baking in some recipes that call for pudding:
- Pudding pies – Make a low cal pie with sugar free pudding as the filling.
- Pudding cakes – Add dry pudding mix to the batter to flavor and moisten cakes.
- Parfaits – Layer sugar free pudding with whipped cream and fruit.
- Pudding cookies – Use dry pudding mix in cookie dough.
- Fruit and pudding trifles.
- Chocolate pudding frosting.
However, the sugar free pudding may affect the finished texture of baked goods compared to regular pudding. Items may come out more dense or dry.
The taste will also be noticeably different, with the signature sugar free pudding flavor. Test recipes to ensure the artificial sweetener aftertaste does not negatively impact the overall flavors.
For best results, look for recipes developed specifically using sugar free pudding. Sometimes extra binders like flaxseed or xanthan gum may need added to the recipe to account for the differences from real sugar.
Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding Recipes
Here are some recipe ideas with Jell-O sugar free pudding:
Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding Pie
- 1 prepared Oreo crumb pie crust
- 2 boxes Jell-O sugar free chocolate pudding mix
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 1 tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
- Chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)
Make chocolate pudding with pudding mix and milk as directed on box. Pour into pie crust. Refrigerate 1 hour. Top with whipped topping and chocolate shavings before serving.
Sugar Free Banana Pudding
- 2 boxes French vanilla sugar free pudding
- 4 cups milk
- 6 bananas, sliced
- 1 box vanilla wafers
- Whipped cream
Make pudding with mix and milk as directed. In a large bowl, layer pudding, banana slices, and vanilla wafers. Repeat layers. Top with whipped cream.
Sugar Free Lemon Cheesecake Parfaits
- 1 box lemon sugar free pudding
- 8oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Fresh blueberries
Beat together pudding and cream cheese. Layer in glasses with whipped topping, graham crumbs, and blueberries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Jell-O pudding bad for you?
Regular Jell-O pudding contains a lot of added sugar, with around 23-25g per serving. This added sugar provides empty calories and spikes blood sugar. So regular pudding should be eaten in moderation as a dessert treat. Sugar free Jell-O pudding reduces the calories, sugar, and carbs by using artificial sweeteners instead. This makes it a somewhat better option. However, some people have concerns over ingredients like aspartame in sugar free pudding.
Is sugar free Jell-O pudding Keto friendly?
Sugar free Jell-O pudding can potentially fit into a Keto diet plan, depending on the specific ingredients. Some flavors that use sucralose or stevia instead of maltitol would only contain 1-2g net carbs per serving. This may allow them to work for very low carb Keto diets when consumed in moderation. But you need to check the nutrition label carefully.
What is the best sugar free pudding?
The “best” sugar free pudding comes down to personal taste preferences. Some good options to consider for low calorie, low sugar pudding are:
- Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding
- Snack Pack Sugar Free Pudding
- Kozy Shack No Sugar Added Pudding
- ZenSweet Sugar Free Instant Pudding
- Simply Delish Sugar Free Pudding
Look for flavors sweetened with sucralose or stevia instead of maltitol if possible. And always check labels for any allergens.
In summary, many varieties of Jell-O sugar free pudding contain the artificial sweetener aspartame. However, some flavors instead use sucralose or acesulfame potassium as the sugar substitute. To know if the specific pudding you are buying contains aspartame, simply read the ingredient label on the box. Sugar free Jell-O pudding provides a lower calorie dessert option but may have an aftertaste compared to regular pudding. It can be used in some recipes but may require adjustments to account for differences in texture and taste. Those looking to limit aspartame intake can choose pudding flavors made with alternative sweeteners. Overall, Jell-O sugar free pudding can be an enjoyable low sugar dessert or recipe ingredient when consumed in moderation and selected to match individual dietary needs.