Does Sweet N Low have calories?

Sweet N Low is an artificial sweetener that has been around since the 1950s. It contains saccharin, which is about 300-400 times sweeter than regular sugar. Many people use Sweet N Low and other artificial sweeteners because they want the sweet taste without the calories. But does Sweet N Low really have no calories? Let’s take a closer look.

The Short Answer

Technically, Sweet N Low has about 4 calories per packet. However, it’s such a tiny amount that the FDA allows it to be labeled as having 0 calories. The ingredients in Sweet N Low – saccharin, cream of tartar, and dextrose – all contain minimal calories that add up to about 4 per packet. So while not completely calorie-free, the calories in Sweet N Low are negligible.

Examining the Ingredients in Sweet N Low

Sweet N Low contains three main ingredients:

  • Saccharin – an artificial sweetener that is about 300-400 times sweeter than sugar. It has no calories.
  • Cream of tartar – used as a filler and stabilizer. It has about 4 calories per gram.
  • Dextrose – a type of glucose used to dilute the saccharin. It has about 4 calories per gram.

Let’s look closer at the calorie content of the last two ingredients:

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar contains about 4 calories per gram. Each packet of Sweet N Low contains 36mg of cream of tartar. This works out to 0.036 grams of cream of tartar, which equals about 0.14 calories.


Dextrose also contains about 4 calories per gram. Each packet of Sweet N Low contains 31mg of dextrose. This equals 0.031 grams of dextrose, resulting in 0.12 calories.

Total Calories per Packet

Adding up the calories from cream of tartar and dextrose, we get:

Ingredient Calories per gram Grams per packet Calories per packet
Cream of Tartar 4 0.036g 0.14 calories
Dextrose 4 0.031g 0.12 calories
Total: 0.26 calories

So in total, there are about 0.26 calories per packet of Sweet N Low, according to the ingredient list.

Why the FDA Allows it to be Labeled as Zero Calories

The FDA allows any food with less than 5 calories per serving to be labeled as zero calories. Since Sweet N Low contains less than 5 calories per packet, the company is able to list the calorie content as zero.

This labeling is designed to simplify nutritional information for consumers, since such a tiny amount of calories is negligible. The rationale is that if a food provides less than 5 calories per serving, it isn’t going to significantly impact your daily calorie intake.

The Takeaway on Calories in Sweet N Low

While Sweet N Low does technically contain about 4 calories per packet, it is labeled as zero calories for the following reasons:

  • The ingredients like cream of tartar and dextrose contribute minimal calories.
  • In total, there are 0.26 calories per packet – well below the FDA’s 5 calorie threshold for labeling something zero calories.
  • This tiny amount of calories is nutritionally insignificant.

So for all intents and purposes, you can consider Sweet N Low as free of calories and not something that will add any calories to foods or drinks you sweeten with it. The calories are negligible and inconsequential for weight management or blood sugar purposes.

Comparisons to Other Low-Calorie Sweeteners

Sweet N Low is not unique when it comes to containing trace calories, even though it gets labeled calorie-free. Here is how it compares to some other popular low-calorie sweeteners:


Splenda also contains a tiny amount of calories per packet – about 3.36 calories to be exact. So it’s even fewer calories than Sweet N Low, but still above the FDA’s 5-calorie cutoff. Splenda gets to use the same zero-calorie labeling.


Stevia is extracted from the natural stevia leaf. It contains virtually no calories, unlike Sweet N Low. Stevia is truly a zero-calorie sweetener with no effect on blood sugar.


Aspartame (like NutraSweet and Equal) provides about 4 calories per gram, similar to sugar. However, such tiny amounts are used to sweeten foods and drinks that its calorie contribution become negligible. At the end of the day, aspartame can also be labeled as containing zero calories.


In its pure form, saccharin provides no calories. Sweet N Low uses saccharin as its main sweetening ingredient. Tabletop saccharin products like Sweet Twin also contain no calories. However, when combined with fillers like dextrose and cream of tartar in a product like Sweet N Low, you end up with about 4 calories per packet.

Should You Be Concerned about the Calories in Sweet N Low?

The tiny amount of calories in Sweet N Low are nothing to be concerned about. Four calories is truly miniscule and inconsequential. Even for people tracking calories for weight loss, this tiny amount will make no difference.

It would take 250 packets of Sweet N Low to consume 1,000 calories. The minor calories contributed by fillers like cream of tartar and dextrose are nutritionally insignificant.

Some key points:

  • You would need to consume a huge amount of Sweet N Low to see any impact from the 4 calories per packet.
  • These trace calories will not affect weight loss efforts.
  • They will also not impact blood sugar management for people with diabetes.
  • Sweet N Low can be safely used without worrying about the calories if you are limiting calories or carbs.

The Bottom Line

While Sweet N Low contains around 4 calories per packet, this miniscule amount is allowed to be labeled as zero calories by the FDA. You can count on Sweet N Low as a zero-calorie way to sweeten foods and drinks without worrying about calories or blood sugar effects. The tiny amount of calories contributed by fillers is trivial and nothing to be concerned about. So if you find you like the taste and want to use Sweet N Low, do so without fear that it will jeopardize weight loss efforts or blood sugar management. Just be mindful of how much you use, as large amounts may be needed in some cases to achieve desired sweetness, which could add up over time. But used in moderation, Sweet N Low lives up to its label as a calorie-free sweetener.

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