Sweeteners

Motivator the taste

sweeteners
Sweeteners

Sweeteners

Motivator the taste

Sweeteners

Sweetened foods occupy a large portion of the space on grocery store shelves worldwide. Products ranging from cookies to soft drinks are available to satisfy the consumer’s desire for sweetness. Nutritive sweeteners include sucrose, corn syrups, dextrose, and honey. These sweeteners play other important roles in foods as well. For example, they provide texture, stability, and color. However, increasing concerns about obesity, dental caries, and diabetes as well as the cost of these sweeteners have caused food processors to look for other types of sweetening agents.

There are several approved and several unapproved, nonnutritive, alternative sweeteners. Some are synthetic, and some are found in nature and isolated and purified for use in the food industry. One of the earliest and most widely known synthetic sweeteners is saccharin, which was developed more than a century ago and first used in food products during the early 1900s. Although its use has sparked controversy and debate over the years, it continues to be added to food products throughout the world. Since the introduction of saccharin, the quest for low-cost, effective, alternative sweetening agents has continued in many research laboratories. Many published reports, ranging from discussions on toxicology and carcinogenicity to chemical properties and applications of both approved and unapproved sweetening agents, are readily available.

High-intensity sweeteners are agents that exhibit sweetening powers at very low concentrations. This sweetening power is most often compared with that of sucrose and is called the relative sweetness. For example, the compound aspartame is about 160–220 times sweeter than sucrose and is considered a high-intensity, or high-potency, sweetener. These sweeteners are useful in the development of low-calorie foods because although they may be caloric, they are used only at very low levels in the final products. They are also often used in the development of foods to help prevent dental caries and in foods eaten by diabetics because they do not promote dental caries or raise blood sugar levels. The high-intensity sweeteners discussed here are those commonly used in the food industry worldwide and are either synthetic or naturally occurring. The synthetic sweeteners are saccharin, cyclamate, aspartame, alitame, acesulfame K, and sucralose. The naturally occurring sweeteners are thaumatin, stevioside, and glycyrrhizin.