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2008 round-up: This year’s most read articles about sweeteners

By staff reporter , 19-Dec-2008

As 2008 draws to a close, FoodNavigator has been reviewing which articles generated the most interest amongst you, the readers. Interest in sweeteners has been intense – from new science and market entrants in sucrose, to new possibilities for the market.

Splenda gut health study

A rat study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, concluded that consumption of the sweetener Splenda at doses within the US FDA’s Acceptable Daily Intake may suppress beneficial bacteria in the gut and cause weight gain.

 

The findings also indicated an effect on the expression of certain enzymes known to interfere with the absorption of nutrients and pharmaceuticals.

 

The study was performed by researchers from Duke University in North Carolina and co-sponsored by the Sugar Association. McNeil Nutritionals, the company behind Splenda, draw attention to a number of other studies supporting the safety of the sweetener.

 

To read the article about the study, click here .

To read reactions from industry and academia, click here .

Photo-stable stevia

In September a new study from Coca Cola reported that its high purity stevia extract (rebaudioside A) does not degrade in beverages on exposure to light. Published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, this research was seen as important for establishing the stability of the Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni)-derived sweetener rebaudioside A.

 

The results also challenge an earlier study from the 1980s that reported significant degradation of rebaudioside A on exposure to sunlight, equivalent to one week of sunlight during the summer.

To read the article about the study, click here .

New sucralose supplier

 

In May, food makers saw alternative supplies of sucralose open up, as Dublin and Geneva-based Fusion Nutraceuticals, in partnership with Indian pharmaceutical company Alkem, rolled out their IP-validated sucralose.

 

Fusion Nutraceuticals is confident its product does not infringe on any patents held by Tate & Lyle.

 

To read the full article on the launch, click here .

Fructose fat build-up

 

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers from the University of Texas observed that fat build-up from fructose consumption may be greater than what occurs when we eat other types of sugars, such as glucose and sucrose.

 

“Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose,” said Elizabeth Parks from the UT’s Southwestern Medical Center.

 

“[Fructose, glucose and sucrose] can be made into triglycerides, a form of body fat; however, once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it’s hard to slow it down,” she added.

 

However, Dr Parks pointed out that it is misleading to suggest the consumption of a specific food or food ingredient was the cause of obesity and the rise of type-2 diabetes.

To read the article about the study, click here .

 

Rare sugar instead of sucrose?

The rare sugar D-psicose may be an ideal substitute for sucrose, and have the added benefits of boosting antioxidant activity and boosting shelf-life, Japanese researchers reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

 

D-psicose is a non-calorie sugar with a reported lower glycemic response. It has 70 per cent the sweetness of sucrose, but also has functional properties like gelling activity, good flavour, as well as high antioxidation activity.

 

The sugar is not exploited to any great extent in the food industry, but the research indicates the potential of the sugar to find application in a range of products, most notably as a sucrose substitute.

 

To read the article about the research, click here .

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