Up to 50 per cent of the sugar content of Danish cookies was replaced with the low-calorie sweetener without noticeable changes to colour, sweetness, hardness, flavour and overall liking, according to findings published in the Journal of Food Quality.
Against the backdrop of soaring obesity and diabetic statistics, consumer and political pressure is driving manufacturers to slice calories from their food formulations.
Erythritol, a bulk sweetener polyol that occurs at low levels in some fruits and fermented foods, contains a variety of benefits, including zero-calorie content, low GI index and a low laxative effect. The ingredient, manufactured by Jungbunzlauer and Cargill, is already marketed towards diabetics, since it does not affect glucose and insulin levels.
“There is no published information on the effects of erythritol on the quality characteristics of cookies,” explained the researchers from Hungkuang University and the National Chung-Hsing University. “It would be beneficial to develop the novel formulation of cookie production with erythritol.”
The Taiwanese researchers therefore set out to formulate a range of Danish cookies with erythritol replacing 0, 25, 50, 75 or 100 per cent of sugar (sucrose).
“It is anticipated that the result of this study will be viewed as a reference to food industries,” they added.
Using erythritol obtained from Japan’s Mitsubishi-Kagaku Foods Company, the Taiwanese researchers formulated a range of cookies with increasing degrees of sucrose replacement, from zero to 100 per cent.
After baking, there was no difference in moisture, protein, and fat content of any of the cookies formulated with sugar or partial or full replacement with erythritol, said the researchers.
Furthermore, they note that the bulk sweetener was stable during baking.
Seven trained tasters evaluated the cookies and noted a cooling sensation at the higher erythritol levels of 50, 75 and 100 per cent, while there was no difference in the moistness and hardness of the samples.
The tasters also noted no difference in the colour, flavour, hardness, sweetness, and overall liking of cookies prepared with up to 50 per cent replacement of sucrose with erythritol. Higher levels of replacement decreased these sensory qualities, they added.
“A successful and novel formulation of Danish cookie production with erythritol was developed,” stated the researchers. “Danish cookies formulated with partial replacement of sucrose with up to 50 per cent erythritol had sensory and physical quality characteristics comparable with cookies prepared with 100 per cent sucrose.
“A partial replacement of erythritol for sucrose in Danish cookies may produce healthier and lower-calorie cookies to humans,” they concluded.
Source: Journal of Food Quality
Published online ahead of print, Early View, doi: 10.1111/j.1745-4557.2010.00307.x
“Effect of erythritol on quality characteristics of reduced-calorie Danish cookies”
Authors: S-D. Lin, C-C. Lee, J-L. Mau, L-Y. Lin, S-Y. Chiou