Chew on this: Sweet Products for Food Processors to Consider

Ingredient manufacturers haven't wasted any time developing sweeteners that fulfill many of their clients' needs.

Sugarless gum now outsells sugared gum, as blends of polyols and high-intensity sweeteners such as sucralose can be combined to provide the right combination of bulk, texture and sweetness.

Discovered in 1891 by German chemist Emil Fischer, Xylitol has been used as a sweetening agent in human food since the 1960s. Xylitol is a white crystalline powder that is odorless, with a pleasant, sweet taste, and reduces the development of cavities. Xylitol occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables and is even produced by the human body during normal metabolism. Produced commercially from plants such as birch and other hard wood trees and fibrous vegetation, Xylitol has the same sweetness and bulk as sucrose with one-third fewer calories and no unpleasant aftertaste. It quickly dissolves and produces a cooling sensation in the mouth. In the U.S, xylitol was approved in 1963 as a direct food additive for use in foods for special dietary uses such as sugar-less gum, and is available from Leaf oy, Turku, Finland, and other suppliers.

Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Source Naturals rolled out XyliSmart, a “tooth-friendly” low glycemic sweetener that is safe for diabetics, and helps manage healthy glucose levels. XyliSmart is the company’s trade name for xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol.

Organic and Kosher

Novato, Calif.-based, Navitas Naturals introduced Sweet Tooth, a new line of certified organic and kosher sweeteners. Sweet Tooth includes Yacon Syrup and Green Stevia) and Asian (Palm Sugar). Naturally low on the Glycemic Index (GI), it offers benefits for weight control and improving glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2).  With a GI rating of 35, this traditional Asian sweetener compares favorably to other sweeteners such as honey (GI 55), cane sugar (GI 68) and agave (GI 42). It is especially high in amino acids, potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron and is a good natural source of B vitamins, and it can be used in recipes as a 1-to-1 substitute for cane sugar.  

Sweetener with probiotics and prebiotics

Holyoke, Mass.-based NXT Nutritionals offers Susta Natural Sweetener, a natural, low calorie (5 calories per packet) low glycemic sweetener which contains a very small amount of fructose (less than 0.5g per serving), probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins C, B6 and B12 as well as essential minerals that support the immune system, aids digestion and supports the health of your bones and heart, but does not contain chemicals.

Sweetness enhancer component of stevia leaf

Redpoint Bio Corp., Ewing, N.J., has identified an all-natural sweetness enhancer, RP44, which is actually Reb C, a component of the stevia leaf, reports Decision News Media. Many ingredient suppliers are promoting the high content of Reb A, another component of the stevia leaf, in their all-natural, zero-calorie high-intensity sweeteners. Unlike Reb A, RP44 (Reb C) is not a sweetener but instead a sweetness enhancer that imparts no sweet taste of its own when used in a product, according to the company. Sweetness enhancers act by amplifying the existing sweet taste of caloric sweeteners such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. “We believe this will enable the development of food and beverage products that require reduced amounts of caloric sweeteners while still retaining the clean sweet taste associated with a fully sugared product,” said CEO Ray Salemme. Redpoint is looking for a potential partner expert in the approval process.

Stevia extracts may boost brain function

A patent application from the Netherlands-based DSM suggests stevia extracts may boost brain function and tap growing interest in natural ingredients for cognitive health, reports Decision News Media.

“The present invention relates to a novel nutraceutical composition or food additive comprising stevia extract or its constituents, such as steviol and stevioside, as active ingredient(s) to improve cognitive functions, such as learning, memory and alertness, as well as relieving psychosocial pressure,” it reads.

The invention, which covers reb-A, as well as B to F, and other steviol glycosides, indicates the compounds may enhance cognitive function via their interaction with a specific receptor (NMDA receptor) in the brain that boosts synaptic transmission, or chemical signaling in the brain.