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Sweetening Agent

Sweetening agent should have the following characteristics:

  • High safety
  • Good taste
  • High stability
  • Good water solubility
  • Reasonable price

Sweetening agent refer to food additives that can impart sweetness to soft drinks. Sweetening agent can be divided into nutritive sweetening agent and non-nutritive sweetening agent according to their nutritional value; according to their sweetness, they can be divided into low-sweetness sweetening agent and high-sweetness sweetening agent; according to their source Divided into natural sweetening agent and synthetic sweetening agent(artificial sweetening agents).

The Main Role of Sweetening Agent

The main functions of sweetening agent in food are as follows:
  1. Taste: Sweetening agent is one of the indicators of many foods. In order to make food and beverages palatable, it is necessary to add a certain amount of sweetening agent.
  2. The adjustment and enhancement of flavor generally require sweetening agent in pastries; in beverages, the adjustment of flavor includes the “sugar-acid ratio” item. The sweetening agent can make the product obtain a good flavor while retaining the fresh taste.
  3. The formation of flavor. Sweeteners and the flavor of many foods are complementary to each other. The taste of many products is produced by the combination of flavor substances and sweetening agent, so many foods add sweetening agent.
Sweetening Agent
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Industrial Applications of Sweetening Agent

Sweetening agent have an important influence on the world’s food, from 8 million tons produced in 1900 to 70 million tons in 1970. As people’s health requirements become more and more demanding, it is hoped that the sweetener’s capacity will be as low as possible or even zero, with a good taste and a more reasonable price. Nearly a century before the 1950s and 1960s, most of the sweeteners used in the food industry were sucrose and saccharin from petrochemical industries. After the 1950s and 1960s, sweetening agent such as sodium cyclamate, dipeptide sweeteners, thaumatin, acesulfame potassium and alitame appeared in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Types of Sweetening Agents

There are many types of sweetening agents, which can be divided into:
According to their sources, they can be divided into natural sweetening agents and synthetic sweetening agents(artificial sweetening agents); according to their nutritional value, they can be divided into nutritional sweeteners and non-nutritive sweeteners; according to their chemistry Structure and properties are divided into sugar and non-sugar sweeteners. Sugars such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, starch sugar and lactose are also natural sweeteners, but because they have been consumed by humans for a long time and are important nutrients, they are usually regarded as food raw materials and are not used as food additives in China.

Non-sugar sweeteners include natural sweeteners and synthetic sweeteners.
Natural sweeteners include stevioside, licorice, disodium glycyrrhizinate, tripotassium and trisodium glycyrrhizinate. Synthetic sweeteners include saccharin, sodium saccharin, sodium cyclamate, and alitame aspartame.

The Development Trend of Sweetening Agents

Nutritional sweetening agents means that when a certain sweetener has the same sweetness as sucrose, its calorific value is more than 2% of the caloric value of sucrose. Non-nutritive sweetening agents are defined as having a calorific value lower than 2% of the caloric value of sucrose.
Natural non-nutritive sweetening agents have received increasing attention and are the development trend of sweetening agents. WHO pointed out that more than 50 million people with diabetes have reached more than one-quarter of Americans who require low-calorie foods. Among sucrose substitutes, aspartame is mainly used in the United States, which accounts for more than 90%, while Japan is dominated by steviol glycosides, and Europeans are more interested in AK sugar (acesulfame K). These three non-nutritive sweeteners can be used in China.
From the perspective of market demand and research on sweetening agents, the development trend of sweetening agents mainly has two aspects:

  • High sweetness sweetening agents
    High-sweetness sweetening agents have the advantages of high sweetness, low calories, less caries, high safety, etc., and most of these sweetening agents are non-sugar substances, which are not controlled by insulin during the metabolic process and will not cause obesity And blood pressure rise, suitable for diabetes and obesity patients as a sweet substitute.
  • Functional sweetening agents
    Functional sweetening agents (mainly oligosaccharides at this stage) not only have the characteristics of low calorie, high stability, safety and non-toxicity, but also have the unique function of promoting the reproduction of probiotics and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. The physiological functions of functional oligosaccharides currently confirmed mainly include the following aspects:
    1. It is not easy to be absorbed by the human body, and provides very low or no calories. It can be used for diabetics, obesity patients and hyperglycemia patients.
    2. Activate bifidobacteria in the intestines and promote their growth. Functional oligosaccharides are the proliferation factors of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract, among which the most obvious object of proliferation is bifidobacteria. Human trials have shown that certain functional oligosaccharides, such as isomalto-oligosaccharides, are used by bifidobacteria and certain lactic acid bacteria in the large intestine after being ingested into the human body, while the harmful intestinal bacterium Perfringens and Clostridium spoilage Bacteria cannot be used because the surface of bifidobacteria has oligosaccharide receptors, and many oligosaccharides are effective bifidus factors.
    3. It will not cause tooth decay, which is good for maintaining oral hygiene.
    4. It has some physiological functions of dietary fiber, such as lowering serum cholesterol and preventing colon cancer.