For consumers concerned about weight loss, dental caries and diabetes, table sugar is an unwanted ingredient. Taking its place at the table are many lowcalorie and non-nutritive sweeteners like acesulfame-K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin and sucralose, and polyols like sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, mannitol, isomalt, erythritol and maltitol.

Read the following articles, make a note and try to answer the questions to test your understanding:
  • Carbohydrate Sweeteners - "Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are generally studied in chemistry, not food science. Together they form carbohydrates, important compounds that contribute texture, flavor and structure to foods. These sugars, starches, pectins, celluloses and certain gums have a long and valuable history of use in prepared foods" (Food Product Design). Read on...
  • Polyols: Benefits Beyond Sweet Taste (Part 1) - "In addition to their use in the production of low- and reduced-calorie foods, polyols are increasingly utilized for their functional benefits. This trend in increased usage reflects the wide range of benefits these bulk sweeteners offer for food production and food-product design. Polyols bring benefits to consumers that extend beyond sweet taste" (Food Product Design). Read on...
  • The sweetening power of polyols - With the growing concern over obesity and diabetes, polyols may appear on ingredient lists more often in the future. Learn more...
  • Polyols: Beyond Sweet Taste - A short but informative article about polyols.
  • Keep beverages sweet without the sugar - Design consideration when formulating reduced calorie beverages.
  • Seamlessly Sugar-Free Sweets - This article explains cleary the difference between sugar-free and reduced-sugar sweets and how to go about formulating it.
  • Reducing Added Sugar -- The sugar content of foods and beverages is a consumer hot button. As with any development project, replacing added sugars with ingredients such as erythritol and stevia must begin by evaluating their impact on the finished product.
  • Sugar-Free Confections - The interest in sugar-free confections is rising, a natural complement to the low-carb craze. Additionally, health issues such as diabetes and dental health are fueling growth. A list of sweeteners key to creating low-sugar confections will be useful to formulators.
  • Sugar-Free Formulating -- Product developers can expect to see sugar-free and reduced-sugar confectionery sales increase overall as the economy recovers—especially since the taste of sugar-free and reduced-sugar products has improved substantially over the last decade as suppliers and formulators have collaborated to raise the sensory bar on these products.
  • Switching sweeteners - "In tight economic times, food processors need to keep an eye on the bottom line. But at the same time, they need to supply the market with products that meet consumer demand, whether it's satisfying the sweet tooth, reducing waistlines or just providing a satisfying product. This means that any effort to formulate with alternative sweeteners must overcome the difficult hurdle of cost/benefit" (Food Product Design). Read on...
  • Managing Dietary Glucose -- When it comes to differentiating carbs by their impact on blood glucose levels, the food, nutritional and medical industries have yet to reach agreement on appropriate terminology. However, they do agree that not all carbs are created equal
  • The Sweet Life for Diabetics - Options available for formulating products for diabetics.

video-icon.jpgVideo on Demand - These are collection of recorded presentation on Prepared Foods website; the presentation is given by industry application specialist on the subject of sweeteners. This is the opportunity to listen to the experienced industry people because we cannot invite them to USM (no budget!). Feel free to listen to any of the presentation. Some of the presentations can be downloaded using Real Player (download the free version). You can even convert it to 3GP format so that you can view it on your handphone!! Hmm...how nice to learn nowadays...learn anywhere, anytime, even when lying on the bed! This is what we call now as mobile learning.

I suggest at least listen to a few presentations below (and the rest I hope you can explore at your convenience):