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Low-calorie alternatives: Researchers are studying novel sugars
Since white table sugar is considered to be particularly unhealthy, more and more people are opting for alternative sweeteners that are said to be healthier than sugar. Some of these low-calorie alternatives are now being investigated in a research project.
Lack of alternatives with the same taste
Nutrition experts always advise against excessive sugar consumption, as this is associated with numerous health risks. Among other things, sugar leads to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay - and consumers are aware of this. Nevertheless, the craving for sweets is often great and can hardly be tamed. Unfortunately, there is a lack of alternatives to table sugar with the same taste. To change this, science and industry are doing research together in the "Healthy Sugars" project.
Use of sugar alternatives
The Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences is also involved in the project, specializing in beverage technology (head: Professor Dr. Jan Schneider) and baked goods technology (head: Professor Dr. Ute Hermenau).
"Due to recommendations from the World Health Organization and the increasing health awareness of the population, the demand for low-calorie and healthy alternatives to sucrose will increase steadily in the future," explains Professor Jan Schneider in a message.
"After all we know today about the neurobiological-psychological processes in shopping and eating behavior, it is unfortunately not enough to educate or to give up incentives," said the scientist.
According to the experts, the alternatives used today - above all sugar substitutes and sweeteners - have disadvantages in sensor technology and have therefore so far only met with moderate acceptance by consumers.
Because sugar is especially important in foods for sweetening; it also has a significant influence on the body and color, the mouthfeel and the preservation of the products.
Two new types of sugar
Therefore, the research project examines two novel sugars: allulose and cellobiose. The former is made from corn starch, is almost without calories and has been produced in Asia and the United States, where it is classified as safe.
However, it is not yet approved in Europe. Its sweetening power is 70 percent of that of table sugar.
According to the experts, cellobiose achieves 20 percent of the sweetness compared to conventional sugar. It arises from the breakdown of cellulose by, for example, bacteria or fungi and, among other things, can open up new opportunities for lactose-intolerant consumers.
“The different property profiles of both sugars result in complementary or combinable fields of application in food. What both sugars have in common, however, is the significantly lower calorific value and glycemic index compared to sucrose, ”explains Professor Ute Hermenau.
Calorie reduction in beverages and foods
According to the information, the research project aims at the development of the production of allulose and cellobiose as well as the possible uses of sugars for sucrose and thus for calorie reduction in beverages and food.
It is said that there is a focus on the sensory and qualitative properties of the end product as well as on the health effects and the tolerance of the substances used.
Reformulations of the compositions of the products are to emerge, which mark an important step on the way to market launch.
The use of the two new sugars in beverages and baked goods is being researched at the Institute for Food Technology.NRW (ILT.NRW) at the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences.
Beverage technology scientists are equally looking at beverages with and without alcohol. The research team for baked goods technology ranges from fine baked goods to small baked goods and breads.
The other project partners deal with confectionery, jams and fruit preparations as well as instant products and food supplements.
The project participants cover the entire value chain from the production of sugar to the production of intermediate products and the finished food. (ad)