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Chapter 2: Properties of High-Intensity Sweeteners

Sweeteners: Alternative
Pages 17-29
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1094/189112711X.002
ISBN: 1-891127-11-X


Topics Covered

  • General Comparisons
    • Sweetness and Solubility
    • Physical and Chemical Characteristics
  • Synthetic High-Intensity Sweeteners
    • Saccharin
    • Cyclamates
    • Aspartame
    • Alitame
    • Acesulfame Potassium
    • Sucralose
  • Naturally Occurring High-Intensity Sweeteners
    • Thaumatin
    • Stevioside
    • Glycyrrhizin

Introduction to Chapter

High-intensity sweeteners are agents that exhibit sweetening powers at very low concentrations. This sweetening power is most often compared with that of sucrose and is called the relative sweetness. For example, the compound aspartame is about 160–220 times sweeter than sucrose and is considered a high-intensity, or high-potency, sweetener. These sweeteners are useful in the development of low-calorie foods because although they may be caloric, they are used only at very low levels in the final products. They are also often used in the development of foods to help prevent dental caries and in foods eaten by diabetics because they do not promote dental caries or raise blood sugar levels. The high-intensity sweeteners discussed here are those commonly used in the food industry worldwide and are either synthetic or naturally occurring. The synthetic sweeteners are saccharin, cyclamate, aspartame, alitame, acesulfame K, and sucralose. The naturally occurring sweeteners are thaumatin, stevioside, and glycyrrhizin.

It is important to understand the physical and chemical properties of the high-intensity sweeteners, since they can be very different from the properties of the sucrose or other nutritive sweeteners they are replacing in a food system. Sweeteners: Nutritive (1) reviews the properties of sucrose and other natural or carbohydrate-based sweeteners such as corn syrups, honey, and dextrose. An understanding of a particular high-intensity sweetener's properties, such as sweetening ability, solubility, and stability at various pH levels and temperatures, and how to analytically determine its presence is crucial during the product-development and processing stages.