New Natural Sweetener D-psicose Marches toward Commercialization

D-psicose natural sweetener

D-psicose is considered a “rare sugar” due to its scarcity in nature. Efforts are underway to extract it in a cost-efficient manner.
Illustration source: Wikipedia

(April 21, 2015—Global Food Forums) The preference for sweetness is innate in humans. Even newborns turn their heads toward a sweet solution versus one with plain water. Many animals also show a preference for foods with some sweetness. This preference is hard-wired; in nature, sweet foods correlate with those foods being a source of energy. See the Global Food Forums’ blog “Why is There So Much Sugar in our Foods?

With health concerns from obesity to diabetes, however, over-consumption of high-caloric sweeteners can be problematic. Consumer interests, and thus the food industry’s interest have turned to ingredients that provide sweetness with few to no calories. Additionally, some consumers segments strongly prefer “natural sweeteners” (regardless of their calorie or fructose content as in the case of agave syrup or honey).

Stevia and monk fruit extract are two high intensity (thus low calorie) sweeteners generally considered to be naturally-derived from plants. They have gained much popularity with the US food industry and their use is expanding globally.
However, a new, natural, almost zero-calorie sweetener may be not too far off. An article entitled “Formulating for a Sweet Perception with Natural Sweeteners” (Food Processing, April, 2014, page WF-15 and also online) examines D-psicose, a “rare sugar” found in nature and which has garnered FDA-notified GRAS status by at least one supplier.

Key physciochemical properties that may prove it very beneficial in future food formulations are that it is about 70% as sweet as sucrose but provides only 0.2kcal per gram (versus 4.0 for sucrose). In some applications it may also function as a bulking agent to help replace the volume needed in a formula when sucrose is reduced or removed.

—Claudia Dziuk O’Donnell, co-owner, editorial content, Global Food Forums, Inc.

Posted on:April 21, 2014

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