Natural sugar substitutes

Public health is one of the main drivers of the evolution of the sweeteners market and it has boosted the transformation of the consumer habits and the decision to change from the conventional cane sugar, going through a series of sweetening alternatives that have enjoyed of fame and debates periods, until the modern mogrosides.

Currently, the consumers are concern about the growing obesity and diabetes indexes, and are looking for products that can contribute to their health, sweeteners are one of the products included in this search. It is worth to remember that sweeteners can be classified in four main families: carbohydrates, polyols, high intensity synthetic sweeteners and high intensity natural sweeteners. The last two have the quality of providing very small quantities of calories compared to the carbohydrates and the polyols, so their consumption has increased since they were discovered as healthy alternatives for the low calorie diets. 

The secret of the performance of those ingredients, is that, being tenths or even hundreds of times sweeter than the cane sugar, the quantities needed to achieve the same sweetness are significantly small. Besides, this characteristic provides versatility so they ideal for being used on beverages, desserts, dairy products, bubblegum, medicines, confectioners, ice creams, etc. For many people that need to eat a low calorie diet or need to take care of the glycemic index of the products they eat, the high intensity sweeteners are the only resource for sweetening their food without affecting the regime.

Samples of synthetic sweeteners are aspartame, acesulfame and saccharine. Although the origin of some of them goes back to the twentieth century (saccharine), in recent years those products have been severely objected because there is the suspect that its consumption may cause adverse physiological effects, including cancer. Until today, this statement has not been supported by realistic scientific studies. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked definitively the prohibition that was passed on saccharin since 1977, that due to the intervention of the Congress, was provisionally suspended in order to perform more research around this molecule.

Due to economic and health importance they have, the sugar substitutes like the high intensity sweeteners, are among the substances that have been subject to very careful and scrupulous studies, having hundreds of studies that support that they are innocuous, (even in pregnant women), and therefore, safe for consumption.

For those who prefer not to trust on synthetic sweeteners, the good news is that today a variety of natural based products, extracted from plants, is available in the market, and studies performed around those products have demonstrated their safety.

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