Sweeteners from citrus? Researchers find sweetness-enhancing compounds from citrus cultivars

The discovery provides food and beverage manufacturers with another potential sugar-reduction tool, according to researchers behind the two-year study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​.

Finding natural, non-caloric substitutes for sugar is an ongoing challenge for the food and beverage industry and one that has become paramount in recent years with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans​ recommending limiting added sugar intake to 10% of energy/calories and the FDA’s recent proposed rule on which products can be labeled as ‘healthy’​limiting added sugars to 5% of the daily value per RACC (reference amount customarily consumed).

“To date, reducing sugar in food without compensating for sweetness can reduce the taste of most food. Replacing sugar with artificial, non-caloric sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose and aspartame can negatively impact flavor profiles by leaving a bitter and metallic aftertaste​,” noted researchers at the University of Florida.

Even with the rise and development of natural sweeteners including stevia, monk fruit, and allulose in response to consumers’ rejection of artificial sweeteners, many natural sweeteners still present sensory challenges, argued researchers.

“Consumers have shown increasing preference for naturally derived sweeteners that more closely resemble the sensory profile of sugar. To date, even natural, non-caloric sweeteners still possess some licorice-like and bitter aftertastes. While some natural sweeteners are currently derived from fruits, some fruits are difficult to cultivate,” ​researchers stated.

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