Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, May 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 24 Sweeteners MAY 2018 the market use chemical treatments or are produced using fermentation processes that employ non-natural, bioengineered fermen- tation organisms and enzymes." T e com- panies say that because their ingredients do not use fermentation or enzymatic process- ing, they give formulators greater leeway to use them in countries "that otherwise do not permit use of stevia extracts when produced using bioconversion or fermentation meth- ods." In addition, they say, "Because there are no enzyme enrichment or fermentation techniques employed in the production of GLG's Reb M product line, they are also clean-label ingredients, an added benef t to formulators looking to meet the growing de- mand for clean and clear labels…" Meadows provides a quick overview of the process GLG went through to develop the Dream Sweetener leaf. "GLG developed its high–Reb M Dream Sweetener seedling over the past f ve years," he says. T e com- pany f rst publicly announced it had created a high–Reb M seedling back in 2015. T at seedling contained 4% Reb M as a percent- age of total steviol glycosides. "Historically, stevia seedlings contained less than 1% of Reb M as a percentage of total steviol gly- cosides," Meadows says. For comparison, he says, "T is high–Reb M seedling was a 1000% increase in Reb M compared to the levels contained in GLG's Reb A seedlings." A year later, in 2016, GLG announced an improved version of the seedling, one that contains 8% Reb M as a percentage of to- tal steviol glycosides. In 2017, GLG began planting this 8%–Reb M seedling, and it now serves as the source of the new Reb M ingredient GLG and ADM are selling commercially. Meadows says GLG's goal is to continue increasing the percentage of Reb M in the leaf. "GLG is focusing on developing even higher concentrations of Reb M in the Dream Sweetener leaf and has two agricultural pro- grams focusing on achieving this." He says the company is also working with "a lead- ing agricultural university" to increase Reb M yields. Last year, the research partnership achieved a "major breakthrough": seedlings that contain more than 50% Reb M as a per- centage of total steviol glycosides, he says. GLG may commercialize this new variety in the future, Meadows says, and also plans STEVIA, NOW WITH ALLULOSE Allulose, or D-allulose, is an up-and- coming ingredient in the sweetening world. This low-calorie sweetener, which naturally occurs in sources like wheat, fi gs, raisins, and jackfruit, is molecularly similar to fructose and glucose, but it has an outstanding quality: because it is not rapidly digested, metabolized, and absorbed by the body like fructose and glucose are, it does not impact blood sugar and insulin levels and thus is safe for use by those controlling blood sugar levels, such as those with diabetes, in addition to being at- tractive to people following low-sugar/low-carb or ketogenic diets. While allulose is only 70% sweet when used alone, one company, Icon Foods (formerly Steviva Ingredients; Portland, OR), is combining allulose with high-intensity sweeteners stevia and monk fruit. The resulting blends can be used to replace sugar as a sweetener, while being lower calorie and blood sugar friendly. The company is supplying the ingre- dients under the brand name KetoseSweet. (The purely-allulose ingredient is called Ke- toseSweet, while versions including monk fruit, stevia, or both are called KetoseSweet+.) Thom King, president and CEO of Icon Foods, describes how the KetoseSweet+ ingre- dients containing stevia and/or monk fruit formulate similarly to sugar, while providing good mouthfeel. "The KetoseSweet+ fl avor profi le is very neutral, with a mouthfeel very similar to sugar. Allulose on its own is only around 70% as sweet as sugar, so a high- intensity sweetener is required to bring it to just about parity," he adds. When combined with stevia and/or monk fruit, he says the combination is a "one-for-one plug-in replace- ment for sugar." As such, he says, "since KetoseSweet+ is nearly identical to sugar in every way, includ- ing functionality, replacing sugar is really easy." It can be used in carbonated and non- carbonated beverages, baked goods, frozen desserts, syrups, gums, confectionery, and more, and it can even contribute functional improvements such as moisture binding and browning via Maillard reaction. As far as KetoseSweet+'s calorie content, the company says it is comparable to the sugar alcohol (polyol) erythritol, but sidesteps any laxative effects or cooling effect. "Compared to sugar's 4 calories per gram, KetoseSweet+ [both stevia and monk fruit versions] has only 0.2 calories per gram," King says. He adds that researchers in Japan re- cently found that allulose may also enhance fat metabolism and help maintain a healthy body weight. The composition of KetoseSweet+ is in the neighborhood of 85% allulose and less than 15% stevia and monk fruit, King says. All three sweeteners, when combined, "pass through the digestive system unmetabolized," he says. King says his company is fi nally moving to allulose now that supply is stabilizing. "This is the fi rst allulose-based sweetening system Icon Foods is offering," he says. "We consid- ered it for the past fi ve years, but we didn't feel like the supply chain was solid enough, and the price was too high. Now, it is at parity with most polyols, and cheaper than some, so it is now a viable option." King says that one of Icon's supply chain partners, Tate & Lyle (London), which supplies the Dolcia Prima allulose line, is now petitioning FDA to exclude allulose from being listed as an added sugar on U.S. Nutrition Facts labels because, unlike other sugars, it is not metabolized by the body and has "negligible" calories. At the time of publication, an FDA response was still pending. ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ DIRKR

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