Discovering a sugar substitute is a difficult and expensive task.

Finding a sugar substitute presents itself as a formidable and onerous challenge. In the search for substitutes that preserve sweetness without compromising health, science faces significant obstacles. The work is complex and requires a considerable investment; the search is done through research supported by solid scientific studies.

Sugar substitute

Finding a substitute for sugar is not easy or economical.

Society requires a healthy and affordable alternative to replace sugar, given the high prevalence of obesity and diabetes among the population. There are many alternatives that have been known for a long time, such as saccharin, aspartame or sucralose.

Generally, they are used in the production of diet drinks. There are also other substitutes recently discovered that are natural such as stevia and monk fruit. They are found naturally in plants and their extraction is not that expensive.

Other alternatives are polyols or sugar alcohols, such as erythritol, which is widely used in baking, since it tolerates high cooking temperatures.

However, the options known so far to adequately replace sugar are not good solutions. In most cases, there is a metallic taste in the mouth that is really unpleasant. Furthermore, in the food industry, sugar fulfills an irreplaceable function due to texture, preservation and the special touch it gives to foods.

Furthermore, when using certain substitutes, potential risks may arise, which requires further investigation due to the possible associated harmful effects.


Recently discovered substitutes

Allulose occurs naturally in figs and raisins, for example, although in small quantities. However, its mass production is expensive, so, for the moment, it is not the substitute so often sought.

Although a small Israeli company, it manufactures allulose using a genetically modified enzyme that has already been patented. They use high fructose corn syrup for preparation.

This Israeli startup hopes to popularize allulose as an ingredient for the industry, partnering with sugar producers for financing.

In the United States, a startup associated with cane sugar producers launched another product, tagatose. It has a lower cost and with 90% of the sweetness of cane sugar, it even surpasses allulose.

Another UK company produces another low-cost sugar substitute from agricultural production waste such as cobs, husks and stalks.

Some sugar substitutes don’t have good reviews

Erythritol was linked to some cases of strokes and heart attacks. In turn, aspartame is considered a possible carcinogen. In addition, the WHO recently recommended not using sweeteners to lose weight, because they can increase the risks of contracting diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

These criticisms create a challenge to replace sugar with any of these new products, it is to impose it on the industry. Reformulating a product, by changing a primary ingredient such as sugar, can take years.

Additionally, producers of a potential sugar substitute must demonstrate that their product is reliable and that they can sustain its manufacturing indefinitely.

Likewise, regulatory approval can also be another drawback. Allulose has been approved for years in the United States, but in Europe it still lacks approval for use.

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