Why fructose is an excellent sweetner

Why fructose is an excellent functional sweetener

By Fintan McConnell, Product Manager Food Ingredients.

Fintan discusses the benefits of fructose and explains why it’s an excellent sweetener.

Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar found in most fruits as well as honey, it is a monosaccharide, or single sugar. Though it’s not exactly new as a food ingredient; it’s discovery dates back to 1847 and is attributed to French Chemist, Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut. In the last few years in particular it has become far more popular, especially in the production of confectionary, bakery products and soft drinks. It is an effective natural ingredient used to lower sugar content whilst retaining sweetness.

The differences between fructose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sucrose

There is sometimes confusion between fructose and in particular high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), as well as sucrose. To clear up any misconceptions about all three, though they are all-natural sweeteners there are very distinct differences. Essentially high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are pretty similar to sugar. To further clarify;

  • High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn starch. The type commonly used in soft drinks contains similar percentages of fructose and glucose to sugar; 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
  • Sucrose is created by combining fructose and glucose and when sucrose is refined it makes sugar.
  • Fructose is as one would expect; 100% fructose.

It’s well documented that too much sugar can cause health issues. Fructose on the other hand might not actually deserve this label and could in fact lower blood glucose.

Fructose may lead to a lower blood glucose rise

In June 2013 the EU introduced a regulation around fructose that if a product replaces at least 30% of glucose and/or sucrose with fructose that it can carry the claim that ‘consumption of foods containing fructose leads to a lower blood glucose rise compared to foods containing sucrose or glucose’.

In addition a review by Evans RA, Frese M, Romero J, Cunningham JH, Mills KE as highlighted in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that; “fructose in substitution for glucose or sucrose in food or beverages over a wide dose range of 15–100 g lowered postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses without an adverse effect on triglycerides.” Again, this means that there could be benefits to using fructose instead of glucose or sucrose in food products.

Below we further explore the benefits of fructose in food production.

The benefits of fructose

  • It is a superior sweetener to sucrose as it contains fewer total sugars and calories.
  • The sweetness of fructose provides a superior sweetness level to many other sweeteners, its flavour profile lends itself as an excellent sweetener to blend it with other natural sweeteners for example our 2nd generation Stevia or Sensus’ inulin as well as sucrose.
  • As regards to solubility, crystallisation as well as moisture binding, fructose provides far superior results than traditional sugars.
  • Fructose offers real flexibility when it comes to the production of food, it is particularly useful in baked goods in which it retains moisture and the desired texture longer. With confectionary, soft drinks and sauces it is also very effective.
  • Food with more than 30% fructose can lead to a lower blood glucose rise compared to foods containing sucrose or glucose (Commission Regulation (EU) No 536/2013)

Seeking sweetness?

If you are seeking an excellent sweetener like fructose from a reputable provider of food ingredients, then we can assist. We are now offering fructose to the UK and Irish markets, as well as other excellent natural sweeteners, like 2nd generation Stevia.

About NCC Food ingredients

At NCC Food ingredients we work directly with food producers from reformulation right through to new product development. If you are seeking to replace sugar or add sweetness to your food products, then we can assist. We have the experience and expertise to provide guidance when it comes to getting your product consumer ready.

NCC Food ingredients is an award-winning sourcing provider of functional and innovative ingredients. We recently won Ingredients Supplier of the Year. Our customer base ranges from international producers of foods and beverages to small niche artisan creators of fine foods. For further information fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.

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