Sweeteners and sweet taste enhancers in the food industry
Abstract The search for new sweeteners technologies has increased substantially in the past decades as the number of diseases related to the excessive consumption of sugar became a public health concern. Low carbohydrates diets help to reduce ingested calories and to maintain a healthy weight. Most natural and synthetic high potency non-caloric sweeteners, known to date, show limitations in taste quality and are generally used in combination due to their complementary flavor characteristics and physicochemical properties in order to minimize undesirable features. The challenge of the food manufacturers is to develop low or calorie-free products without compromising the real taste of sugar expected by consumers. With the discovery of the genes coding for the sweet taste receptor in humans, entirely new flavor ingredients were identified, which are tasteless on their own, but potentially enhance the taste of sugar. These small molecules known as positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) could be more effective than other reported taste enhancers at reducing calories in consumer products. PAMs could represent a breakthrough in the field of flavor development after the increase in the knowledge of safety profile in combination with sucrose in humans.