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Firms sweet on no- or low-cal sugar.

One day bakers may make their own low-calorie double fudge brownies and diabetic may be able to satisfy a sweet tooth without deviating from their strict diets. Nutrasweet Co. in Mount Prospect, Ill., and the German company Sudzucker AG in Grunstadt have developed new bulking agents, which serve as sugar substitutes. These substitutes lack the intense sweetness of artificial sweeteners such as saccharin or aspartame but look and react so much like sucrose -- table sugar -- that they can replace sugar in baked goods and frozen desserts, says Hubert Schiweck, a chemist with Sudzucker.

He says his company's product, Isomalt, carried half the calories of sucrose. Nutrasweet's products -- called sugar amides -- pass through the digestive system unaltered and thus add no calories, says Nutrasweet chemist Manssur Yalpani.

Thus, when used with artificial sweetener, these bulking agents can reduce by one-half to one-third the caloric content of many desserts without changing their sweetness or character or requiring changes in how companies or home bakers produce their sweets, Yalpani adds. Both products still need approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In addition, Coors BioTech, Inc., in Westminster, Colo., has announced it will use Japanese technology for producing a class of sugars called fructooligosaccharides in the United States. In Japan, about 50 foods, including infant formulas, contain this natural additive, which has less than half the calories of sucrose and helps keep the digestive tract healthy, says Coors chemist Robert M. Speights.

These sugars pass intact through the stomach and small intestine to the large intestine, where beneficial bacteria can metabolize them as an energy source, says Speights. The bacteria -- related to those found in yogurt -- thrive and make the intestine less susceptible to infection by Salmonella and possibly to carcinogenic chemicals, he adds. The sugars can work as low-calorie substitutes, but for now Coors plans to market them solely as a healthful food additive.
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Title Annotation:new sugar substitutes developed
Author:Pennisi, Elizabeth
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 7, 1991
Words:314
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