Pp. 191-211 (21)
A sweetener is a molecule that gives a food, or a drink, a sweet taste, thus
activating the areas of taste used to perceive this as flavor. Sweeteners, as they increase
the palatability of food, are widely used in the production, including industrial, of
foodstuffs. In this regard, it is a common practice to add quantities of sugar to the
recipes in order to gain consensus on the food market, since the sweetest products are
most welcome among consumers. The need to use sweeteners has increased
significantly in recent decades, due to the increased sensitivity to problems caused by
excess sucrose (the common kitchen sugar) in human nutrition. It is clear that a diet
rich in sugars, which exceeds 5% of daily caloric needs, can lead to very important
pathologies ranging from common caries to diabetes. For this reason, it is preferred to
adopt different “safer” solutions. In this chapter, the most commonly used sweeteners
have been described, highlighting their chemical structure, their safe amount, and
utilizable and toxic effects, where applicable. To guarantee an easy reading, the chapter
includes three categories, natural sweeteners, sugar alcohols and intense sweeteners,
which collect all the similar sweeteners.
Food additive, Intense sweeteners, Natural sweeteners, Sugars.
Department of Pharmacy, Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Calabria, Edificio Polifunzionale, Arcavacata di Rende (CS) 87036, Italy.