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Open AccessArticle

A Comparison of Psychophysical Dose-Response Behaviour across 16 Sweeteners

by May Wee 1, Vicki Tan 1 and Ciarán Forde 1,2,*
Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC), Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore 117599, Singapore
Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117593, Singapore
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(11), 1632;
Received: 4 September 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 26 October 2018 / Published: 2 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
Reduction or replacement of sucrose while maintaining sweetness in foods is challenging, but today there are many sweeteners with diverse physical and caloric compositions to choose from. The choice of sweetener can be adapted to match reformulation goals whether these are to reduce calories, lower the glycaemic response, provide bulk or meet criteria as a natural ingredient. The current study sought to describe and compare the sweetness intensity dose-response, sweetness growth rate, sweetness potency, and potential for calorie reduction across 16 different sweeteners including sucrose. Sweetness growth rate was defined as the rate of change in sweetness intensity per unit of sweetener concentration. Sweetness potency was defined as the ratio of the concentration of a sweetener to that of sucrose at equivalent sweetness intensity, whereas the potential for calorie reduction is the caloric value of a sweetener compared to sucrose at matched sweetness intensities. Sweeteners were drawn from a range of nutritive saccharide (sucrose, dextrose, fructose, allulose (d-psicose), palatinose (isomaltulose), and a sucrose–allulose mixture), nutritive polyol (maltitol, erythritol, mannitol, xylitol, sorbitol), non-nutritive synthetic (aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose) and non-nutritive natural sweeteners stevia (rebaudioside A), luo han guo (mogroside V). Sweetness intensities of the 16 sweeteners were compared with a sensory panel of 40 participants (n = 40; 28 females). Participants were asked to rate perceived sweetness intensity for each sweetener series across a range of concentrations using psychophysical ratings taken on a general labelled magnitude scale (gLMS). All sweeteners exhibited sigmoidal dose-response behaviours and matched the ‘moderate’ sweetness intensity of sucrose (10% w/v). Fructose, xylitol and sucralose had peak sweetness intensities greater than sucrose at the upper concentrations tested, while acesulfame-K and stevia (rebA) were markedly lower. Independent of sweetener concentration, the nutritive sweeteners had similar sweetness growth rates to sucrose and were greater than the non-nutritive sweeteners. Non-nutritive sweeteners on the other hand had higher potencies relative to sucrose, which decreases when matching at higher sweetness intensities. With the exception of dextrose and palatinose, all sweeteners matched the sweetness intensity of sucrose across the measured range (3.8–25% w/v sucrose) with fewer calories. Overall, the sucrose–allulose mixture, maltitol and xylitol sweeteners were most similar to sucrose in terms of dose-response behaviour, growth rate and potency, and showed the most potential for sugar replacement within the range of sweetness intensities tested. View Full-Text
Keywords: sweeteners; sugar reduction; psychophysical dose-response; sweetness growth rate; sweetness potency sweeteners; sugar reduction; psychophysical dose-response; sweetness growth rate; sweetness potency
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wee, M.; Tan, V.; Forde, C. A Comparison of Psychophysical Dose-Response Behaviour across 16 Sweeteners. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1632.

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