Americans’ love affair with sugar can be a deadly attraction that sometimes leads to major health problems, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Finding natural, non-caloric sugar substitutes is desirable but challenging. However, researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have made a breakthrough — discovering new, natural sweeteners in citrus for the first time.
This finding opens opportunities for the food industry to produce food and beverages with lower sugar content and lower calories while maintaining sweetness and taste using natural products.
Yu Wang, associate professor of food science at UF/IFAS, managed the multi-year project that found eight new sweetener or sweetness-enhancing compounds in 11 citrus cultivars.
“We were able to identify a natural source for an artificial sweetener, oxime V, that had never been identified from any natural source previously,” said Wang, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Florida. “This creates expanded opportunities for citrus growers and for breeding cultivars to be selected to obtain high yields of sweetener compounds.”
Replacing and reducing sugar in processed foods is a long-term goal of both the healthcare system and food and beverage industry. Consumers want a sweet-tasting orange juice, but they’re also concerned about too much sugar consumption. Identifying the sweeteners and sweet-enhancing compounds could provide a solution for the “Sugar Bias” for the citrus industry.Learn more about UF Researchers Find New Sugar Substitutes in Citrus That Could Change Food and Beverage Industry