You may have heard that sweeteners are not good for you. That’s because they are either sources of added sugars and empty calories or they can be made up of artificial ingredients. In general, they are not the healthiest foods to eat. Typically, avoiding sugary products can help with weight management and metabolic diseases, as well as other aspects of your health. However, if you have a sweet tooth, the last thing you want to do is cut out candy altogether.
If you’ve ever been caught avoiding sweets and indulging in them, you might want to listen. Scientists have created a new sweetener that can actually support your health.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistryresearchers reported that they had a low-calorie combination of ingredients that tastes as sweet as table sugar, but also helps your gut.
For these results, researchers studied both low-calorie and extremely sweet substances from natural sources. They discovered a few different ones. To start with, they looked at galactooligosaccharides: low-calorie sugars with prebiotic activity. Researchers believed they could be an energy source that benefits gut microbes: gut bacteria that have several important functions, such as breaking down food, producing vitamins and training the immune system. However, the prebiotics were not sweet enough on their own to replace the taste of table sugar.
Researchers also looked at extracts from the fruit, Luo Han Guo, also known as monk fruit. The fruit contains mogrosides: compounds that are 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar. When eaten alone, these extracts can have flavors that are funky. However, enzymes can remove the extracts.
When researchers discovered the pros and cons of both substances, they decided to take the best aspects of both and combine them to create something extraordinary. They used enzymes to modify the mogrosides and also produced galactooligosaccharides to combine them into a brand new low-calorie sweetener.
When the combination was complete, a trained sensory panel reported that the new combination had a sweetness comparable to table sugar. In addition, in test-tube experiments, the new sweetener increased levels of multiple beneficial human gut microbes. The addition of bacteria-produced metabolites, such as acetate, propionate and butyrate, also showed that the mixture may also have a prebiotic effect on the gut microbiome.
This new sweetener has potential for future use. However, the researchers still need to study the impact of the substance on human gut health.
dr. Young also expresses some concern about relying on a new sweetener to help develop a healthy gut. Instead, she recommends consuming lots of vegetables and other foods that are better for you. “As far as gut health is concerned, a complete diet consisting of a variety of plant-based foods is good for gut health,” she says.
Kayla Garritano is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and a double minor in Marketing and Creative Writing. read more
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