The popularity of artificial sweeteners has skyrocketed because they enable individuals to enjoy sweets without the associated calories.
Although they are thought to be safe for intake by people, research on both humans and animals suggests that some of them may stimulate hunger, resulting in increased food consumption and weight gain as well as other harmful health effects.
As a result, scientists have started looking into low-calorie or extraordinarily sweet compounds derived from natural sources as potential replacements. Galactooligosaccharides, for instance, are low-calorie sugars with prebiotic action that can provide energy for helpful gut microorganisms, but they aren’t quite sweet enough to replace table sugar.
They are found in mammalian milk. Alternatively, luo han guo fruit extracts include mogrosides, which are substances 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar.
However, these extracts occasionally contain bad flavors that can be eliminated using enzymes.
F. Javier Moreno and colleagues used enzymes to modify mogrosides while simultaneously creating galactooligosaccharides for a novel low-calorie sweetener in order to benefit from the greatest features of both natural compounds.
The scientists began with lactose and mogroside V. (the primary mogrosidein luo han guo fruit).
When they added β-galactosidase enzymes, the researchers got a mixture that was mostly galactooligosaccharides and had a small amount of modified mogrosides.
The new mixture was described by a trained sensory panel as having a sweetness resembling sucrose (table sugar), suggesting that consumers would find it tolerable.
In the experiments, the new sweetener increased the number of good microbes in the human gut, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria.
Additionally, the mixture might have a prebiotic effect on the gut microbiome based on increases in bacteria-produced metabolites such acetate, propionate, and butyrate.
The novel sweetener is promising, according to the researchers, and their next step will be to more thoroughly examine the substance’s effects on gut health in people.
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