Well – read on from Part 1 which covered Sugar, HFCS and Synthetic Sweeteners!
When a food label indicates "sugar", it refers to sucrose, the white, chemically refined cane or beet completely void of any nutrients of the originating plant, a compound that nature could never have invented. It is not only indigestible; the body treats sugar as a drug, makes it acidic and then up-regulates the pH by leaking calcium from bones and teeth. This leads to mineral deficiencies and a plethora of associated health problems from allergies to sexual dysfunction and impaired immune system. This white grainy table sugar is still the primary dry form sugar used in the industrialized world; its availability is ubiquitous as staple food – only this one has no nutritional value.
Agave Nectar / Syrup:
A natural low calorie plant-based sweetener from Mexico that is 75% stronger than sugar, sweeter and slightly thinner than honey but less viscous and is considered to be the lowest on the glycemic index scale of all sugar substitutes. This is a politically and scientifically unchallenged natural sweetener, a food whose availability may be limited both geographically and quantitatively, because all of it comes from a single place: Tequila, Guadalajara, Mexico. Agave Nectar comes from the same Blue Agave plant (agave tequilana, agave azul) that is the core of Mexico's National drink: the famed, distilled Tequila. Agave is one of the newest natural sugar alternatives; it has only been developed in the 1990's. A shortage of Blue Agave soon spawned the use of "wild Agave" The juice of the core is hydrolyzed by heat or enzymatic action to convert the carbohydrates into sugars, mainly a complex form of fructose called Inulin, the rest is 8-20% glucose . The hydrolyzed juice is then reduced to syrup that is said to have the lowest glycemic loads of any natural sweetener. Sixty five percent of Agave syrup can be used instead of 100% sugar and the liquids in a recipe should be reduced by the amount of Agave nectar. Agave syrup dissolves easily, tastes good and enhances the flavors of anything it sweetens. It has a long shelf life of about three years, is minimally processed and refined, it acts as moisture retainer and humidifying agent in foods, thereby improving shelf life of foods. It is easy to use and does not crystallize or harden. Look for organic products with no additives.
For all that, consider that Agave Nectar is not a "whole food", it is a fractionated and processed food. Similar to Maple Syrup, Agave Nectar is boiled down to concentrate the sweetness and in the process many of the nutrients in the whole plant are lost. Also, the Agave Nectar is apparently often diluted with HFCS for cost reasons, which renders the product useless. But there are only a few producers and all from the Tequila region, so identify a reliable source offering unadulterated 100% pure Agave Nectar. There is one source claiming to sell "raw" organic Agave Syrup, however there is no legal labeling definition of "raw" and if the product has been heated above 118º F or 44º C, it is not raw anymore.
is a very complex, pleasant tasting sweetener. Unlike refined sugar that is over 99 percent sucrose, Barley Malt Syrup is approximately 76.13 percent maltose, 15.81 percent glucose, 6.3 percent sucrose, 2.04 percent fructose and the remainder is lactose. It has 14 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of sugar per serving. Barley Malt is about half as sweet as refined sugar and has a consistency and flavor similar to that of molasses, although much milder. It is available as syrup and powders, the powders are extremely sensitive to moisture and in presence of steam it turns into candy very quickly. Barley Malt takes about 30-45 days to produce. First, whole barley is spread out and steeped in water. When it sprouts more than 140 enzymes are activated. These enzymes break down carbohydrates into simpler sugars and proteins into amino acids. When sugar levels are optimal, the sprouted grain is kiln roasted stopping enzymatic action.
The sprouted grain is cured, then mashed, cooked, and extracted into syrup. Lastly, it's filtered and packed. When choosing barley malt syrup, verify that it is traditionally malted. For cost cutting reasons, a lot of barley malt is instead made with pharmaceutical, genetically engineered enzymes, monosodium glutamate (MSG), gibberellic acid, and potassium bromate to speed and increase production or as processing aids. Barley Malt is a good choice for diabetics because it is digested slowly and does not disrupt the insulin levels. It is also an excellent choice for creative gourmet cooks and pastry makers that want to add distinguished flavor to sweet dishes without feeling bad about the sugar.
is arguably the most well known natural sugar alternative and is mentioned early in the Bible 61 times and in the Qur'an many times. Everyone knows that Honey is produced by Bees from the nectar of flowers and is an amber colored viscous sweet liquid. But when it comes to selecting Honey by the Label, the consumer may be overwhelmed. International food regulations and most countries have stipulated that Honey must be a pure product, free of other added ingredients. But how does one know the composition of honey, if the Bees collected the nectar from GMO plants, or even if the Bees were fed with Sugar or HFCS? Then, was the Honey processed and how was it processed, by ultrasound, by heat or whipped? These information are almost never found on the labels, do they matter?
It depends on the intended use of the Honey; obviously the criteria are more relaxed when Honey is merely used as a sweetener of baked foods or hot liquids, than if it is to be used as targeted nutrition or even as medicine. The basic nutritional value of Honey is unique and it contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, fibers, phenolic acids, flavonoids and carbohydrate in form of 38% fructose, 31% glucose, maltose, melezitose and sucrose. It has antioxidative and immune-system building properties, but processing and heat destroy many of these assets. Honey is produced everywhere where flowers grow and hence Honey from around the world is widely available in all hues and consistencies. The sweetening potential as a sugar substitute is about the same for all Honeys, although they may vary in their nutrients composition. The term "Organic" is widely found on Honey labels but is meaningless since the bee keeper has no control over where the Bees get the Nectar. "Natural" is also a term with no merit, the Bees could have been "naturally" fed with sugar syrup. All Bees Honey has natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka Honey from New Zealand is said to be particularly potent in these functions, because of the hydrogen-peroxide content. However, for utilizing Honey's antioxidative, immunity and anti-allergy capabilities, local Honey where the Bees collected Nectar from local plants should be used. Honey is a good source of energy with a much lower glycemic index than sugar. Honey is also sweeter than sugar. Raw, unheated, unfiltered Honey has the highest nutrient content, including all the enzymes. Supermarket Honey is processed for a clear, uniform appearance and delayed granulation, but most heat sensitive nutrients are dead. Processed Honey labels are usually void of processing information, but the less the processing the more forthcoming is the declaration. So if a label just mentions "pure honey" – it is highly processed. Some products mention the dominant flower, such as "clover honey", but that doesn't mean that the Bees were not also fed sugar or HFCS. Shelf life is another consideration: studies have shown that the antioxidative capacity is significantly reduced after six months.
is just one type of molasses, the one that is most suitable and common sugar substitute. BSM is the dark liquid byproduct of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. It is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is therefore the concentrated byproduct left over after the sugar's sucrose has been crystallized. Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually nutritious. Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple carbohydrates, or artificial sweeteners like saccharine or aspartame, which not only provide no useful nutrients but have been shown to cause health problems, Blackstrap Molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote sustainable health. In addition to providing quickly assimilated carbohydrates, BSM is an excellent source of bioavailable iron and can increase energy by helping to replenish iron stores. Iron from BSM is superior to iron from red meat, as it provides more iron per calorie and is completely fat free.
In addition, BSM is rich in calcium, an essential mineral to up-regulate pH levels, while white table sugar contributes to acidifying the body. Blackstrap Molasses is also one of the very rare food sources of copper and it yields potassium, magnesium and manganese. When BSM is used as sweetener in lieu of sugar the benefits are double: while sugar depletes the minerals in the body, BSM feeds these minerals to the consumer. For all its benefits, Blackstrap Molasses is not a "whole food", it is heavily cooked and cooking destroys the vitamins and enzymes. Those vitamins and minerals that survive the heat process are up to thirty times more concentrated than in cane juice. It is still an excellent alternative to sugar for sweetening foods. It has a rather distinct bittersweet somewhat liquorish flavor and this limits BSM's applications, so it does not go well for sweetening beverages. The sugar composition is about 33% sucrose, 17.5% Levulose and Dextrose and the remainder is water and organic matter. Select a Blackstrap Molasses that is unsulphured since not only does it contain this processing chemical to which some people are sensitive, but it has a cleaner and more clarified taste. Avoid sulphured Molasses but unsulphured Molasses is usable and is sweeter and lighter and has a not so strong flavor. This is also called Sweet Molasses or Barbados Molasses. Blackstrap molasses made from organic sugar cane is also available in some markets.
There are other types of Molasses used in different parts of the world; very common are Carob Molasses, Pomegranate Molasses, Sorghum Molasses, and there is also sugar beet molasses.
Brown Rice Syrup consists of brown rice that has been ground, cooked and mixed with enzymes th at change the starch into maltose. Sometimes it is mixed with Barley Malt before cooking. Brown rice syrup taste moderately sweet, buttery to nutty and can be quite delicious. In recipes, use a 2: 1 ratio of brown rice syrup, while reducing the amount of other liquids. You can also find this product as a dried powder. Brown Rice Syrup is about 40% less sweet than white table sugar. Brown rice syrup metabolizes slowly but does have calories and carbohydrates, diabetics should use it with caution. The final product is roughly 50% soluble complex carbohydrates, 45% maltose, and 3% glucose. Thus It is a "time-release" energy source. The glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream right away, the maltose digests over one and a half hours, and the complex carbohydrates burn over two to three hours. Thus, there is no sugar peak and sugar blues with this product and it is healthy for cholesterol leveling. Brown rice syrup is considered to be one of the healthiest sweeteners, since it is containing a lot of nutrients and it is produced from a whole food source and is made up of the simple sugars. Although it comes from a whole food source, substantial destruction of nutrients takes place in the process involving heat. Unlike Date Sugar, Brown Rice Syrup dissolves completely in liquids and is an ideal sweetener for beverages and its mild flavor opens up a plethora of other uses.
Brown Sugar is healthier – right? It once was and still would be – but is not! Today's commercially available brown sugar is the common fully refined white sugar with some 3-7% molasses added to color it brown. Since white sugar has no nutritional value, all nutrients claimed to be in brown sugar are from molasses.
is what most consumers believe they are using when referring to "brown sugar". This also called Natural Brown Sugar is not or only partially refined sugar cane and still contains some nutrients of the original plant and thus far superior to white table sugar. Since it has a more pungent taste than white sugar and may overwhelm subtle flavors such as tea and that limits the use of raw sugar in a world of bland tasting, one-food fit's-all products.
Date Honey / Sugar / Nectar
is probably the least processed natural sugar alternative. The date is a food of high nutritional value. It provides natural sugar in the form of 41% glucose and 28% fructose. In addition it contains fiber and protein, Iron and vitamins – just every nutrient from the natural fruit. This sugar – has about the same sweetness as white table sugar – is ready for immediate absorption and is, therefore, infinitely superior to cane sugar. Yes it is sweet like sugar but it's all natural and digestible just like dates. It adds unique flavor to foods and is ideal for breakfast cereals, baked goods, desserts and even in salad dressings. However it does not dissolve well in drinks and is not a great choice for a beverage sweetener. Date Honey or Nectar is available as syrup and Date Sugar in dry grains, granules or powder. Look for a 100% natural, organic, unpasteurized, unsterilized product that still contains all the nutrients of the fruit.
FOS (fructooligosaccharides) and Inulin
is an indigestible sugar, it triggers no spikes in blood sugar levels the way sucrose and glucose do. It is about 40 to 60 percent as sweet as sugar, yet not absorbed and has minimal caloric value. Since it is indigestible by our bodies, it gets transported to the large intestine where it feeds microbes and promotes fermentation, essentially serving as fertilizer for the bacteria in your colon. Certain lactobacillus species of bacteria have been shown to preferentially ferment Inulin / FOS. For this reason, it is being promoted as a supplement to feed the good bacteria in our guts. FOS is naturally found in low quantities in many types of foods such as asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem Artichokes, chicory root, leek, bananas and some 36,000 others and technically is a soluble fiber. However, to obtain just a quarter teaspoon of FOS from the diet, you would have to consume 13 bananas.16 tomatoes or 16 onions.
Chicory roots have one of the highest amounts of FOS of any plant, and most natural FOS is commercially derived from water-extraction of the roots. A naturally sweet, indigestible sugar derived from chicory roots, FOS is more than just a natural, zero calorie and low-glycemic sweetener: It is claimed to be one of the most powerful prebiotics that was researched in the last decade. The subject of over 100 clinical studies, FOS is one of the best-documented natural nutrients for improving the healthy balance of bacteria in intestines and stimulating the growth of the beneficial bifidobacteria – also called "friendly flora" – that reside in the colon. How important to good health is this so-called "friendly flora" that populates our intestines? They are literally our front-line defense against invading disease-causing organisms, combating premature aging caused by the toxin-producing bacteria and fungi that reside in our intestines. Some animal studies suggest that Inulin and FOS may prevent colon cancer. So much for natural occurring FOS.
The absolutely perfect no-calorie sugar that promotes regularity – if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. Critics contend that FOS may indeed promote the growth of certain lactobacillus bacteria, which may change the colonic ecosystem in favor of some bacteria, but what other potentially harmful bacteria are we feeding as well? There are typical side effects that will vary depending on one's level of tolerance. The list of known side effects include: intestinal gas, bloating, cramps, abdominal pain, and diarrhea for doses over 5-10 grams, and some people are also allergic to the product. While the origin of FOS is a plant, so is sugar (beet and sugar cane) which is converted into one of the unhealthiest refined chemical. Thus, we should not use a highly refined and concentrated chemical and the constant use of single strains of bacteria may lead to imbalance of good intestinal bacteria.
As the industrially made FOS permeates our food supply, the list of side effects is expected to grow. The FDA has classified FOS and Inulin as food ingredients, rather than food additives and they must be listed on the ingredient labels. This means it simultaneously labels Inulin / FOS as safe and unsafe, depending on how it is sold. You find them frequently in newer products from Yoghurt and dairy drinks for improving fiber and bacteria content – to breads, chocolates, candies, butter, cakes and cereals to replace fat and improve taste and crispness. The applications suggest that FOS targets the Kids markets, therefore caution is advised. FOS is more widely used with European products than in the US and the EU sponsored substantial research known as the SYNCAN projects. Instead of ultra-refined, industrial FOS consider the use of Agave Nectar, a rich source of natural Inulin.
is like Sucanat widely available as sugar alternative. It is a processed simple sugar from fruit juice concentrate, but it can also be nothing more than dehydrated HFCS. It is not a viable alternative to sugar.
is a flavor modifier, a medicine and a sweetener. Glycyrrhizin is a triterpenoid glycoside extracted from liquorice root Glychirrhiza glabra; 50-100 times sweeter than sugar but with liquorice flavor. Used to flavor tobacco, chewing gum and pharmaceutical preparations, and as a foaming agent in some non-alcoholic beverages. Accordingly, its characteristic licorice flavor makes it unsuitable as a direct flavor substitute for sugar. Glycyrrhizin is GRAS classified in the US as as a flavoring agent, but not as a sweetener. In Japan, where concern over the safety of artificial sweeteners during the 1970s led to a shift towards plant-derived sugar substitutes, glycyrrhizin is a commonly used sweetener, often in combination with another plant-based sweetener, Stevia.
There is a long history of usage to treat illnesses such as peptic ulcer; colds and other viral infections, microbial and parasitic infections (may stimulate immune system); cancers (again, possibly related to immune system function), herpes simplex and chronic hepatitis.It has also shown in the lab to inhibit HIV replication. However, glycyrrhizin appears to have side effects, and possible toxicity from excessive consumption, including hypertension and water retention, thus the Japanese government has mandated a limit of 200 milligrams and the German food council urged no more than 100 miiligram per day.
Glycyrrhizin is not a household name and may be hard to find in retail stores. For obvious reasons. It is also know as Glycyrrhizinic acid.
Luo Han Guo
is a fruit grown in southern China, it is collected as a round green fruit that turns brown upon drying. The sweet taste of luohanguo comes primarily from mogrosides, a group of terpene glycosides, present at the level of about 1% of the fleshy part of the fruit. Other, similar compounds from luohanguo have been labeled siamenoside and neomogroside. The mixed mogrosides are estimated to be about 300 times as sweet as sugar by weight, so that the 80% extracts are nearly 250 times sweeter than sugar; pure mogrosides 4 and 5 may be 400 times as sweet as sugar by weight. A process for making a useful sweetener from luohanguo was patented in 1995 by Procter and Gamble Company. As described in the patent application, the fruit itself, though sweet, has too many additional flavors that would make it unsuitable for widespread use as a sweetener, so P&G developed a method for processing it to eliminate the undesired flavors.
In the P&G process, the fresh fruit is picked before ripening and allowed to complete its ripening during storage so that processing begins with the just-ripe fruit. The peel and seeds are then removed, and the mashed fruit becomes the basis of a concentrated fruit juice or puree that can be used in food manufacturing. Further processing involves using solvents to remove volatile and off-flavor components. Numerous sugar substitutes derived from luohanguo by similar processes that isolate the sweet compounds are now readily available for manufacturing and for kitchen use.
Luo Han Guo is also used in Chinese Medicine for treating heat stroke, cough, throat inflammation and diabetes although its use has only developed in the 20th century.
This sweetener is available in the West as processed extracts, tea, powder and granules. Luo Han Guo is a good suger alternative for sweetening teas and other beverages.
Maple Syrup / Sugar
is the distilled and dehydrated sap of the maple tree. It is mainly sucrose with a high mineral content and has a distinct mild flavor. The liquid syrup is available in different grades and colors, cheap versions may be fakes made with HFCS and added flavors. Also, although from a plant source, Maple Syrup is not a "whole food" with all its enzymes and nutrients of the plant source, it is high heat treated processed food. Nevertheless, 100% pure Maple Syrup is still considered a natural food.
is probably the most neutral tasting, universal natural sugar substitute in existence; it goes everywhere where sugar goes a fact that has been known in South America since pre-Colombian times. The Japanese spearheaded a high number of scientific and clinical studies and millions of Japanese have been using Stevia as their major sugar substitute for 40 years with no reported harmful effects. However, you may not even know Stevia if you live in the US or the EU, because the synthetic sweetener lobby sees this as a major threat since they can't patent it and has managed to keep it away from consumers. Fifteen times sweeter than sugar with no calories and a glycemic index of 0, the powdered leaf of Stevia rebaudiana is super sweet, low-calorie and very popular throughout Asia and South America. Stevioside , a natural extract of the Stevia leaf that is 300 times sweeter than sugar, has become even more popular, especially in Japan and Korea. But Stevia is more than just a natural low-calorie, low glycemic, and super sweet supplement. Unlike nutrient-empty synthetic sugar substitutes, Stevia is loaded with vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, chromium, and selenium.
Stevia is also one of the oldest, safest, and most highly esteemed South American herbs known, with a centuries-long history of safe use. Japan banned the importing of synthetic sweeteners in the 1960's; the Japanese National Institute of Health began researching both Stevia and Stevioside as possible natural replacements. This prompted a series of high-quality studies to examine both the safety and stability of Stevia leaf extract and Stevioside (the super sweet glycoside derived from Stevia) in order to determine their suitability for sweetening commercial foods. All of the studies found that Stevioside had no negative impact on any physical function after an extensive series of tests were conducted. The only side effect noted was a decrease in body weight (Okumura et al., 1978; Lee et al., 1979).
More recent studies have found Stevioside to be not only safe, but also to reduce the incidence of breast tumor and kidney damage when consumed on a long-term basis. A high-quality study conducted by Dr. Toyoda of the National Institute of Health in Japan found that even when used in doses as high as 5 percent of the diet for two years, Stevioside had no side effects on laboratory rats except for a slight loss of weight, reduced risk of cancer, and an improvement in kidney function (Toyoda et al., 1997).
In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) who performed a thorough evaluation of recent experimental studies conducted on animals and humans, and concluded that "Stevioside and Rebaudioside A are not genotoxic" and that no carcinogenic effects have been noted. In the US, in 1991 the FDA declared Stevia as unsafe as food additive and restricted import and sales, based on a single, anonymous complaint. But the same agency did not act on thousands of adverse reaction complaints regarding Aspartame! Now, Stevia is available in the US as "Dietary Supplement" rather than a food additive, which means that no products sweetened with Stevia – such as Diet Sodas – are allowed to be sold, while those containing unlimited amounts of synthetic sweeteners are unrestricted. If Stevia is "unsafe" how come that the Cocoa Cola company alone has 27 Patent applications pending (out of 800 at United States Patent Office, June 2007) for the use of Stevia in beverages, cereals, confections, chewing gum and others? Apparently, Coca Cola and Cargill are to launch Stevia sweetened sodas under the Registered Trade name "Rebiana" (stevia rebaudiana) by 2009. So if it is to become safe to consume Stevia in 2009 – you may assume its safety even before the Patent is issued to the Coca Cola Company.
How to use Stevia
The purest form of Stevia is Fresh Leaves: 8-12% Glycosides, 5-8% Steviosides, 1-2% Rebaudioside A. There are Dried Leaves and cut leaves for Tea and powdered leaves which are 10-15 times sweeter than sugar. These do not dissolve in cooking or tea. Then there are powdered extracts: Steviosides, 40-95% Glycosides and Rebaudioside A. These products are generally 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. The higher the content of Rebaudioside A, the better is the product. There are also clear and dark Liquid Extracts of powdered leaves suspended in water, alcohol or glycerin. Avoid the white Stevia powder and Stevia liquid drops as they have been highly processed. Stevia is heat stable and does not brake down like saccharine and aspartame and can be used for cooking and baking, but it does not caramelize like sugar. It is important to note what sweetening potency the product has, which can range from 10-300 times, as excessive use may yield some bitter taste or aftertaste. Stevia sweetened foods allow the body to regulate the blood sugar levels naturally and it is a wonderful way to satisfy cravings for sweets with impunity.
is originally dehydrated sugar cane juice and can be bought in dry form just like sugar. In theory, Sucanat has some nutrients, white sugar has none, but often what is sold as Sucanat is nothing more than adulterated brown sugar. It is processed at temperatures higher than 118º F or 44º C and thus can't be considered raw.
is a mixture of intensely sweet proteins (thaumatins) extracted with water from the arils of the Katemfe fruit of the West African perennial plant Thaumatococcus daniellii. Its intense sweetness was first described in mid 19th century by a British surgeon in the Pharmaceutical Journal (Daniell, 1855).
The thaumatins have a normal complement of amino acids, except that histidine is not present. Thaumatin is purified by selective ultrafiltration, but small amounts of organic non-protein impurities remain in the commercial product. Thaumatin functions primarily as a flavor enhancer and modifier and lesser as a high-intensity, very low calorie sweetener, 2,000 – 3,000 sweeter than sugar. The sweetness is natural and intense. It is water soluble, heat stable, does not promote tooth decay and has effective masking properties. Because of its flavoring characteristics it is widely used in combination with other sweeteners. Peculiar: the perception of sweetness is delayed in onset and liquoice-like aftertaste. It is available as a freeze-dried granule or powder.
Clinical studies have shown no toxicity or mutagenicity and no allergenic or teratogenic effects were noted. It is metabolized by the body as any other protein. Thaumatin is GRAS classified in the US and approved in Europe as E957, Japan and most countries as a flavor enhancer and sweetener.
is a variation of Brown Sugar featuring larger crystals, with no additional value.
is a new millennium- 2001 market introduction – low carbohydrate functional sweetener, very similar to fructose in structure. It is a naturally occurring monosaccharide and can be found in some dairy products. In a patented process, Tagatose is obtained industrially by hydrolyzing Lactose into Glucose and Galactose. The Galactose is then isomerized under alkaline conditions by adding calcium hydroxide. Tagatose has a taste and texture similar to sucrose or table sugar but is less sweet. However, it is metabolized differently, has a minimal effect on blood glucose and insulin levels and furthermore provides a prebiotic effect. Tagatose is especially suitable as a flavor enhancer or as a low carbohydrate sweetener.
In the US Tagatose is GRAS classified, in the EU as Novel Food and is also used as a general-purpose sweetener in Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Extensive human testing has been conducted on tagatose to ensure its safety and human tolerance. With higher quantities mild gastrointestinal discomfort such as gas, bloating and laxation may occur as with other low digestible carbohydrates.
For all its potential in many foods and beverages, Tagatose is not likely to be found on the supermarket shelf anytime soon, it was manufactured and marketed worldwide by the German Company SweetGredients, a spin-off of a major Sugar company, which had licensed production to other companies but "moth-balled" the project in 2006. That raises the question why – does this company know something about the long-term effects of Tagatose ingestion? After all, the highly processed Tagatose is hardly a natural product and it hasn't been around for a long time. Eventually, because of its commercial potential, Tagatose is likely to reach the market at large by some other company and Tradename. It can be used as functional sweetener and / or flavor enhancer in ready-to-eat cereals, diet soft drinks, health bars, frozen yogurt / nonfat ice cream, soft confectionary, hard confectionary, frosting and chewing gum.