The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a non-cariogenic health claim for the carbohydrate sweetener isomaltulose.
Marketed under the brand Palatinose by German manufacturer Palatinit, the sweetener is said to maintain sweetness while also having a low glycemic effect. It can be used to enhance the nutritional value of foods since it is digested much more slowly than sucrose, providing energy over a longer time period.
Receiving the FDA health claim approval represents a significant achievement for the company as it permits its food and beverage clients to now make product claims.
The term "cariogenic" refers to a substance that stimulates tooth decay. It is a common description for sugars that can easily be digested by oral bacteria, such as sucrose, fructose, and lactose.
According to Palatinit, the approval of isomaltulose as a non-cariogenic sweetener could lead to new opportunities for product development and specific dental health claims, such as "does not promote tooth decay" or "may reduce the risk of dental caries".
Palatinose is produced from real sugar, but its strong molecular binding ensures it cannot be broken down by plaque bacteria and prevents the generation of acids that harm tooth enamel. As such, dental caries do not form with Palatinose.
The sweetener was originally developed as a means to help manage diabetes as part of a low-glycemic diet. Palatinit claims its sweetener is the only low-glycaemic carbohydrate that supplies energy in the form of glucose over a prolonged period of time. However, it also has advantages for beverage applications.
Palatinit says that Palatinose is non-hygroscopic, making it ideal in instant drinks as it does not lump and remains dispersible. In dairy products, too, it can be used as a carbohydrate because it is resistant to fermentation by the surrounding microbes and lactobacilli.
Palatinose is also applicable in weight control and 'slimming' products. Liquid meal replacements with milk, fruit or cereal as well as instant tea and specialty coffee could also be repositioned in the wellness sector with Palatinose.
The manufacturer recently passed another regulatory hurdle - this time in Australia and New Zealand.
It obtained novel foods approval from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) - thereby opening up those markets to the ingredients firm.