Mary Quinlan explains that sugar is normally associated with sweetness, but it also affects physical and textural attributes that can affect the acceptance of the product.
In ice cream, for example, sugar affects the freezing point and reducing or replacing it with other sweeteners can affect how hard or soft the ice cream is.
In beverages, on the other hand, sugar mainly provides sweetness. This means it can be quite straightforwardly replaced by a high potency sweetener like sucralose.
In baked goods sugar contributes to colour, taste, texture and shelf life of the product – as well as providing sweetness. This means that formulators of reduced sugar products may look to use not only a high potency sweetener, but may use a combination with a bulk sweetener like polydextrose or a polyol.