Cargill Health and Food Technologies, a division of the Us agribusiness group Cargill Foods, has introduced a new type of sugar which it claims offers a variety of health benefits to consumers.
Trehalose is a type of sugar made from cornstarch and occurs naturally in many plants and foods such as honey, lobster and yeast. This so-called 'better-for-you' sugar has half the sweetness of sucrose and is now affordable and commercially available for the food industry, Cargill said.
Trehalose is said to be an "exceptional" energy source, and has a wide range of applications including nutrition bars, sports drinks, bakery products, ice cream and confectionery.
Cargill said that the most promising health benefit of Trehalose is a blunted insulin response relative to other sugars. As a result, Trehalose is digested and absorbed at a slower, more sustained rate than other sugars - which the company said may lead to greater endurance for consumers.
"Trehalose is a breakthrough and exciting ingredient in the food industry today. It is gaining strong interest among innovative food and beverage manufacturers," said Jim Kappas, director of marketing at Cargill Health and Food Technologies. "We believe Trehalose will help create a new generation of products - functional products that provide added health benefits. From sports drinks and nutrition bars to ice cream and yoghurt, Trehalose offers a clean and improved flavour as well as strong implications for exercise capacity."
Kappas said that Trehalose helped preserve food's flavour, colour and texture, and that studies had shown it to be gentler on the teeth than sucrose. The launch of Trehalose comes hot on the heels of another 'better-for-you' product from Cargill, OliggooFiber, a line of natural soluble fibre ingredients which can improve calcium absorption and helps promote healthy bones.
Both ingredients will soon be available in sports drinks, energy bars, yoghurts, ice cream and chocolates. Both Trehalose and OliggooFiber are classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) ingredients.