- Researchers from the U.K., Singapore and the Beneo Institute found that Beneo's slow-release and low-glycemic sweetener Palatinose resulted in additional loss of body weight and fat in overweight and obese adults when it replaced sugar in a low-calorie diet for weight loss. The study was published this past October in the journal Nutrients.
- Fifty overweight and obese adults ate either 40 grams of Palatinose or regular sugar in four meals daily during a 12-week period in the randomized and controlled intervention study, researchers said. Weight changes, body composition and energy metabolism were evaluated at the beginning of the study and every four weeks.
- While both groups lost weight during the 12 weeks, those using Palatinose lost about two pounds more, the study noted. They also lost about 2% fat mass and gained lean body mass. Researchers said these changes were related both to eating fewer calories and the higher fat-burning rate achieved through Palatinose.
This is the first time researchers have been able to show in a single study an ingredient's long-term benefits — body weight and fat loss — and short-term ones, such as a higher fat-burning rate and lower energy intake, in the same individuals, according to a Beneo Institute release. This could mean more manufacturers may be interested in using this sweetener, but additional studies may be needed first.
Anke Sentko, vice president of regulatory affairs and nutrition communication for the German ingredients firm, said in the release the study shows Palatinose "steers the metabolism towards fat burning." Since more than 670 million adults globally are considered obese, she called the research an important step beyond counting calories to looking at what people can consume to meet their weight-loss goals.
While the research results appear reliable, 50 participants is not a large study group — plus the credibility factor could be compromised by the presence of two Beneo Institute scientists on the research team. More studies will likely be required for this sweetener to see widespread use for weight loss. But if the ingredient can do what the study claims, Palatinose could intrigue manufacturers looking to include both a sweetener and a functional carbohydrate in their products.
Beneo describes Palatinose as a naturally sourced "smart carbohydrate" made from sucrose sourced from sugar beets. The company markets the ingredient as vegan, kosher, halal and non-GMO, and says it has a mild, natural sweetness without an aftertaste. Beneo also says Palatinose can replace sucrose on a 1:1 basis and be combined with other sweeteners for a tailored sweetness profile. The ingredient has applications in beverages, baked goods, breakfast cereals, dairy products, confectionery and frozen desserts.
As consumers have turned away from sugar, more manufacturers have been searching for natural substitutes and sweeteners for reformulations. That leaves an opportunity for Palatinose to fill a void where many sweeteners haven't found success. However, an Innova Market Insights survey last year found three in five U.S. consumers would rather reduce their sugar intake than replace it with artificial sweeteners, so there are still challenges in the market.
If Palatinose can deliver as advertised, food and beverage makers may be interested in exploring its options as a functional carbohydrate and non-sucrose sweetener. An increasing number of consumers are looking for foods and beverages that might help them lose weight. A recent report found 37% of consumers use food as a functional tool to achieve their health goals, including weight loss, so related label claims may boost a product's appeal.
But this sweetener is not the only ingredient touting weight-loss possibilities. Other studies have shown ingredients including tree nuts, soy protein and even coffee beans can assist with weight loss. Finding a way to confirm the results of this latest study and then using them in products may be a smart strategy for manufacturers — and a way to tap into the trend toward healthier and more functional ingredients.