(NaturalNews) The FDA has ruled that the synthetic sweetener isomaltulose does not promote tooth decay, thereby giving the green light to manufacturers making certain claims on products that contain it.
The FDA concluded that isomaltulose, marketed by the German company Palatint as Palatinose, is non-cariogenic, meaning that it does not lead to tooth decay. Because of the strong molecular bonds holding the sweetener's molecules together, it cannot break down into its component sugars (including glucose) in the mouth, but only in the more vigorous digestion processes that occur later (such as in the stomach). This means that it does not provide any food source for plaque bacteria in the mouth.
After eating sugar, plaque bacteria excrete certain acids as waste products, and these acids in turn degrade tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
According to Palatint, isomaltulose is also a low-glycemic sweetener, meaning that it causes a slow, sustained increase in blood sugar levels rather than the spike caused by many sugars. The company developed the sweetener primarily for diabetes patients or consumers concerned about preventing diabetes.
The company touts many other properties of its artificial sweetener. Isomaltulose is non-hygroscopic, meaning that it does not gather into lumps and dissolves easily into beverages. According to Palatint, this makes it ideal for use in powdered drinks. In addition to resisting breakdown by human saliva, isomaltulose also resists fermentation and digestion by the microbes in dairy products, including lactobacilli. This means that it can be used in dairy beverages without the need for preservatives.
Unlike some other artificial sweeteners, isomaltulose is actually a carbohydrate, meaning that it does eventually break down into sugars in the body and provides an actual nutritional benefit.
The FDA's ruling is significant, because it allows the use of claims such as "does not promote tooth decay" or "may reduce the risk of dental caries" on products containing isomaltulose. This will make the sweetener more attractive to food manufacturers and consumers.
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