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What Is the Sweetest Compound?

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Sugar is sweet, but several chemicals are sweeter!

Sugar is sweet, but several chemicals are sweeter!

Mark Webb, stock.xchng

Question: What Is the Sweetest Compound?

Answer: Here's a comparison of sweetness using a ranking system in which sucrose (table sugar) is defined as having a sweetness of '1'. Values lower than '1' indicate the compound is not as sweet as table sugar, while values greater than '1' mean the compound is sweeter than table sugar:

  • D-Glucose (natural sugar produced by plants) - 0.46

     

  • Lactose (natural sugar found in milk) - 0.68

     

  • D-Fructose (a natural fruit sugar) - 0.84

     

  • Sucrose - 1

     

  • Cyclamate (usually sodium or calcium salts of cyclohexanesulfamic acid) - 30

     

  • Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal) - 200

     

  • Saccharin (benzosulfamide) - 300

     

  • Sucralose (Splenda, a sucrose molecule in which three of the -OH groups have been replaced by chlorine atoms) - 650

     

  • Alitame (Aclame, a sweetener formed from the amino acids L-aspartic acid and D-alanine) - 2,000

     

  • Thaumatin (natural protein isolated from the katemfe fruit of western Africa) - 3,000

     

  • Carrelame (guanidine sweetener) - 160,000

     

  • Bernardame (guanidine sweetener) - 200,000

     

  • Sucrononate (guanidine sweetener) - 200,000

     

  • Lugduname (guanidine sweetener) - 220,000

     

These are approximate values (from Sci.chem Faq). Other publications may provide different values. The guanidine sweeteners are not expected to be used in foods. Also, sweetness is only aspect of a compound's taste and potential use as a sweetener. These compounds exhibit different levels of toxicity, aftertaste, bitterness, etc.

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