Sweeteners: State of knowledge review
Sweeteners are widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industry. The purpose of this paper is to review our current knowledge of sweet taste from chemical, biochemical, electrophysiological, psychophysical, and psychological points of view. The most common sweetners likely to be used in food and pharmaceuticals will be examined in detail. First, the chemical structures of sweet compounds including saccharides, diterpene glycosides, polyols, amino acids, dipeptides, and other nonsugars will be discussed. Second, biochemical approaches to understanding sweetner receptors will be reviewed. Third, electrophysiological and behavioral approaches to understanding sweetner receptors will be discussed. Fourth, psychophysical studies in humans will be shown to be consistent with biochemical and neurophysiological data. In addition, the basic mechanisms of sweet taste revealed by psychophysical studies will be given, including the role of multiple receptor sites, hydrogen bonding, and sodium transport. Finally, the factors that affect preference for sweet taste including the psychological and physiological variables associated with sweet preference will be explored.