Fructooligosaccharide sweetener (FO sweetener) is a mixture of fructooligosaccharides of the type found naturally in onions, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and wheat. Specifically, it is largely a mixture of kestose (14a), nystose (14b), and l-/?-fructofuranosyl-nytose (14c). Typically, the ratio of these sugars in FO sweetener is 28:60:12. Meiji Seika Company of Japan has conducted most of the development work of FO sweetener, to which they have given the brand name Neosugar®. The sweetness potency of FO sweetener has been reported to be 0.4 to 0.6 times that of sucrose, depending on reference concentration. FO sweetener is prepared from sucrose by treatment with the microbial enzyme fructosyl transferase. To date, FO sweetener is approved for food use only in Japan. It has been reported that the glycolytic breakdown of FO sweetener in the small intestine is slight and that FO sweetener is therefore a nonnutritive sweetener (88). In other studies, however, it has been demonstrated that FO sweetener is extensively fermented in the large intestine (82). Studies specifically conducted on nystose suggest a very substantial calorie provision to the host following anaerobic microbial fermentation in the large intestine (81). The allocation of a precise value for the bioavailable calories of FO sweetener is difficult; a value of at least 2.0 cal/g is probably realistic, however. The intestinal discomfort and laxation effects promoted by FO sweetener were indicated to be high by Ziesenitz and Siebert (82). This report is consistent with the results of a clinical study by Stone-Dorshow and Levitt (89).
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