Tagatesse Sweetener

Q: What is Tagatesse Sweetener?

Tagatesse is a Tagatose-based alternative sugar. Tagatose is a natural sugar which is extracted from lactose (milk sugar). The end product, however, contains no further traces of lactose and glucose. Tagatose is also naturally present in certain dairy products and fruits.

Tagatose is perfectly suited to industrial applications, but cannot be found in its pure form on the market as you cannot cook and bake with this product by itself.

The taste of Tagatose is almost identical to that of sucrose (regular sugar) and it very nearly matches its sweetness. Pure Tagatose is used in the food products of the Damhert Nutrition group – distributed by Sukrin USA in North America. One particular quality distinguishes Tagatose from all other sugar substitutes and polyols: it provokes a strong Maillard reaction (browning). For baking products this is an advantage, but it requires a narrow control to avoid blackening/burning. Since a kitchen is not a laboratory, Tagatose had to be modified for baking applications. Thus Tagatesse was developed, a balanced baking formula consisting of Tagatose (39,92%), isomalt (39,92%), food fibres (20,14%: inulin and oligosaccharides) and sucralose (0,02%). This mix makes Tagatesse extremely suitable for cooking, desserts and sweet dishes.

The use of food fibres and isomalt diminishes the browning, but it also results in a loss of sweetness. In order to restore the sweet taste, Tagatesse is enriched with a very small amount of sucralose (0,02%).


Q: What are the advantages of Tagatesse?

Tagatesse has a large number of advantages:

Suitable for diabetics I & II
Doesn’t increase blood glucose*
Low Glycemic Index – approx. 7.5
Tagatose is very tooth-friendly as it doesn’t cause tooth decay nor promote caries formation. The bacteria in the mouth are not able to ferment this sugar and consequently to use it to survive and spread
Low Carbohydrate
Low calorie – 25% of those of regular sugar for the comparable sweetness
High in fiber
Pre-biotic effect
Prevent obesity, diabetes
Help loose weight
Suitable for cooking and baking
Rich, sweet flavor with no cool or chemical aftertaste
Dissolves in hot and cold water
Browns and caramelizes
*A study at the University of Maryland (1999) has shown that the intake of 75g Tagatose will not bring about any increase in glucose in the blood sugar levels. Neither with healthy test participants, nor with diabetes patients. These results were also later confirmed by a study of the Research Department of Human Nutrition in Copenhagen.


Q: Is Tagatesse low carb? 

Tagatesse consists of Tagatose, isomalt (a sugar alcohol), fibers (inulin and oligo-saccharides) and a very tiny amount of sucralose (0.02%) – all low carb ingredients! The majority of the Tagatose and isomalt passes to the large intestine where it is broken down (fermented) by the beneficial bacteria into gases and short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are partly absorbed in the colon and partly used as a food for the beneficial bacteria. Tagatose is considered to have a beneficial pre-biotic effect.


Q: How do I use Tagatesse?

Tagatesse is twice as sweet as sugar, and only half the amount of regular sugar should therefore be used. This means you can replace all types of sugar in many different baked goods with half the amount of Tagatesse and yet maintain succulence and taste. Tagatesse very closely imitates the taste and properties of regular sugar and is therefore suitable even in desserts or sweets with very high sugar contents. Tagatesse has NO aftertaste and will brown/caramelize like regular sugar.


Q: For which diets is Tagatesse suited?

Diabetes: Tagatesse is extremely suitable for all those who want to or must avoid sugar. Tagatose – the basic ingredient of Tagatesse – has a glycemic index of practically zero (glycemic index Tagatose = 2). The effect on blood sugar levels is as good as non-existent. Glycemic index of Tagatesse = 7.5. Tagatesse has been shown to be safe for diabetics.

Lactose allergy: Although Tagatose – the basic ingredient of Tagatesse – is extracted from milk sugars, the end result is totally lactose free. The production process is such that the final Tagatose crystals no longer contain any traces of lactose and glucose.

Gluten allergy: Tagatesse is gluten-free and suitable on a gluten-free diet.


Q: Is Tagatose safe?

Extensive research has been carried out into the use, reactions and working of Tagatose. From this research, it is apparent that Tagatose is an alternative to sucrose and other sweeteners. In 1999, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) declared that Tagatose was completely safe as an ingredient. This was confirmed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2007.

Tagatose does not belong to the group of sweeteners, nor to that of the polyols (sugar alcohols like maltitol, sorbitol a.o.) In 2005 the Novel Food Unit declared Tagatose to be an entirely new food, and on top of that completely safe. As it is an ingredient, and not an additive, it has not been attributed an E-number.


Q: What is meant by prebiotic of Tagatesse?

The term ‘prebiotic’ covers all foods favoring the intestinal flora, more specifically the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine.

The digestive system of the gastrointestinal tract contains 400 different kinds of bacteria of a pathogenic or beneficial nature. The healthy bacteria are in a constant struggle with the not so beneficial to ensure the optimal functioning of the intestinal flora. A prebiotic effect occurs when food constituents like Tagatose are fermented by the bacterial micro-organisms. In fact, prebiotics are nourishing the beneficial bacteria, thus procuring a positive impact on the intestinal flora and the digestion as a whole.

Another important advantage of Tagatose is the reduction of the acidity in the intestines. This has a beneficial effect on the bacterial composition and functioning. The growth and metabolism of intestinal bacteria is largely dependent on the supply of prebiotics getting to them undigested.


Q: Where does Tagatesse come from?

Tagatose is a natural sweetener present in only small amounts in fruits, cacao, and dairy products. Tagatose can be commercially produced from galactose through an enzymatic process.

The market application of the sweetener is: In 1996, MD/Arla Foods acquired the rights to production from Spherix, the American license holder. In the following years, no products were brought to market by MD/Arla Foods, so Spherix brought them before a US Court of Arbitration for showing insufficient interest in bringing the product to market. The companies settled, with MD/Arla Foods agreeing to pay longer term royalties to Spherix and Spherix agreeing to not take further action.

In March 2006, SweetGredients (a joint venture company of Arla Foods and Nordzucker AG) decided to shelve the tagatose project. SweetGredients was the only worldwide producer of tagatose. While progress had been made in creating a market for this innovative sweetener, it had not been possible to identify a large enough potential to justify continued investments, and SweetGredients decided to close down the manufacturing of tagatose in Nordstemmen, Germany.

In 2006, the Belgian company Nutrilab NV took over the Arla (SweetGredients) stocks and project, and set up an 800 tons per year production site in Italy with an enzymatic process from whey for D-tagatose with the brand name Nutrilatose. This process was said to be considerably cheaper than the chemical process previously used by Arla. In 2007 Damhert N.V., the mother company of Nutrilab, released the tagatose-based sweetener Tagatesse under its own brand name, along with some other products (jams and some chocolate-based products) using tagatose in the Benelux and France. (Source: Wikipedia)

Back to Product Specific Questions