Sweeted fibres at 40× magnificatiopn

What are sweetened fibres?

We write and talk a lot about ‘sweetened fibres’. But what is it? In this article, we take a closer look (literally) on sweetened fibres, and answer some questions: What is sweetened fibres? What are they made of? And how does it work?

The large pic­ture at the top of this arti­cle is tak­en by a scan­ning elec­tron micro­scope. It shows sweet­ened fibres at forty times mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. Already in this mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, it is pos­si­ble to see what makes sweet­ened fibres unique. Do you see it? If not, read on. In this arti­cle, we will take an even clos­er look at sweet­ened fibres. But let’s start from the beginning.

Food and beverage producers’ dilemma

Too much sug­ar is bad for health. Therefore, there is a grow­ing demand from con­sumers, and increased pres­sure from leg­is­la­tors, to reduce the amount of added sug­ar in food and bev­er­age. But at the same time, con­sumers are unwill­ing to give up the sweet taste and good mouth­feel that sug­ar gives. This is the food and bev­er­age pro­duc­ers’ dilem­ma in sug­ar reduction.

It can be tempt­ing to replace the bulk and sweet­ness of the removed sug­ar with oth­er ingre­di­ents (e.g. fruit juice) that fill the sugar’s place (lit­er­al­ly) and taste almost as sweet. But if these ingre­di­ents con­tain close to as many calo­ries per gram, it’s like paint­ing lip­stick on the pig.

Don’t make your brand a disservice

Brands, which boast that they add less or no sug­ar, but have replaced it with some­thing almost as calo­rie-rich, do con­sumers a bad turn and them­selves a disservice.

After all, it is not less sug­ar that con­sumers are look­ing for. It is its neg­a­tive impact on health that they want to avoid. But the pos­i­tive health effect isn’t forth­com­ing if what replaces sug­ar has the same calo­rie con­tent or the same effect on blood sug­ar levels.

Food and bev­er­age pro­duc­ers who sub­sti­tute sug­ar in this way, of course do so with the best of inten­tions. But the ques­tion is whether sen­sa­tion­al writ­ers on blogs and evening news­pa­pers take this into account when they get sight on what mali­cious­ly can be described as a food bluff.

So the ser­vice that food and bev­er­age pro­duc­ers think they are doing, when they exchange sug­ar for some­thing else, can prove to be a dis­ser­vice for their own brand.

So what is the problem with sugar?

The prob­lem with sug­ar is that it is not as sweet as one might think.

It takes a lot of sug­ar to achieve the sweet taste in food and bev­er­age. And since a lot of sug­ar also takes up a lot of space — con­tribut­ing to both vol­ume and weight — sug­ar works as a filler. It gives bulk. The same goes for glu­cose syrup, high-fruc­tose corn syrup, malti­tol and a host of oth­er sweet­en­ing ingre­di­ents. Since these sweet­en­ers give bulk, they are called bulk sweet­en­ers.

But bulk sweet­en­ers don’t just give us vol­ume and weight. They also pro­vide ener­gy and affect blood sug­ar lev­els. Sugar gives 4 kcal per gram and has a GI of 97 (rel­a­tive to white bread). Glucose syrup gives just as many calo­ries and even high­er GI.

This is the real prob­lem. Bulk sweet­en­ers pro­vide sweet­ness and bulk, but at the price of too many calo­ries and a rush in the lev­el of blood sugar.

More sweetness for fewer calories

Of course, the solu­tion is to use ingre­di­ents that pro­vide more sweet­ness for less calories.

Take aspar­tame, for exam­ple. It pro­vides as many calo­ries as sug­ar. But it is two hun­dred times sweet­er. Thus, only 0.5 grams of aspar­tame is need­ed to give the same sweet­ness as 100 grams of sug­ar. And 0.5 grams of aspar­tame con­tains only 2 kcal, while 100 grams of sug­ar con­tains 400 kcal.

A prob­lem with aspar­tame is that it is entire­ly syn­thet­ic. And many con­sumers are hes­i­tant about arti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers such as aspar­tame, ace­sul­fame K and sucralose.

Fortunately, there are high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­ers of nat­ur­al ori­gin, such as reb A and reb M, which are ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides extract­ed from the plant ste­via.

Is this the solu­tion to the food and bev­er­age pro­duc­ers’ dilemma?

New challenges

With high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­ers come new prob­lems: They do not taste like sug­ar (except reb M) and do not con­tribute to bulk and tex­ture; three grams of ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides give the same sweet­ness as one kilo­gram of sug­ar but leaves a mas­sive void. What should the oth­er 997 grams of sug­ar be replaced with?

Food and bev­er­age pro­duc­ers with required niche com­pe­tence in-house can find prod­uct-spe­cif­ic solu­tions by exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent ingre­di­ents. But it takes time and costs mon­ey. Is there no bet­ter solution?

The ideal solution

Let’s stop and sum­ma­rize our insights.

Food and bev­er­age pro­duc­ers’ dilem­ma in sug­ar reduc­tion is that con­sumers both want to remove sug­ar and retain the sweet­ness and mouth­feel of it. Both eat the cake and have it.

In the­o­ry, the solu­tion is to replace sug­ar with ingre­di­ents with less calo­ries but the same sweet­ness and mouth­feel. But in prac­tice, it is more complicated.

Common bulk sweet­en­ers have vol­ume, weight and mouth­feel that rea­son­ably match sug­ar. But so does their calo­rie con­tent. So they go away.

High-inten­si­ty sweet­en­ers do not con­tribute any calo­ries. But the same can be said about their abil­i­ty to pro­vide vol­ume, weight and mouth­feel. Thus, they can­not be used alone. They must be sup­ple­ment­ed with oth­er ingre­di­ents that fill in and give the same tex­ture as the sug­ar. It sounds sim­ple but is very dif­fi­cult even for expe­ri­enced and knowl­edge­able food and bev­er­age tech­ni­cians. Therefore, it takes a long time and costs a lot of money.

Imagine if there was a bulk sweet­en­er with the same vol­ume, weight and mouth­feel as sug­ar, and with zero calo­ries. It would be the ide­al solution.

Unfortunately, there is no per­fect solu­tion. But with sweet­ened fibres, you come as close as possible.

Close to the ideal solution

Sweetened fibres is a new kind of bulk sweet­en­er that

  • is as sweet as reg­u­lar sugar,
  • con­tributes to the product’s taste and mouth­feel as reg­u­lar sugar,
  • has the same vol­ume and weight as reg­u­lar sugar,
  • can be trans­port­ed, stored and used as reg­u­lar sugar,


  • hav­ing few­er calo­ries than reg­u­lar sug­ar, and
  • have less impact on the lev­el of blood sug­ar than reg­u­lar sugar.

As you can see, sweet­ened fibres is close to the ide­al solu­tion. But we make no bones that it is impos­si­ble to reach all the way.


Sweetened fibres are sug­ar-like, but not iden­ti­cal to reg­u­lar sug­ar. Therefore, there are slight dif­fer­ences in taste and mouth­feel that may require some fine-tun­ing of recipes to reach full perfection.

And above all, sweet­ened fibre is not entire­ly calo­rie-free. How much there are depends on the com­po­si­tion, which in turn is dic­tat­ed by how they are to be used. But in com­mon, the amount of calo­ries is sig­nif­i­cant­ly less than in reg­u­lar sugar.

What sweetened fibre are made of

Sweetened fibres con­tain noth­ing that is not already used by the food and bev­er­age indus­try. They con­sist of dietary fibres, sug­ar alco­hols and high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­ers. These play dif­fer­ent roles in the sweet­ened fibres.

Sugar alco­hol has sev­er­al func­tions. First and fore­most, it con­tributes to bulk; it takes place. It also helps to give the right taste and mouth­feel. Not least, it is used to mask off-flavour and after­taste of the oth­er ingre­di­ents. It’s also sweet – but not as sweet as sug­ar. In some appli­ca­tions, sug­ar alco­hol may also replace some oth­er prop­er­ties of sugar.

High-inten­si­ty sweet­en­er is used to com­pen­sate for the insuf­fi­cient sweet­ness of sug­ar alco­hol. The quan­ti­ties are so small that they don’t prac­ti­cal­ly con­tribute to bulk or mouth­feel. So its only func­tion is to pro­vide sweetness.

Dietary fibres main job is to lit­er­al­ly hold on to the oth­er ingre­di­ents. It is this retain­ing func­tion that makes sweet­ened fibres into sug­ar-like grains. Besides, fibres con­tribute to bulk and mouth­feel. Some fibres also have flavour and sweet­ness that helps to shape the right sweet taste.


It may be worth­while to stop for a moment and note that all ingre­di­ents found in sweet­ened fibres are plant-based.

Fibres are extract­ed from plants (for exam­ple inulin) or is made from starch (for exam­ple dex­trin, iso­ma­l­tooligosac­cha­rides and poly­dex­trose), which in turn comes from pota­toes, wheat, corn, cas­sa­va and oth­er starchy crops.

Sugar alco­hols are also pro­duced from starch (for exam­ple malti­tol, sor­bitol and ery­thri­tol).

Last, we have high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­ers. Artificial sweet­en­ers can be used. But why use them, when ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides are found nat­u­ral­ly in the ste­via plant.

What makes sweetened fibres unique?

What makes sweet­ened fibres unique is the way they are made.

Compare with a bak­ery. Most bread con­tains flour, water and yeast. The secret behind the taste is not the ingre­di­ents, but how they are baked into bread with a unique char­ac­ter and taste.

In the same way, we ‘bake’ sweet­ened fibres from dietary fibres, sug­ar alco­hols and high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­ers. The result is grains sim­i­lar to sug­ar grains. This is what makes sweet­ened fibres unique.

Each grain con­sists of sug­ar alco­hol, high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­er and dietary fibres., formed into a coher­ent unit. This means that sweet­ened fibres in the form of pow­der or gran­ules are entire­ly homo­ge­neous. And that, in turn, means that the con­stituent ingre­di­ents do not lay­er dur­ing trans­port and han­dling and that they do not dis­trib­ute uneven­ly in pro­duc­tion. The grain­i­ness also con­tributes to the mouthfeel.

Sweetened fibres in close-up

The pic­tures above come from a scan­ning elec­tron micro­scope (SEM). They show sweet­ened fibres in 40, 100, 1,000 and 5,000 times mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. Click on the pic­tures to see them better.

In 40 and 100 times mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, what look like boul­ders are fibres. In the scan­ning elec­tron micro­scope, they look smooth because they do not have flat sur­faces like crys­tals. But in fact, they con­sist of tight­ly packed platelets that can be seen at 5000 times magnification.

We have a patent-pend­ing for a man­u­fac­tur­ing method that embeds sug­ar alco­hol and high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­er in between the platelets. The result is fibres that lit­er­al­ly hold on to the sweet ingre­di­ents, as can be seen at 1,000 times mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. That’s why we call them sweet­ened fibres.

Some of the retained ingre­di­ents pro­trude from the fibres. In 40 and 100 times mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, it looks like cob­webs or frost on the ‘rock bumps’.

Areas of application

If we ignore the calo­ries, sug­ar is actu­al­ly a fan­tas­tic ingre­di­ent. In addi­tion to tast­ing sweet and con­tribut­ing to the pleas­ant mouth­feel, sug­ar has a wide range of use­ful prop­er­ties: enhance taste and aro­ma, thick­en and sta­bi­lize, pre­serve, give colour, low­er­ing freez­ing point, and keep mois­ture. Sugar is sim­ply a uni­ver­sal ingredient.

Unfortunately, it is not pos­si­ble to cre­ate a cor­re­spond­ing uni­ver­sal ingre­di­ent in the form of sweet­ened fibres. But it is pos­si­ble to devel­op sweet­ened fibres that are ‘turnkey’ solu­tions for dif­fer­ent appli­ca­tion areas.

Turnkey sweet­ened fibres replace sug­ar one-by-one. One kilo­gram of sug­ar is replaced by one kilo­gram of sweet­ened fibres – with no or min­i­mal fine-tun­ing of the recipe.


We devel­op, pro­duce and mar­ket sweet­ened fibres under the brand EUREBA®. At the time of writ­ing (April 2020) we have cre­at­ed turnkey sweet­ened fibres for the fol­low­ing applications:

  • Bread and pastries
  • Almond paste
  • Chocolate
  • Caramel and car­bon­at­ed sauces
  • Protein bar
  • Ice cream
  • Fruit prepa­ra­tions for dairy prod­ucts and frozen desserts
  • Soups and sauces

Here you can see our range of sweet­ened fibres and order prod­uct sheets.

Your turn: Try sweetened fibres

Do you want to try sweet­ened fibres? Fill out the form below, and we will send you a sam­ple. The offer is pri­mar­i­ly aimed at those who work pro­fes­sion­al­ly with food and bev­er­age at a pro­duc­er or distributor.

[mau­tic type=“form” id=“9”]