Starch can be hydrolyzed into simpler carbohydrates by acids, various enzymes, or a combination of the two. The resulting fragments are known as dextrins. The extent of conversion is typically quantified by dextrose equivalent (DE), which is roughly the fraction of the glycosidic bonds in starch that have been broken.
These starch sugars are by far the most common starch based food ingredient and are used as sweetener in many drinks and foods. They include:
(1) Maltodextrin, a lightly hydrolyzed (DE 10–20) starch product used as a bland-tasting filler and thickener.
(2) Various glucose syrups (DE 30–70), also called corn syrups in the US, viscous solutions used as sweeteners and thickeners in many kinds of processed foods.
(3) Dextrose (DE 100), commercial glucose, prepared by the complete hydrolysis of starch.
High fructose syrup, made by treating dextrose solutions with the enzyme glucose isomerase, until a substantial fraction of the glucose has been converted to fructose. In the United States sugar prices are two to three times higher than in the rest of the world,] which makes high fructose corn syrup significantly cheaper, so that it is the principal sweetener used in processed foods and beverages.
Fructose also has better microbiological stability. One kind of high fructose corn syrup, HFCS-55, is sweeter than sucrose because it is made with more fructose, while the sweetness of HFCS-42 is on par with sucrose.
Sugar alcohols, such as maltitol, erythritol, sorbitol, mannitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, are sweeteners made by reducing sugars.
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