Trehalose is a multi-functional sweetener found naturally, for example in honey, mushrooms, lobster, shrimp and foods produced using baker's and brewer's yeast. The commercial product is made from starch by an enzymatic process.
Relative Sweetness: Trehalose is almost half as sweet as sucrose or table sugar.
Metabolism: The metabolism of trehalose is similar to that of other disaccharides. Ingested trehalose is hydrolyzed to glucose and absorbed in the small intestine.
Assets: Trehalose has been shown to elicit a very low insulin response and provide sustained energy. In addition, trehalose protects and preserves cell structure in foods and may aid in the freezing and thawing process of many food products by assisting in the maintenance of the desired texture of the food. It is also heat stable.
Limitations: Because trehalose is only half as sweet as sucrose it is more likely to be used for cell preservation than for sweetness.
Applications: Trehalose may be used in beverages, including fruit juices, purees and fillings, nutrition bars, surimi, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, and white chocolate for cookies or chips.
Safety: Trehalose has a long history of human use. Numerous studies have been conducted to support its safety.
Status: The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a letter of no objection to the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status for trehalose. Trehalose is approved in Japan, Taiwan and Korea. It may be used in the preservation of freeze-dried products in the United Kingdom.