Back to Training Modules for Continuing Professional Development

Topic title Not only sweeteners: technological functionality of sugars in foods and beverages
Format Webinar
Workload in h 4
Target groups Studens, technical personnel, teachers, researchers
Language of delivery English
Person responsible

Paola Pittia

University of Teramo
Additional trainers  
Previous knowledge expected
  • Food processing
  • Food chemistry
Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the activity, the participants:

  1. Will have an improved knowledge about the technological functionality of small saccharides (sugars)
  2. Will determine the main factors, food properties and stability affected by presence and concentration of sugars in foods
  3. Will have improved knowledge in food and beverage design and formulation

Sugars are sweet, water soluble, low molecular weigth carbohydrates largely present in foods by either nature or addition. They comprise a class of compounds with different chemical, physico-chemical and physical properties that have been recognised important for their role and functionality in food applications.

In addition to the peculiar taste properties mainly associated to the sweeteness, sugars are multifunctional compounds. Hygroscopicity, humectancy, osmotic and textural effects along with the reactivity and physical stability of the low molecular weight saccharides are affecting significantly the quality of food products upon processes and storage conditions. Their ability to inhibit degradative microbial and biochemical reactions is the basis of the ancient use of sugars and sugar-based ingredients (honey, plant syrups) for preservation purposes in intermediate moisture foods.  Moreover, sugars could also indirectly affect also the perception of other sensory properties of food products like bitterness and aroma.

From a nutritional point of view sugars are mostly contributing to the energetic value of foods. In the last decades their presence and concentration in formulated and processed products (e.g. soft drinks, confectionery) have been under a main debate due to their direct role on various diet-related metabolic diseases like diabetes, obesity, lactose intolerance and dental caries. The reduction of the content of sugar (in particular sucrose), and/or the use of alternatives sweeteness able to mimic the sensory properties of sugars is generally applied to meet the modern nutritional guidelines. However, these strategies do not consider the other technological functionalities that these saccharides exert in foods and thus the optimization of formulation and processing conditions is required in order to achieve high quality, low sugar and low calories foods.

Aim of this webinar is to give an overview of the technological functionalities of sugars in foods underlying the related scientific basis and to provide some knowledge and information useful for the desig and, development of formulated, high quality and stable food products.
Teaching method Distance
Recommended reading  
Criteria & registration Web-based (via ISEKI-Food Association webinar platform)
Assessment of achievements QA
Further information

This webinar took place 22 August 2018.

Recording available at

The webinar on “Not only sweeteners: technological functionality of sugars in foods and beverages “ was complemented with a workshop on “Sugars and sweeteners in beverages: trends and challenges” held 12 September 2018, Windsor Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand, as part of the IFIFS2018 Conference International Conference on Innovations in Food Ingredients and Food Safety: or

Back to Training Modules for Continuing Professional Development