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Nov 12, 2012 01:10 PM


Not sure where to post this thread, but this section of Chowhound seems appropriate. I'm a diabetic. I am also an R&D chemist by trade, so when I read an article years ago about Tagatose, a natural sugar substitute derived from milk, I was pretty interested. It supposedly is 93% as sweet as sugar by weight, can be cooked with just like sugar (It Caramelizes!!!), has a very low (3) glycemic index, is not harmful to your teeth, has probiotic properties, and last but not least, has only about 35% of the calories of table sugar. Well 5 plus years later I am still hearing about it, but like UFos and the Yeti, I have never seen it. Supposedly there is a comercialy available brand of Tagatose sweetener called Tagatesse. Only thing I have been able to find is in Asia or Europe.

Has any body found this sugar substitute, or better yet, cooked with it? Please, any info would be very helpful.

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  1. they're planning to introduce it to the US market some time in 2013, and first in packaged goods before rolling out a stand-alone product. i wouldn't expect to see it on the shelves until the second half of next year.

    and *pure* tagatose can't be used just like sugar - it actually browns too much, too quickly, and at lower Tagatesse is actually 40% tagatose, plus isomalt, inulin & sucralose.

    13 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I just found another Tagatose Brand name, PreSweet from NuNaturals in the US (Oregon). I was able to order a pound of Tagatose from their website. Kinda spendy, but considering the benefits . . . .

      It cost me $8 for a pound and $11 for shipping. So it cost me a little over $20/lb with tax. I can't believe there aren't more products using this natural sugar substitute. A natural product that looks like table sugar, tastes like sugar, bakes like sugar, has extremely low glycemic index, low in calories, and is beneficial for your health. Seems too good to be true?

      Interesting reading on Nu Naturals product description:

      Here's one of the original articles that got me looking into it and they claim a number of health benefits:

      Will report back once it arrives and I do some cooking with it.

      1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

        There are more products like it, Sweet Perfection, for instance. I don't tolerate it, or much inulin due to severe gastric results, but some folks do.

        There are claims, but precious little citation of of hard information on your first link. What is a serving size, for instance and what is the source of the calories? And that "pre biotic" actually can foster overgrowth of otherwise beneficial gut flora (been there, done that, with Sweet Perfection) and cause terrible symptoms.

        All of these alternative sweeteners make the same claims, and this one appears to be no different. The fact is that some folks will benefit and some, including diabetics, will not. Still, it's another sweetener to mix with others; that's the best way to get the most sweetening without the off tastes and side effects of each.

        None of them are panaceas, not stevia, sugar alcohols, chemical sweeteners, etc. And one must remember that digestion begins in the mouth and even non nutritive sweeteners stimulate insulin release in many folks via endocrine feedback from the sensation.

        1. re: mcf

          Inulin and Oligofructose are functionally different from Tagatose. Firstly tagatose is a monosacharide which has the same basic chemical formula C6H12O6 (a hexose) as are all other majorly occurring natural sugars. Secondly Inulin and oligofructose are large polymerized molecules and only 30%-50% as sweet as table sugar while Tagatose is 92%-93% as sweet. Thus making it a 1 to 1 substitution with table sugar in recipes. Thirdly, it's taste and texture are nearly indistinguishable from table sugar as it can undergo maillard reaction which means it also browns and caramelizes like table sugar.

          Literature seems to indicate consumption of over 50 grams serving can lead to a laxative effect in some individuals. I haven't personally experienced any digestive issues, but I have been cautious with my intake with now where near 50g serving size. Making a pie with it for Bird-Day and will report back.

          1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

            i think mcf was talking about the inulin & FOS in terms of the digestive upset. i personally experience really unpleasant symptoms at doses well below the supposed "tolerance" threshold.

            as i said in my earlier post, tagatose doesn't behave exactly like sugar and can't be substituted directly 1:1 unless it's cut with fillers or other sweeteners. the melting point is about 50 degrees [Celsius] lower than that of sugar, and it browns & burns faster & at lower temperatures.

            given all that, i'll be very curious to hear how you fare using pure tagatose in baking.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Same with me in terms of effects, but I too am interesting in the baking trial you're doing!

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Package I have is 100% pure tagatose. FOS actually utilizes 1% stevia to make up for it's lack of sweetness. Tagatose is pure with no other additives. Package says to use a 1 to 1 substitute for sugar in baking etc. In fact, they claim baked goods are even better than sugar with tagatose. You're correct in that it has a lower melting point so it should be interesting to see how this claim shakes out. I imagine that in recipes where it's combines with many other ingredients it shouldn't be a big difference. So far though, using it in my coffee, it has a very clean taste like sugar with none of the unpleasant tastes of other sugar substitutes.

              2. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                If you read the writeups and even PubMed for the other alternative sweeteners, they all make claims that turn out to be much less consistently true in anecdotal reports, especially claims of non metabolism. Some folks metabolize them to a much greater degree and others get gastric upset with even tiny amounts no matter what the reports are.

                1. re: mcf

                  Did find this statement from one of the companies offering it.

                  <"How Does The Body Use Tagatose? The steps in the metabolism of tagatose are identical to those for fructose or fruit sugar but tagatose is incompletely absorbed. Only 15-20 percent of tagatose is absorbed in the small intestine.

                  The major part of ingested tagatose is fermented in the colon by indigenous microflora, resulting in the production of short-chain fatty acids. The short chain fatty acids(SCFA) are absorbed almost completely and metabolized.">

                  1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                    The major part of ingested tagatose is fermented in the colon by indigenous microflora
                    in my world, that's code for "do not eat in the presence of polite company" ;)

                    looking forward to hearing the results of your experiment!

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      I found this apple pie recipe on a food blog where she is trying different sugar substitutes and think it's what I'll try first.


                      1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                        My very best advice to you is to use a combination of different sweeteners of different types to get the greatest taste result and to minimize the adverse qualities and reactions of each.

                          1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                            Please report back as to how this bakes up!

            2. I purchased five pounds of Tagatose from NuNaturals for $39.95 with free shipping. I had tried Tagatesse, which I purchased from German eBay which was good but includes sucralose (Splenda).

              I tried a teaspoon with grapefruit and it was indistinguishable from sugar. Tagatose has a nice reaction with citrus fruits.

              My next project was to bake Italian Pizzelle cookies. I use a standard recipe: flour, butter, vanilla, tagatose, anise, fennel seeds, eggs. I used 7/8 cup of tagatose rather than 3/4 cup sugar. The dough was typical pizzelle dough; very sticky.

              Baking results were interesting. The cookies browned much more quickly. I had to reduce the temp on the iron to prevent burning. With the lower temp and less browning, they appeared not to be crisp enough; probably under-baked. I placed some in a toaster oven at 200° for a few minutes, and they became crispier and a little darker. The taste is perfect, but the browning needs some attention. I will try baking longer at a lower temp and see how that works.

              It might be necessary when baking to use a slightly lower temperature and a slightly longer cooking time. Tomorrow I will try an apple pie.

              1. I just bought the Nu Natural tagatose off netrition. Wow. I am impressed! This stuff is FABULOUS! Just. Like. Sugar. I have had no side effects. My cookies taste like.....cookies! They brown up quick. I can't wait to try it in my vietnamese recipes where I need to caramelize ingredients.
                I am still researching this, but it sounds so much better (healthier) than all the sugar substitutes that I have been using. It certainly tastes significantly better.

                14 Replies
                1. re: sedimental

                  Thanks for the review - if it's 100% pure tagatose with no fillers I may try some. I need to stock up on protein powder anyway...

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    From the netrition reviews:


                    It appears to have undesirable fillers (which account for the discrepency between calories and carbohydrates labeled) and gastric symptoms in some folks, same as sugar alcohols.

                    I blend sweeteners of different types, but I would like a liquid form with no fillers or added sugars. Still, it sounds worthy of experimentation as part of my blend.

                    Sedimental, can you post the ingredients list?

                    1. re: mcf

                      Still, it sounds worthy of experimentation as part of my blend.
                      Better you than me. Based on that feedback I am NOT a candidate for this stuff ;)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        :-( In our next lives, no dietary fails, m'kay?

                        1. re: mcf

                          While we're asking, no *endocrine* fails either!

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I think they have a common root cause. But whatever it takes, I am SO with you!

                      2. re: mcf

                        Okay, it doesn't say anything about the fillers that I can see. It does say that it can cause GI distress if "over-consumed". I would guess that everyone has a different tolerance level for that.

                        I have to say, I don't eat that much when I make things with any of the sugar substitutes. That is...I don't eat (say) 6 cookies or something. I only eat one or two cookies at a time- and I probably use less of the product when baking than other people as I don't like things overly sweet. I can tolerate all sugar alcohols well for that reason too.

                        It might be TMI, but I have farted myself to death on occasion, when eating too much sugar alcohols when I was first experimenting with them :) I have never had anything more serious than the toots though.

                        My hope with this product, is that I can use it for caramelizing things and in Vietnamese and Korean cooking (which I do alot of). Stevia is bitter in these applications and Erythritol is way too cooling and ruins the balance (erythritol and fish sauce is disgusting), Splenda just tastes like Splenda to me, yuk. I have been using real coconut/palm sugar but don't like to use sugar if I don't have to. I intend to try it this weekend in some actual cooking. I will report back on my experiments in cooking with it.

                        1. re: sedimental

                          The only time I or anyone in my family ever had a gastric reaction was when we ate tons of powdered xylitol in a thick cake frosting. But everyone is different. I get a horrid taste and mouth feel from Splenda, but if I blend liquid sucralose 50/50 with xylitol or a combination of SAs, I get great tasting sweetening with no ill effects or cooling. I also tend to reduce sweetening levels from recipe levels a lot.

                          I will definitely try tagatose, but will likely blend it. I make sweets so incredibly rarely that the use of sucralose doesn't concern me, though it's not ideal. It cuts the carbs by a lot without the icky bulking agents or bad taste for me.

                        2. re: mcf

                          There are no fillers. It is 100% tagatose. The body adapts to moderate use of tagatose so that any GI symptoms disappear. Tagatose is a pre-biotic which feeds the good bacteria in the digestive track. I have used 7 pounds over the past six months with no ill effects. It also appears to stabilize insulin production in the body.

                          1. re: efithian

                            Those results will vary tremendously from person to person. I tolerate significant amounts of xylitol for instance, with no problems, but not any of another, pre-biotic sweetener. It's really just a matter of experimentation.

                            1. re: efithian

                              The body adapts to moderate use of tagatose so that any GI symptoms disappear.
                              Not in all cases. Those of us with certain health conditions - such as fructose malabsorption - can't desensitize our systems to certain foods no matter how we go about it. Tagatose is metabolized along the same pathway as fructose, making it a trigger for me regardless. But I could try to blend it in *very* small amounts with something else I can tolerate. Believe me, I'd like to be able to play around with it - the fermentation of tagatose in the gut produces butyrate, which is beneficial to our health in a number of ways.

                              For anyone else interested, the absorbed energy/calorie content of tagatose is apparently 1.5 kcal/g.

                        3. re: sedimental

                          We have made a few apple tarts using only tagatose instead of sugar and the results were very good. I made some almond paste using blanched organic almonds and tagatose. This has been stored refrigerated for about four months so far and it is fine. This was used in a recipe for Almond Squares, which is mostly almond paste, flour, eggs, and more tagatose, with sliced almonds on top. The recipe called for powdered sugar on the top, so I used powdered agave, but that didn't work out as the agave just got sticky. The Almond Squares store well unrefrigerated and are delicious.

                          For those who wish to purchase through NuNaturals, there is a coupon code that gives 25% off, with free shipping. FB1F

                          1. re: efithian

                            That is good to know. I am surrounded by all kinds of berries on my property and love a simple berry cobbler or almond berry tart. It would be so great to use a clean tasting sugar sub!

                            1. re: efithian

                              Wegmans had organic strawberries for $2.99 per 16 oz clamshell, so we had strawberry shortcake for dessert. Shortcake was flour, baking powder, tagatose (3 tbsp), one stick organic grass-fed butter, salt, 6 oz heavy cream. Strawberries one pound, 3 tbsp tagatose. Served with whipped cream. No sugar.

                          2. I have a package of this... and have used it fairly extensively, though I'm not a huge baker - I felt like my muffins were a bit springier (they are usually quite cakey) and the the tagatose that I sprinkled on top became very sticky and damp - it didn't caramelize the way regular sugar does - But they were still very very good! I have also used it in stirred custards - they were good too - I haven't tried to caramelize tagatose to make a topping for creme brulee..... I've used it in egg white and almond cookies - a good test since the "sugar" is one of only three ingredients - I will continue to experiment with it.... to me it seems to be the best sugar tasting sugar substitute I've tried - by far!

                            1. Some interesting references for this and a lot of sweeteners: