What Is Tagatose ?

Tagatose is a naturally occurring simple  sugar and a monosaccharide. 

Sweetness: 92% of sucrose

Calorific value: 1.5 kcal/g

It belongs to the carbohydrate family and is now being used as a low calorie and bulking carbohydrate to replace sugar (sucrose).

In product development work, it can act synergistically with other intense sweeteners like erythritol, maltitol and so on.

It is ideal for diabetic products because ingestion does not cause sugar spiking in the blood – there is no increase in blood glucose levels seen for example.

It does not promote tooth decay.

It is a prebiotic where it is metabolised by lactobacilli and other lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Feeding these probiotics means they thrive in the gut of all animals. It seems to be particularly associated with the production of butyrate in the colon which forms part of the lower intestine of the gut. It is well established that probiotic bacteria have key functional benefits in humans where they help with maintaining a normal performance of the intestinal tract.

Butyrate incidentally is the main and preferred  fuel for the cells lining the colonic epithelium (Roediger, 1980). This metabolite has a strong cancer protection role. It plays a part in the control of proliferation and differentiation of the colonic epithelial cells (Johnson, 1995). It also seems to prevent growth of neoplastic colonocytes (Hague et al., 1996) and also inhibit certain aspects of tumor growth too.

It is well reviewed by Bertelsen (1999).


Bertelsen, H., Jensen, B. B., & Buemann, B. (1999). D-Tagatose-a novel low-calorie bulk sweetener with prebiotic properties. In: Low-Calories Sweeteners: Present and Future Vol. 85, pp. 98-109. Karger Publishers.
Hague, A., Butt, A. J., & Paraskeva, C. (1996). The role of butyrate in human colonic epithelial cells: an energy source or inducer of differentiation and apoptosis?. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 55(3), pp. 937-943.
Johnson, I. T. (1995). Butyrate and markers of neoplastic change in the colon. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 4(5), pp. 365-371.
Roediger, W. E. (1980). Role of anaerobic bacteria in the metabolic welfare of the colonic mucosa in man. Gut, 21(9), pp. 793-798.
Velasquez, O. C., Lederer, H. M., & Rombeau, J. L. (1996). Butyrate and the colonocyte. Implications for neoplasia. Dig. Dis. Sci., 41, pp. 727-39.
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